June 4, 2016: After enjoying another great breakfast at la Auberge, we drove again to Avignon.Our first stop was a photo opportunity across the Rhône from Avignon (the better to photograph the whole town), accompanied by a little bit of silliness as Gina , our tour director taught us the steps to the children’s song, le Pont de Avignon. We next stopped outside the Palais du Papes to walk in the gardens of the Pope’s Palace. Since the gardens sit atop a hill looking down on the Palace, the views from the gardens are really spectacular, and take in views across the Rhône, as well as to the west of Avignon. There is even a charming little grotto in the middle of the park.
Then we had some time on our own to explore (read: shop) in Avignon. Jim, Liz, Scott and I explored a little, and then the guys went off to hold a table at a sidewalk bistro (translation: drink a glass of rosé), while Liz and I finished up our souvenir shopping.
After lunch, we journeyed again by bus to the Pont du Gard. This amazing Roman bridge is so compelling that Jim and I gladly went along to see it again. The really nice thing on this visit was that Jim and I peeled off from our group while in the museum and got to see and read about all the exhibits that we had missed on our first visit. Then it was a return visit to the magnificent bridge! This time, we were able to climb down to the river level and see the bridge from the other side. The icing on the cake was the fact that that night, there was going to be a concert at the bridge, complete with fire cannons on the bridge, and we got to see the engineers trying out the fire cannons. Wow!
Finally, it was back to La Auberge to prepare for our final dinner of the tour; a celebratory meal at the fabulous vineyard/winery known as le Verger des Papes in Chateauneuf de Papes. The meal was a gastronomic home run, and we enjoyed every bite paired with the fine estate wines. We will be sad to see this tour end, particularly when we’re back at home, eating rabbit food to make up for the sins of foie gras! Oh, well, at least we have a couple of days left with Scott and Liz, and will move back to Aix en Provence tomorrow when the rest of our tour mates go to the airport.