Troyes and Avignon – a story maker’s delight
In another life, had I been brave and worldly enough in my twenties and a lot freer than I am now, I would have been a travel journalist and photographer. I love exploring extraordinary places steeped in culture and history, the colours, the smells, the faces and all the little details of a place that make it unique.
On our drive through France, heading to the sunny riviera, we rejected touristy Reims as a stop off with it’s champagne commercialism and stopped instead at Troyes and Avignon.
Troyes is a story makers delight. I marvelled at medieval street after medieval street of half timber framed houses, every house a different colour, some patterned with distinctive tiles, others with ornate turrets where magic must be at work because they simply defy gravity.
As I turn a corner I half expect to stumble upon Dumas’ Musketeers duelling in the street or a young wizard stepping out of a timber fronted shop with his first wand.
Troyes could be the backdrop to any Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. Is this Snow Whites castle?
Or perhaps it could be Middle Earth – here’s a Hobbit’s house, the door child-sized.
And then there’s the magnificent gothic St-Pierre and St-Paul Cathedral, its grand galleries fit for Kings; or perhaps the cathedrale is reminiscent of Tolkein’s dwarfish realm of Moira, the giant arches hewn from grey stone, taking four hundred years to complete.
Onwards through France we travelled stopping next in Avignon.
The 14th century Papal Palace
Avignon was the Papal seat in the 14th century. The Papal palace was constructed in just twenty years and was the biggest building site in Europe. Imagine a pilgrim seeing this view from the hostel across the Rhone river for the first time. Awe inspiring. It still is.
The imposing French King’s castle in Villeneuve les Avignon.
What places inspired you this summer?