à la gare

January 24, 2013

1ground floor

Was glad to get a chance to see this station again. Avignon TGV is a 10 minute bus ride from the centre of town – just 3 euro for a return ticket – and it’s worth a visit even if train travel is not for you. The article by Jonathan Glancey gives a good insight into the design and construction of the 3 new build stations – Avignon, Valence and Aix en Provence – on the TGV-Med Service swooping down to Marseilles. Of course, stations are for travellers so need to function in terms of organization – visit the ladies and see how efficiently Madame manages it – as well as clarity of information and circulation.On a busy morning in early January. there was plenty of room, both standing and seating, for travellers after the holiday break and those travelling for business.

2long view

Some empty space offers the opportunity to appreciate the surfaces both horizontal and vertical. Attractive and practical – there’s plenty of natural light flooding through the curved apertures . . . .

3 short view

. . .  the landscape that greets the traveller is also sleek, organised, stylish and seamless. Lines of poplars are expertly topped to give a graphic visual quality interfaced with slower growing evergreen cypress.

4 poplars1

5 poplars

The main view from the station building to the route to the town shows the large classical gates forming a definition to the contemporary water course axis. The canals had just had their winter clean.

6canal winter

In summer, the water feature looks like this . . . . forms of typha and lilies bridge the decorative look created by large vases of Nerium oleanders.

canal summer

Some areas are more natural like this view to the east. The balance is just right.


roof line

The cathedral ceiling emphasises the linear feel. And the current photography exhibition is cleverly hung on the curved walls on the eye line of those using the stairs, elevators and first floor landing which access the platforms.


On the first floor, travellers can wait in the warm and the dry for their  trains. Admittedly, the timber deck type platform surface was covered in frost. Very slippery – the only problem that I experienced.


No misdirections in reference to the choice of poem – all plain sailing and very smooth, thank you SNCF (unlike recent trips on Eurostar!).

May they stumble, stage by stage
On an endless Pilgrimage
Dawn and dusk, mile after mile
At each and every step a stile
At each and every step withal
May they catch their feet and fall
At each and every fall they take
May a bone within them break
And may the bone that breaks within
Not be, for variations sake
Now rib, now thigh, now arm, now shin
but always, without fail, the NECK  Robert Graves  The Travellers’ Curse after Misdirection

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