The Nagasawa family trip to France:  May 1 - 15, 2011

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Paris (Seine River)

May 1 Arrive in Paris, Eiffel Tower
May 2 Louvre Museum, Jardin Tuileries
May 3 Cathedrals, Jardin Luxembourg

Sarlat (Dordogne River)

May 4 Sarlat
May 5 Cave paintings, Roque St. Christophe
May 6 Castles, Laines at Blagnac

Blagnac (Garonne River)

May 7 Laines at Blagnac, L'Amphitryon
May 8 Toulouse, Hiking
May 9 Cite L'Espace
May 10 Toulouse

St. Remy, Lyon (Rhone River)

May 11 Nimes, St. Remy
May 12 Pont du Gard, Camargue
May 13 Des Baux, Avignon
May 14 Lyon
May 15 Train to Paris, fly home


May 13

St. Remy's Cathedral

This was the cathedral in St. Remy.  St. Remy is a small town that is close to Avignon.  I kind of liked the simplicity of this space.


A shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary.


A confession booth



The Castle of Des Baux

After eating some delicious croissants and picking up sandwiches for lunch, we drove to a ruined castle called Des Baux.  Some of the original builders of this castle claimed descent from Balthazar, one of the magi who visited the infant Jesus in Bethlehem.



This was the entrance to the small tourist town that is at the base of the castle.



John had saved money for a crossbow.


A real sword, with a real price:  199 Euros!


Zoe, meanwhile, got the short wooden dagger you see here.


Lucas also got one.  Here is a wall left standing that was once part of a much larger building.



You can see the fortifications in the background.


Walking up there, we were greeted by ponies.


A group of catapults.  There was a cool catapult demonstration later.


A commanding view of the vineyards on one side of the castle.


This was a rock outcropping that was useful in channeling water.


They once had two windmills here!


The Laine family enjoying the view.


An artillery machine and the castle wall high above.


John pushed a battering ram.  The ram was covered with a wooden tent to house it and protect it.


We had our little picnic here.  The sandwiches were from a bakery in St. Remy and they were some of the most delicious sandwiches we've ever had.  French baguette with fresh ingredients like chicken with spicy dijon mustard, or salmon, or ham and cheese.


John and Zoe were misbehaving, so we put them in the stocks.  :)


A part of the old castle.


I noticed that this room had square cubby holes carved out of the limestone.  I wonder what they put there?  Shoes?


Then we climbed to the top most part of the castle.




On one side were the vineyards.


On the other side, a small valley with more recent houses.  But you can see the rock mountain on the other side.  That was about the height we were at.


This was amazing how they carved parts of the castle from the rock itself.


Maybe the most worn staircase still in use?





Looking down, we saw our picnic spot and an archery area.  The archery wasn't open, unfortunately.


A chapel carved out the rock.



Here was the catapult demonstration.


And away the ball goes!  The white ball flew about 100 feet.


Hanging Out at the Pool at Our Camping Grounds

We came back to our campgrounds in St. Remy and enjoyed the pool


The pool water was a bit cold, so we warmed up on the deck.



Then it was time to say bye to the Laines. 


Bye!  The Laines drove to visit other friends before trekking back to Blagnac. 



With the late afternoon and evening, we drove about 30 minutes to Avignon, the home of the French popes for about 100 years.  We talked by a gift shop that had already spelled out some names, including Zoe and John!


The Palace of the Popes.  Now a museum.  Curiously enough, the Italians believed that all the Popes should dwell in Rome, so they elected an Italian Pope while the French Popes dwelled in Avignon.  This led to a time where three men claimed to be Pope!


A chapel right next to the Palace of the Popes. 


Inside the chapel


Two semi-tired children sitting on holy ground.


I imagine that the Popes or other leaders might have addressed the crowds from this point.  There was a lot of space below for people.


A Jesus crucified between a fortress and a chapel.  Poetic.



The city of Avignon is surrounded by a high and strong looking wall.  Guess the Popes needed a good deal of protection back then.



After we left Avignon, we went back to our campgrounds and tent. 


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