Posted by: David | August 31, 2009

En Provence, Part Deux

Sorry for the long delay since the last post. After Nice and Monaco, we bused to Aix (pronounced “”ex”)-en-Provence  for a short three hour or so visit. As a Latin nerd, I took interest in the fact that the town was founded in 123 BC by a Roman consul named Sextius Calvinus, who named the town Aquae Sextiae (the waters of Sextius) after its warm springs.


On the ride there, I saw fields of grapevines, cut back to such an extent that they looked dead. Having recently taught about the yearly resurrection of Bacchus, I was excited to see the “dead” vines which would soon be springing to life.


We were dropped off at the fountain above and began strolling down the Cours Mirabeau, the central lane (pictured below), which was lined with beautiful plane trees.



Pictured below is a fountain flowing with the warm waters that first attracted the Romans to the site. 


These two guys below looked pretty impressive and I had to get a shot. An older French man noticed the group and struck up a conversation with the French teacher. He trailed her for a bit and even bought her a gift. Ah, the French.


After our very brief visit, we headed to Avignon, where we would be staying for the next few days. Our hotel was located in the old city, where the walls still remain, surrounding the Papal Palace and lots of buildings and shops. Avignon is the site of the Babylonian Captivity, the period from 1305-1378 when the Popes left the dangerous environment of Rome to reside in France. I did not realize that these were legitimate Popes. It was only after the Papacy returned to Rome that the French bishops elected their own Pope, Clement the VII, and then Benedict the XIII, both of whom have long since been declared false Popes by the Catholic Church. The Papal Palace was impressive, somewhat like Hogwarts actually.


 A golden statue of Mary dominates the palace. She looks down upon the much less impressive crucified Christ.



Inside the palace, there are two main courtyards, a fixture that I have always thought was cool. If I ever get to design my own house, it will include one. 



Here I am at the second level of one of the courtyards, pondering theology. 


My nephews would have had so much fun in this castle, especially at the top of one of the towers (below).


Stay tuned. There’s a lot more to follow.



  1. Hey, David! Thanks for taking the time to share. I loved reading every bit, especially the comparison of Hogwarts with the Papal Palace. 🙂

  2. I agree. This is very interesting.

  3. David, I enjoyed your entry. You have a gift for writing.

  4. Thanks, guys! Glad you’re enjoying it.

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