Friday, February 12, 2016

Off the beaten track in Avignon - rue des Teinturiers



"Do you think that we have time to visit that street that you mentioned?" "I think that we do." I was standing on the main thoroughfare of the rue de la Republique in Avignon, questioning the elegant Madame L. We had missed the bus back to the little village that we both live in and did not quite have time for a museum but only a bit of exploring. It had been one of those forays into the former Cité des Papes where nothing had worked out as it should have, from restaurants and errands and the like so I was bit sur ma faim, still hungry for a little something else. 

She had already mentioned the rue des Teinturiers a while back but somehow we had never quite made it, not having strayed far enough. With a click in her patent heel boots, she turned and we were off with only a pause as she asked directions from a gentleman smoking in the doorway of an epicerie fine

"Here we are," she announced with that warm smile of hers. And as I turned the corner, I sighed happily. Yes, I knew that the name of the street has sounded familiar, I had read about this area after all. I recognized it by the canals from the Sorgue River turning the neighborhood into a several block French Venice. The suns rays folded back the shutters of the surrounding hôtel particuliers on one side and ran down the terracotta tiles of the former ateliers on the other until they flicked the surface of the water into diamond-like beads. 

For an area imbued in such long-reaching history (of which I will share more with you in the next post), there was a playful spirit in the air, perhaps buoyed by ghosts from local theaters past and present. It turns out that many of the smaller venues home to the famous Avignon Theatre Festival's "Off" segment can be found here as well. We popped into a friperie where the salesgirl laughed at our trying to tempt each other into buying vintage Céline and Girogio Armani..."No for you," "What? I was thinking for you"...and continued on past a pair of old friends bantering over a pitcher of cider at a café under the plane trees. 

The light was warm, the day was beautiful, I wanted to clasp it tightly and hold it dear...until I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of a monster, albeit in the form of a very small boy dressed in a wolf costume. He seemed especially proud of himself so I dared to ask if I could take his photo. He agreed with a silent nod of the head but was too frozen under the cameras gaze to acquiesce to my pleas that he scratch at the air with his "claws." His father looked on, biting his lips into a grin. And then it hit me. "Is it carnival already?" "Yes, of course," he responded, bemused at my ignorance as he reclaimed the little ones hand.

A time of trickery, of shifting sands then right below our feet and all given with joy once we dared to take those few steps beyond the well-known beaten path. A fine reward.
















47 comments:

Katherine said...

Simply stunning, Heather. And the little wolf! Oh, his face. Another spot to add to the ever-growing list. Thank you.

Janey and Co. said...

We never know where our days will lead us! Cute Fox.

robin said...

Yes, this place really does have a different feel to it! Not the same old Provence I've seen - the canals and the trees near the shops - all lovely. My favorite is of the patina'd shutters - what beautiful colors! And I agree that sometimes great treasures await when we stray from the well beaten path. I couldn't imagine ever leaving New York City, but not only did I find romance here in Michigan, but growth in every other area of my life: vocation, spirituality, friendships, well being. We can't always know what treasures await us, but they are there, trust me, waiting to be discovered!

Unknown said...

Thank you....another spot for exploring next fall. We have been to the Popes Palace and not much else there. We want to return to REALLY explore. Maybe have tea at that wonderful small hotel you wrote about previously.
Ali



francetaste said...

Such beautiful photos! And lovely writing.
It made me sad though--I knew it was carnevale, with the costumes in the stores, but it wasn't until I read about your little encounter that it hit me that this is the first time I'm not scurrying to finish a costume. The first year of college--middle school. The growing up is so exciting, and each stage brings such joy, but at the same time, it's so hard to let go of the warmth and safety of them being little.
francetaste.wordpress.com

La Contessa said...

WERE YOU TWO behind the OLD PALACE and down below is where they park the cars??I think I have been on this route!!!!!!!! I can remember the water and gates along it and peering in where there were doors!TELL ME if I am RIGHT!PLEASE!
XO

Joan McKniff said...

Wonderful.

Joan McKniff said...

umm, lovely. thanks for letting me tag along.

Lorrie said...

How lovely. We spent a week in Avignon several years ago and completely missed this charming street. Another reason to return. The little boy in his wolf costume is adorable.

Emm said...

Aside from the beauty of the architecture and the street, those colors are so lush.
Le petit loup is adorable.

Glamour Drops said...

I love those days when nothing goes as planned...well not always, they CAN be frustrating, but often, like in this case, they turn into the most unexpectedly delightful days of all.

Judi of Little House said...

Oh I'm so happy to see these photos! When Chris, his sister and I were in Avignon in 2014, I made sure we got down to this street to see the old water mill, the shops, cafes - such a great street as I had remembered from many years before - but, unfortunately, much of it was closed off as they were repairing parts of the cobblestone street, etc. We still saw much of what you show, but your wonderful photos come without the chain link fences we encountered. We ate there years ago at a neat restaurant, Le Woolloomooloo (not sure I have that right!) In 2014, it was a fun dark night adventure getting back from rue des Teinturiers to Pl de l'Horloge - another wonderful memory of time spent with Chris. Thank you!

simpleimages2 said...

Why the deserted streets?
The “wolf boy” is ready to celebrate or celebrating.
The winter in Avignon looks similar to ours in Napa Valley.

Beautiful photos.

