In the footsteps of Charity Selborne

Nous sommes en France! As some of you will know, this year my husband and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary in Avignon. This is somewhere I have wanted to visit since first reading Mary Stewart’s Madam, Will You Talk? and now – enfin – here we are.

Having flown to Marseille, we then caught a train to Avignon Centre. From here, we were directly across the road from the Porte de la Republique, entrance to the walled city.

Porte de la Republique

Walking through the Porte to the Cours Jean-Jaures, it was a 10 minute stroll  to our hotel.

Which is, incidentally, similar to Charity’s entrance into Avignon within the opening page of Madam, Will You Talk?:

we drove in at the Porte de la Republique and up the sun-dappled Cours Jean-Jaures.

Cours Jean-Jaures

And yes. Yes it is sun-dappled.

Cours Jean-Jaures: sun-dappled

Last night we had dinner and coffee at a restaurant on the Place de l’Horloge, which remains essentially the same as Mary Stewart’s description of it over 60 years ago:

… where the Rue de la Republique widens out and becomes the main square of the city, and where all Avignon collects at night…

The square is surrounded with cafes, which overflow the narrow pavements with a froth of gay little tables and wicker chairs, and even cast up a jetsam of more little tables across the roads and into the centre of the square itself. Here, as I said, Avignon collects at night, and for the price of a cup of coffee, which secures you a chair, you may sit for an hour and watch France parade for you.

Place de l’Horloge – looking to Hotel de Ville

We had a lovely time there before retiring to the hotel bar, which is where the top image was taken. You can see that this photo includes the beautiful new Madam book cover – I just had to bring it with me to browse through ‘on location’! The photograph also shows a glass of Martini (blanco/bianco) and lemonade, that I drank in honour of Mary Stewart (apparently Martini with a capital M is a brand of vermouth, which is the drink Louise orders before dinner on the first night in Avignon. Charity drank Cinzano and if I spot this on a drinks menu I shall probably sample a glass of this too!). I don’t remember whether I’ve tried Martini before but it was sweet and refreshing and seemed like the perfect accompaniment to a warm spring evening in the south of France.

The Wi-Fi is a little too feeble for me to attempt to upload any more photos today but I hope to blog again soon. A bientot!

You can access my other ‘In the Footsteps of Charity Selborne’ posts from this trip here:

Avignon 2

Avignon 3


Pont du Gard