Paris to Avignon: 440 miles and 9 centuries in under 3 hours.

After a week in Paris, and with the CE threatening to purchase a beret, it was time to go.

One last lovely dinner at Le Grand Colbert (thanks to Marie-Christine for the recommendation!) which, we discovered, was featured in the film Something’s Gotta Give. As soon as I saw it I remembered the scene – Jack Nicholson gets shut out by Keanu Reeves for Diane Keaton’s affections. Not even a little bit believable, but fun!

I think they had to work very hard here to make everyone else as pale as Keanu. I still adore him, btw. (image from

I recognized it as soon as we walked in - of course, it helps that they have posters from the movie prominently displayed.

The CE said these were the best oysters he's ever tasted.

We packed (reluctantly) the next morning and set off for the train station. As I’ve shared before, even the mention of Penn Station can cause me to hyperventilate, so a trip to the Gare de Lyon with a non-English-speaking cab driver struck terror into my heart and caused the CE to recite all of the French invective he’d picked up from our experiences with impudent Parisian cab-drivers.

Lucky for us, a tall, calm, capable and, more importantly,  bi-lingual young man stood at the curb and offered to guide us. We might have been convinced to hand over both our first AND second-born sons to him, or at least to shake every Euro from our pockets in exchange for finding our way onto the TGV train to Avignon.

He parked us and our luggage beneath the huge sign that announces the tracks and told us he would return in twenty minutes. With every shudder of the sign, we saw our train number move closer to the top and if the CE had purchased that beret, he might well have been chewing it by that point. True to his word, however, our new friend returned, took us to Track #17, deposited our luggage in the bin and asked only for “whatever we wanted to give him” in payment. He was not disappointed with the largesse of our gratitude.

Less than three hours later, our snappy and luxurious TGV train deposited us in Avignon, where we had absolutely no clue what we would do. Our unspoken thought was “how could anyplace compare to Paris?” But we were enchanted at our first glimpse of the medieval wall that surrounds the ancient city and quickly left Paris and the 21st century behind.

An arch in the wall that surrounds the old city of Avignon. The wall was built by France's King Louis VIII in 1226.

The street just steps from our hotel.

There was a hush in the walled streets and a milky light falling on the cobblestones in the waning afternoon light. We couldn’t wait to discover our new old city!

A few centimes brought a smiling pose from this fellow.

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
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4 Responses to Paris to Avignon: 440 miles and 9 centuries in under 3 hours.

  1. polloplayer says:

    CE with Traveler’s Trip #10: Lady’s Fashion

    My goodness Ladies, please calm down! The demand for this advice, which dovetails with that given to our Gentleman Traveler, has been overwhelming. In fact, I am expecting my first request any day now, so let us proceed.

    First we state the obvious: If you are a young, vibrant, energetic, attractive young traveler – you are not in need of much advice. Strap on your Daisy Dukes, a $12 tank top, and 4″ stiletto heels. You will now fit into any formal European event, ranging from gallery openings to symphonic performances to embassy socials. Your outfit will shout out to all present that you are a young person of great significance and, most importantly, “class”.

    For our Lady Travelers of a Certain Age, the tips are designed to create a sort of turn of the century, Edith Wharton, old NYC money persona that will ensure your trip turns into a whirlwind of elegant, exciting and eventful social engagements. So Ladies, let’s get going, shall we?

    As with The Gentleman, our sophisticated Traveling Lady must base her wardrobe on a rock solid foundation, in this case, her shoes. Now there have been unsettling rumors that Ugg boots and Croc rubber shoes are no longer in style, but trust your Tipster, this is not true in Europe. So the Tipster urges you to leave behind all of your flats, mules and elegant evening heels. Concentrate only on the Uggs and Crocs; 4 pairs of each should suffice.

    Again, as with The Gentleman, hosiery can make or break the outfit so bring many as many pairs of net stockings as possible, matching these in style and color with the Uggs and the Crocs. And bring those pairs with holes and tears, as these can add an exciting, and should I say dangerous Bohemian element to your look.

    Now again for you Ladies of a Certain Age, your jeans will be your staple, go-to garment for most formal affairs. Several pair will be needed to keep up with your frantic social calendar, and remember, the bare-midriff look need not be hogged by the younger set, so try to stock up on the low slung jeans. A promise from the Tipster: You are going to turn some heads girl!

    Blouses and jackets can be mixed and matched as needed, but again, jean jackets with all-over studding are big in Europe now, as are home-knitted sweaters from your Aunt Martha that make you look “strong”. Anything that increases your apparent size is desirable as you make your big splash at the most prestigious events all around France.

    In terms of accessorizing, nothing says style and class like a parasol , which should be carried in a flirty, kicky sort of way and twirled when excited. These can be had in both gold and silver lame’ for $10 right under the Eiffel Tower, so get one of each ladies!

    Our Lady is now good to go except for her headwear. Here, you cannot turn your back on a nice white sailor cap with your name embroidered on the front. These can be had at any state fair, and most port waterfronts. As you travel around what we call “The Continent”, be sure to add little pins to your cap from each stop on your tour. This will make you look “well traveled”.

    Nothing to say at this point except, Ladies……”Start your engines!!”

  2. Katherine says:

    I can no longer look at oysters without remembering a line from the play Dan just did: “I mean, come on, it’s a lougie!” (And now I’ve just ruined them for everyone else, haven’t I? Sorry about that.)

    On the flip side, you’re making France look AMAZING. What’s your fee for doing all the research so I can just tag along in your wake? Where do I sign up? I sit here with pen poised.

  3. Katherine says:

    Wow. I think I’ll take my ladies travel attire tips from the Polloplayer herself. But thanks for the visuals, CE. I may join Marilyn in not being able to sleep tonight.

    (What, by the way, ARE you drinking over there? It’s bringing out the Mark Twain and Billy Crystal in the CE.)

  4. Rosanne says:

    So enjoying following your journeys!

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