RebeccaNYC said...

You know? I've been in Avignon dozens of times, and I don't know anything about this area!!! I need to remedy this PDQ...or at least this summer. Adding it to my list!

Lee I said...

Okay, now I know where I want to go in Avignon next time. Thanks for the journey.

Loree said...

Beautiful photos Heather. It's always a good idea to get off the beaten track. Carnival came and went here and I didn't even notice. It's been a busy couple of weeks. My son had his mid-yearly exams and I have been a bit frazzled.

beautycalypse.wordpress.com said...

The comment bug has been fixed! Gaaaaaaaahh!!!!!!

Heather Robinson said...

Katherine, I was too shy to approach closer to take a better photo of him. Truly a sweetheart.

Heather Robinson said...

No, Janey, nor our lives...isn't that so? ;)

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you with all of my heart, Sister and to you as well Joan for kicking in an Amen.

Heather Robinson said...

Ah, that was Ellie at the La Mirande! But I am honored that you would make such a confusion Ali...and yes, both are very worth it...

Heather Robinson said...

I was not fortunate enough to be a Mom this go 'round but I can imagine how letting go of so many little customs throughout the year would be hard...bisous...

Heather Robinson said...

Nope, not behind the Pope's Palace although that is a pretty area too. No, this is closer to the rampart walls near the train station.

Heather Robinson said...

Any time, Joan, any time. :)

Heather Robinson said...

I have come to realize that there is much more to Avignon than I knew...

Heather Robinson said...

Isn't he? The sun was so strong and the sky such a bright blue that I had a bit of a hard time capturing it correctly. To me the photos look a little fake...and they shouldn't!

Heather Robinson said...

It was a good reminder Virginia. The Leo in me wants everything to roll my way far too often!

Heather Robinson said...

Judi, it touched me very much that you shared this. It makes me happy to think of you both wandering in such a lovely spot.
xo

Heather Robinson said...

The light is quite similar on a good day, Edgar. And it is empty as this is the "height" of the low season for us here.

Heather Robinson said...

I know! It is crazy isn't it? I can't believe that it took me ten years of living down here to find it. Don't miss the friperie... ;)

Heather Robinson said...

Good Lee, I hope you will enjoy it as I did...

Heather Robinson said...

I hope all went well with his exams Loree. I hope that you are having a bit of a calmer time and less wind on Malte than we have today in Provence!

Heather Robinson said...

Why hello gorgeous! So nice to see you here... ;)

Paula Lima said...

Sometimes, looking at the wonderful pictures you have of the beautiful places you visit, I remember a song "If I was a rich man..." . I wish, I do! Avignon must have such wonderful places to visit!

Silke Bauer said...

Already quite a while ago that you posted this. But still so beautiful!

And of course its true, it does not look like the Avignon we know as tourists. And look at that sky in the "dyers street". (Is that correctly translated?) :-)
The time of carnival and the sun is bright and the sky a bright cyan. Amazing!
That same carnival that I fled from two years ago just to find the same blue sky in Arles!
And that second to last image its got a certain spirit with that light. A Van Goghian Spirit with the reflection of the window glasses.

Beautiful, Heather. Bisous!

Heather Robinson said...

It is Paula! And oh, there are so many places that I would still love to visit too...we need to win the lottery... ;)

Heather Robinson said...

Yes, perfectly translated, no surprise there. And thank you for the very fine compliment, beautiful friend.

D A Wolf said...

So beautiful, Heather. Your words and images always offer such solace.

xo

Unknown said...

I like to explore a new place by just following my nose. Invariably, delight ensues if I've kept my eyes wide open. (How many clichés can I fit into one comment?) My second-grade teacher introduced us to France, which she just had visited. And she taught us to sing "Sur Le Pont D'Avignon"! Another lovely and mysterious post...thank you, Heather, Leslie in Oregon

Jeanne Henriques said...

So beautiful Heather and such a contrast to HCMC. I forget sometimes that there can be silence in a city too. I loved this little excursion...you take us to the best spots. xx

wendy said...

Great area...and lovely photos.. I recently discovered this myself.. I love Avignon de plus en plus!!! Hope things are going well for you ma tres chere amie and expat! Wendy in Arles

Maria Anagnostopoulou said...

Arles and Avignon! I wish sooo to visit them! I learned french since I was 5 years old and could go to Paris at the age of 40! I walked trough Paris like it was ma ville natale. I knew everything from the books. The highlight was when I sat at the Flore cafe and ordered un petit vin blanc! I almost died!!!
The situation with the refugees in Greece right now is unbelievable! We Athenians are helping as much we can but this is not the solution. You cannot imagine the feelings in childrens eyes...

Sandy said...

Beautiful! Reminds me of Van Gogh. Love you and your camera.

Mary said...

Love all your photos--but especially this one:) Your blog post photos are often so lovely that they help to remind me why I'm here and why it's all worth it. The wine helps too, but still.

Heather Robinson said...

I hear you, Mary. I latch onto beauty to keep me going! And yes, sometimes the wine helps too. :)

Heather Robinson said...

Love you and your paintbrush.

Heather Robinson said...

Maria, I don't know how I missed this response the first time around. I am so sorry.
I can only imagine what it is like for you in Greece to want to try and help while knowing that there is only so much that one country can do.
Those poor children must be so scared...
xo