Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Beaucoup de fumée, peu de feu et un soir très agréable : 2

Tomorrow we will be privileged to see something that few people ever see in their lives, -

"Les belles dames font comme ça

Et puis encore comme ça.

Sur le pont d'Avignon,

L'on y danse, l'on y danse,

Sur le pont d'Avignon

L'on y danse tout en rond....".

À demain ....

Beaucoup de fumée, peu de feu et un soir très agréable

With the firemen and women under control and no damage having been done, I hurried back to the restaurant where Nathalie and Madame were chitter-chattering, or so it seemed at the time.

My absence had been a matter of Australia-French relations and I had to explain my half hour absenteeism.

Luckily for me, my rudeness was excused and perhaps I'll even be allowed to return to this fantastic city where people and emergency services co-exist so harmoniously !

Where life and its meanings are so agreeably accepted and indulged.

Where people have a smile that comes from deep within.

Where one feels that there are so many thousand things to learn and love about this place.

Where to not return would be an offence.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Aucun travail trop grand

The fire was in the fourth floor of a restaurant building on the corner of the Montée Paul Puaux and the Place de l'Horloge.

It seemed to be a most bonding civic occasion and young and old alike turned out to celebrate the fire. Smiles and good cheer abounded everywhere.

Locals and tourists sat back at the outdoor tables of the town square restaurants and made the most of the conviviality that this fire had brought to town.

New friendships were made and much slapping hit the backs of new-found strangers.

The French seem to bring strangers together in the most pleasant sorts of ways.

What a lovely country; no job too large or too small !!

France has something for everyone. It certainly has something for me.

Pompiers et Policiers Municipaux

No sooner had we arrived at the Beatrice Bellegarde Restaurant in the Rue Gallante, - when the entire precinct became enveloped in thick smoke.

Fire and excitement had broken out in the Place de l'Horloge and this sticky-nose could not resist.

Leaving the ladies to their own devices, so rudely, here are the pompiers and police municipales that caught my attention.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Avignon was blissful.

After a few delicious cool drinks and a lazy introduction to life in Provence, we excitedly traced a new path into the heart of the old city to find the restaurant Nathalie had chosen.

Avignon was blissful.

This town is so old, yet so orderly, so steeped in history yet so modern, so ancient yet so well laid out and well equipped.

How could one not visit such a lovely city, yet friends who had just returned to Australia advised me to stay outside the walls.

Stupid Australians, - I will certainly straighten them out.

(And of course, - the men, ladies.
Here is a small preview. They were quite handsome in their uniforms and you will see what they were doing, in a few minutes.)

Overlooking the roofs of Avignon.

On arriving at Nathalie's lovely home we could see practically the whole of France from her rooftop patio.

Its outlook in such a devine location was absolutely stunning.

The panorama of terra cotta roofs partially obscured the towers of the Palais des Papes to the North West but the beautifully illuminated Clocher en Pointe de l'Hôtel de Ville, (the Town Hall Spire), was easy to pick out, silhouetted against the warm and clear night sky.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Requins dans les rues : suite

Soon we will be on the rooftops of Avignon, we will see the sun setting on this beautiful town and perhaps, some men ?

Yes ! - French MEN.

It's not just pretty girls that the French specialize in.

Requins dans les rues et les sourires sur un joli visage

Avignon was truly a city of wonderful surprises for me and obviously such a beautiful environment in which to live.
The whole of the town was pristine and shiny, clean and polished and friendly and vibrant.
The pride of the town was evident with every footstep and the shops, restaurants and cafes were welcoming and friendly.

A tremendously good-natured atmosphere abounded everywhere.

Nathalie and her gorgeous smile had met us at the Kyriad and that's when the surprises started.
We were invited out, with the sun fading into a crimson sky and the lights of the church spires silhouetting themselves happily behind anything that had been there for so many hundreds of years.

As we walked along the perfect, narrow Rue du Vieux Sextier with its lovely shops and colourful and pristine paving, we were at once confronted with a menacing shark which Nathalie had previously mentioned, some time ago on her blog.

But no matter how menacing she was, she could not scare it away !
Who could ever be scared away from such a delightful place as this?

'Here endeth the requin' !

Friday, 5 December 2008

La route vers la maison de Nathalie

Embrassant, de la meilleure façon française

Our meeting time was 16h:00 outside notre hôtel dans la Place de l'Horloge, and although I had known Nathalie for such a long time at Sydney Daily Snap, I was apprehensive and even a little timid.
This woman did not suffer fools, neither gladly nor in any fashion.
One would have to mind one's p's and q's !

My fears were put to rest. Nathalie arrived, à pied, at 16h:07 and voila!
She was all there, all smiles and an all-Aussie girl (in the nicest French sort of way).

We all kissed and hugged, - I had long since learned how many times and on how many cheeks one could plant how many kisses and get away with it. If one kissed one's godfather, who only shaved once a month, you could expect four kisses, Ouch!!

But comme un touriste ignorant, a couple more kisses could be slipped in ? ( I would recommend that any of my friends visit France. They are very good at lots of things, there !)

With kissing on temporary hold and a lovely warm afternoon at our disposal we accepted with delight, an invitation to visit Nathalie's home and drinks on her roof-top terrace, just a stone's throw away, along Avignon's belles petites rues.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Donner sur la Place de l'Horloge à Avignon

Une leçon de la vie.

Before Nathalie arrived to meet us you can imagine how the camera was bossing me about ?

Here are a few more of my very first impressions of this glorious city.

Photo bloggers probably think a cloud may come over and the light will fade so why not make hay while the sun shines ?

That's a lesson in life, n'est-ce pas ?

Avignon, sur la rive gauche du Rhône

With Pont-du-Gard sliding into the arrière plan and the lure of lovely Avignon looming closer, we stormed across the Rhône at the Pont de l'Europe.

Had we known that Nathalie had been nurturing those Banksias for Sally and ourselves we would have slowed down on the Boulevard de l'Oulle.

As with all the ancient Roman towns in Europe, the walls of the city, - the ramparts, form a formidable fortress both visually and logistically.
We drove in a circle until the correct Porte popped up and presto, - we were inside the oval, the old city.
The street names were like large snippets of history and culture wrapped into one and by the time one had read, "Boulevard du 58ème Régiment d'Infanterie", half the city and the correct gate had slipped by !

The Kyriad Hotel in Montpellier had recommended the Kyriad in Avignon; (Strange - that !), and I couldn't have been more pleased with its location right in the centre of Avignon.

Everything that one's heart could possibly desire was within a large or small stone's throw from this central location in the absolutely magnifique Place de l'Horloge, right plumb in the heart of what was to prove to be the prettiest town in France.

A very short walk from the 'place du parking souterrain' and we were at the Kyriad and on the blower to Nathalie.

The fun was about to begin !!!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Pont-du-Gard : suite

The day was lazy, warm and sunny and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur - in the south of this wonderful country was announcing its welcome with clear skies and bright sunshine.

The aura of siestas could be sniffed in the breeze and the townsfolk at the roadside cafes in Remoulins were not concerned one way or the other.

Summer was only just over and no one could accept that this was really so !

But the excitement was building.
Soon we would be arriving in Avignon and Nathalie would be there to meet us.
At least we had brought her some good, old-fashioned Aussie weather !

Crikey, I thought, what language shall we speak ?
There was a choice of four, French, Australian (where one holds the nose while speaking), British (just come from there), or Globish.

Demain, vous pouvez découvrir le résultat et la réponse.
C'est le temps de sieste à l'heure actuelle.

À demain !