wall 1

Place Pie is one of Avignon’s main squares bordered by churches, many bars and restaurants, shops and the covered market, Les Halles. The market is on the ground floor of a 5 level parking garage which forms a portion of the north facing side. This facade has a most decorative finish.

wall small image

Running through the slanted 3 dimensional swirls of planted crocks, resembling cliff side terrain, runs 20 m of Iris japonica. Inside, early morning, there’s an opportunity to delve into more sumptuous delights also beautifully and skilfully laid out. The French are masters at presentation. Regular and perfectly formed shapes . . . .

legumes 1

. . . and the knobbly and irregular forms of organic produce.

legumes organic 2

Poor picture I’m afraid of the display of hats above the boulangerie stall.

pain 1

salade 1

Fresh leaves from the countryside and hams and salamis from Italy . . .


. . the spice stall smells as good as it looks – full of eastern promise with cones of colourful,  dry and grainy powdery textures – great contrast to slippery shells on the coquillages stall.



To finish the meal, fruits confits and calissons from down the road in Aix en Provence.

fruits confits


Back outside, th dry seed heads float in front of the high roof. It’s a green tone landscape in early January . . .

wall 3

. . . but three hundred different species are planted on the 600 sq.m. surface. The image below shows the newly planted vertical garden. The wide expanse offered up an opportunity for Patrick Blanc to flex his artistic muscles and create a stunning horticultural canvas. Surprisingly dwarf conifers are included in the palette along with more usual suspects – cistus, helianthemum, salvia, dianthus and cytisus – now meshed together as the small leaved micraflora of algae flourished along with mosses and ferns.

wall just planted

Two alcoves on either side conjure up the effect of a rocky labyrinth as against a piece of flat tapestry style planting.

wall summer landscape

wall summer

When over the flowery, sharp pasture’s
edge, unseen, the salt ocean

lifts its form-chicory and daisies
tied, released, seem hardly flowers alone

but color and the movement-or the shape
perhaps-of restlessness, whereas

the sea is circled and sways
peacefully upon its plantlike stem.    William Carlos Williams  Flowers By The Sea

street of the water wheels

January 8, 2013

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201301

The street of the water wheels also called street of the dyers (teinturiers) runs from the ramparts into the old town of Avignon. Plane trees cast shade in summer over a street where restaurants and many small fringe theatres are situated – especially lively and humming at festival time but quiet on a Sunday afternoon in early January. Some locals were making a direct path to one venue where a performance of Provencal music was scheduled and I’m sorry now that I didn’t accept the friendly invitation to stay and listen. Dommage. River stones from the Durance form the road surface and pieces of carved stone prevent parking in some places and also offer places to perch.Annoyingly I can’t find any information on the provenance of the carvings . . . .

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201303

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201306

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201307

. . . the canalised water runs at street level and is now taken from the Sorgue providing pure Vaucluse canal water instead of the original source, the muddier River Durance. The water had to be pure for the clarity of colours used in the silk and calico weaving that made the Provençal fabric so famous.

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201308

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201310

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201309

Strong, proud architecture forms a back cloth to the canal including the entrance to the Chapelle des Penitents Gris . . . . . services are still held here . . . . there is one next Sunday January 13th. Just 4 of the water wheels remain from the 23 that pumped up the flow to run the mills between the 14th and 19th C. The washing and the rinsing of fabric required a constant replenishing water supply – the energy of the contained  element must have been something to witness and to work with.

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201311

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201312

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201313

A beautiful magnolia stretches out from one of many old enclosed gardens that delineate the division of the wealthier facades on the canal side to the more humble terraced habitations and shops on the street side. Two important buildings mark each end of the street . . .

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201305

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201302

. . the church of the convent where Petrach’s love Laura lies and by the ramparts, Maison du IV Chiffre, with the carved chiffres between the first floor windows. Gargoyles lean from the curved corner turrets to disgorge water on those below.

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201315

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201316

A street that appears peaceful, calm, quite soft and  limpid – now.Centuries ago, a theatre of  moving, revolving power manipulated by man.

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201317

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone. Maya  Angelou  Alone

avignon – short stop

July 16, 2012

From the TGV station into town to pick up a local train – a reed bed in a contemporary water feature is a surprise. The station building itself is a thing of wonder . . .


. . . jumping off the bus at Cours Jean Jaures – more water and time for a chat and gentle reflection.

Down the busy Cours in full festival mode – a joyful holiday feeling. It’s fun here.

. . . but off the main drag, there are shady places for sitting around and contemplating . . .

Luscious foliage on the rocky water feature and equally on the magnolia.

Must return!

Dont tug que may tot jorn prendo plazer. . .

Verses, chansos, siruentes, pastorelas,

Dansas, descortz, redondels, viandelas,

Am bel so gay, melodios, plazen,

Balan, trescan o lors obran fazen;

E motas vetz, per fugir ad enueg,

Per los jorns loncz, o can fa longa nueg,

Legen dictatz, gestas o bels romans.


From which a great number of people always take pleasure. . .

verses, chansos, sirventes, pastorelas,

dansas, descortz, redondels, viandelas,

with pretty tunes, gay, melodious, and pleasurable,

as they dance and leap around or do their work;

and, frequently, to raise their spirits

on long days, or when the nights are long,

they read verses, tales or romances.  Raimon de Cornet

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