Love and Food in the Big D

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Avignon, France Day 2 - Part 2: Pope's Palace & Dinner at L'Essentiel

One of the only items on our "Must-Do-While-In-Avignon" list was to tour the gargantuan Papal Palace. 

History (according to Wikipedia)
Avignon became the residence of the Popes in 1309, when the Gascon Bertrand de Goth, as Pope Clement V, unwilling to face the violent chaos of Rome after his election (1305), moved the Papal Curia to Avignon, a period known as the Avignon Papacy. Clement lived as a guest in the Dominican monastery at Avignon, and his successor Pope John XXII set up a magnificent establishment there, but the reconstruction of the old bishops' palace was begun in earnest by Pope Benedict XII (1334–42) and continued by his successors to 1364. The site, on a natural rocky outcrop at the northern edge of Avignon, overlooking the river Rhône, was that of the old episcopal palace of the bishops of Avignon. The Palais was built in two principal phases with two distinct segments, known as the Palais Vieux (Old Palace) and Palais Neuf (New Palace). By the time of its completion, it occupied an area of 11,000 m² (2.6 acres). The building was enormously expensive, consuming much of the papacy's income during its construction. 

If you'd like to know more.. You can get your read on here... :)

Overlooking Avignon from one of the Palace Towers..

Another picturesque map pointing the way

After spending the majority of the afternoon exploring the Palace we headed back to our B&B (passing the Pont D'Avignon) to get ready for dinner. 

Water levels at the Pont D'Avignon dating back to 1755

A TRUE walled city...

Back to the Banasterie to get cleaned up and rest a bit :)

After taking a much needed rest from our long day, we set our sights on ANOTHER amazing restaurant, L'Essentiel, recommended by the La Banasterie owner Jean-Michel 

I love finding (and photographing) wines I love.. It helps me remember them later on ;) 
This one is definitely one of my favorites.  :)

Prelude Gourmand - Tomato preserves with duck rillettes
Rabbit and Olive Terrine with Herb Salad

Soft Boiled Egg on Mashed Potatoes with Truffle Toast

Chicken on Herb Potatoes with Mushroom Cream

Duck Breast with Twice Fried Onions

Polenta and Burnt Orange Demi

Coffee Chocolate Cake with Chestnut Ice Cream

Pineapple Sponge Cake in a Lemon Pineapple Sauce

So long L'Essentiel, you've been good to us..time to walk off all that food! 

Ending a perfect evening in the most perfect way... Overlooking the Palace with my husband. 
Life. Is. Good. 

Next Up:  PARIS!! 

Avignon, France Day 2 - Part 1: Morning Snack, Stroll and Chez Lulu

We loved that Avignon had such a sense of CALM surrounding the city.  After being amongst the Merce Festival crowd in Barcelona and knowing what we were heading towards in Paris.. Chad and I took this time to REALLY slow down and just enjoy this little city.  No rush, no real plans.  It was heavenly and just what we needed to break up our trip.  First order of the day, a little snack prepared by our "Inn keepers".  :) 

Fresh fruit with a little powered sugar

A great selection of breads and an assortment of jams..

In this cute little room at our B&B

Loved the DETAILS of this city..

Was the arch built around the rocks or...???

Everything was so OLD! 

True cobblestone streets

The back of the Pope's Palace..

Panoramic Views above the Rhone River

This plaque gave the direction and distance to the neighboring cities..

Loved this old crooked tree..

Overlooking Avignon's famous bridge..

Time for lunch at Chez Lulu... another recommendation from the owners of our B&B :)

Our starter plate - Chantrelle Mushroom Tart and Garden Salad

Guess I should've felt bad for letting Chad order the Lulu Salad...when I got..

THIS american classic.  I told him it was for "research" purposes only. 
Come on.. I HAD to try the "French" France.. lol..right??
It didn't really work (Chad STILL gave me grief about going American in France)..
honestly, I just needed a little comfort food. :)

And how can anyone resist THIS?!  And was ONE HELL of a tasty burger I must say..
One of the best WE've ever had. (Chad agrees)  Those French folks surely know what they're doing.. ;)

Next Up:  The Pope's Palace and Dinner at L'Essentiel Restaurant