Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A week in France: looking for the history of the church - day 2

The next morning started with a good breakfast and the picking up of our rental car: a new Volkswagon Passat (btw - this was a really fun car to drive around France). From there, we checked out of the hotel and made our way to the Papal palace in Avignon where we arrived just in time for the Heineken delivery; after all it would not be a good papal palace without a good stock of beer, right?

The palace was quite interesting. Not only did we get to walk through this great building and learn much about the catholic history of the time, but we also were able to see a couple of artifacts concerning Protestantism of the time. We saw a copy of an indulgence note and a copy of engravings left on prison walls in the 16th century by Protestants who had been imprisoned by the pope.

We then proceeded to drive north toward the city of Orange. Orange is famous for its Roman amphitheater. Many amphitheaters have much better preserved steps/seats, many are larger, but few have such a well preserved back wall (because of the construction techniques, weather, materials, etc., the back walls are very prone to collapse). Of interest is a statue of the emperor, found in the middle of the wall, who is overseeing the show and blessing it. By the way, located just outside the amphitheater is a temple dedicated to such emperor worship. How convenient, you could thank the emperor for the games on your way out.

After some shopping and a good crêpe meal, we headed to Anduze, home of Le Musée du Désert: a museum of protestant history dedicated mainly to the desert period (1685-1789), which is considered to go from the revocation of the Edict of Nantes to the French Revolution. The museum was closed when we got there, so we looked at local potteries, found all the sites we wanted to visit the next day, and settled in for the evening.

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