After my lunch of Plat du Jour – cheeseburger with egg, apple and cheese… I set off for Ft St Andre and La Chartreuse. They are located on the other side of the river from the town of Avignon. Bus time! While waiting for Bus 5, just inside the city walls,, I struck up a conversation with a couple – with the woman, actually. They were going the same place and we both weren’t sure so we set off helping each other find the right bus and the right stop. From Belgium, she told me her son worked on Wall Street in NYC – “just like in the cinema!” That’s scary. But she was a proud mama.
La Chartreuse du Val de Benediction was started by Pope Innocent VI, a local boy made good. He donated his lands and a private residence for a monastery for 12 monks. It flourished, becoming the biggest Carthusian monastery in France. Then came the revolution. Divided into lots and sold. Damaged, Library and art scattered.
In 1835 Proper Merimee (ring a bell? Author.) who was then Inspector of Historical Monuments, saw the frescos and put it on the preserve list. It’s a big place with many different rooms open. You get a feel for the daily life – the herb garden. The cemetery, the garden of the laundry and the laundry. Cloisters. Mausoleum of Pope Innocent VI. He was buried there in 1362 but during the – you guessed it – Revolution, it was moved. In 1959 the mausoleum was returned. That was a good thing.
By the end I was sweating and thirsty. And knew I had to climb this big hill in the beating sun to reach the Fort. No water available at the monastery but she gave me directions to the village store. I as quite surprised to discover the village – we had gotten there from the parking lot. Drank the water in almost one gulp and set off. Wishing, however, that it was a meal time because I would have loved to eat at the Café of the Univers… Would like to know what the Univers suggests… 🙂
The Fort. This is clearly a strategic location. You can see for miles. It’s both a Fort and an Abbey. I only had time for one and choose the warrior path. Pack in Avignon I was told I took the wrong one. But the Fort was included in the Chartreuse monastery ticket… <Shrug.> I was very glad for my hiking boots as the Fort was a rough and tumble place. It was built by John the Good in the 14th century to protect the boundary of the Kingdom of France. The photos tell the story better than I can.
Oh. And what of the Drugs?
Most of my day was spent by myself as my friend was battling the French Pharmacy. It is strange – things you cannot get in the states you can get here, and vice versa. But the pharmacist is much more involved in diagnosing. In fact, you are expected to see the Pharmacist first, before the doctor. She has an awful cold and wanted decongestant. And he didn’t want to sell it to her. Finally he gave up and sold her the only one he had but it came with Tylenol. She went back in the morning to go over her cold history with him and get the right medication. I was happy to let her handle her medical issues on her own. My interpreting skills do not extend to the medical arena.
Oh and what a nice segue from medical arena to Roman arena! Next entry: Arles.