Sur le Pont d’Avignon

3 min readSep 16, 2021
Starry Night over the Rhone, Vincent Van Gogh (Wikimedia Commons)

These colors give me extraordinary exaltation. I have no thought of fatigue; I shall do another picture this very night, and I shall bring it off. I have a terrible lucidity at moments when nature is so beautiful; I am not conscious of myself any more, and the pictures come to me as in a dream.”

Vincent Van Gogh

We stood on the platform as a train zipped past in a blur of silver. The sky was a forget-me-not blue and the sun bounced off the beautiful vaults of the Gare d’Avignon station. We were waiting for our train that would take us to the coast of Nice but leaving Avignon was like leaving behind a surrealistic canvas and packing a heartache in the suitcase.

Walls of the medieval town of Avignon

Within the walls of the old town lay paths of cobblestone, medieval windows through which wafted the aroma of French Onion Soup and sea bass and fennel and aubergine.

Provencal lavender and aromatics on the streets of Avignon

We pushed Sophie’s stroller past the gothic walls of the Palais des Papas and into the gardens where a cooling breeze, a quacking of ducks and the sweet-sour taste of oranges stayed with us

Pushing the stroller past the Palais des Papas

Later we stared transfixed, down at the Rhone — deceptively lazy — and the broken bridge of Avignon.

Pont Saint-Bénézet or the Pont d’Avignon on the Rhone

We listened to the tales of mistral winds, standing on the Pont d’Avignon. The winds whipped Pia’s hair into a crazy mane — framing her sweet, spectacled face as she held the audio-guide close to her ears, her usual diligence concentrating on every word of myth and history.

Leaning on the surviving arches of Pont Saint-Bénézet, with audio-guide

And I kind of knew that this is my only visit to this magical place, so I bought a yellow-blue tablecloth from a shop under the arches of the town, to remind me of Avignon. I could neither paint like a maestro nor write, but the feelings resonated.

Avignon, Provence, France