The past couple of days, we have had our typical weekday routine of French classes and learning activities, interspersed with small trips to a café or the pool; but the departure from the ordinary came on Sunday, the last day of the weekend and the most interesting day that I have yet to discuss.
Sunday, we took a day trip to Avignon, mainly to see the palace in which several Popes resided before the papal office moved to Italy forevermore. The palace was massive, and though some parts of it were somewhat modernized so that they could be used as an art gallery or theatrical stage, the original structure was remarkably well preserved, and even after hundreds of years stands as a prominent and stunning example of medieval Gothic architecture. We could have easily spent an entire day exploring all of the intricacies of the palace, but after we had our fill of history and art, we were given some free time to explore the small city.
We visited during the Festival of Avignon, which runs for the majority of the month of July, and we were therefore able to see an enormous number of street performers, including magicians, artists, musicians, dancers, and many more acts from people of at least a dozen different nationalities. Between viewing all of the different performances and visiting the boutiques, a few other students and I even took a ride on a Ferris wheel near the portion of the Rhone river that runs through Avignon.
Avignon was an incredibly animated city and undoubtedly my favorite place that we have visited over the past few weeks.