Arrival at Avignon

Arrival at Avignon
I love riding on trains. I love little kids. I hate it when little kids cry constantly on long train rides. Unfortunately, this is what I had to endure while riding on the train from Paris to Avignon. Also unfortunately, the child was American (way to be an ambassador, kiddo), and she and her mother, father, and siblings delayed the train twice: once leaving Paris, and then again when it left Avignon. Imagine this. You’re sitting on the TGV at the station in Paris. The train is about to leave, when a rather hysterical looking woman comes running down the platform and practically throws her kids, luggage, and dazed looking husband onto the train. Well, the staff and this woman go at it for a while: she wants to make room on the luggage rack for all of her stuff, but there is no more room. Period. After much grumbling, she sits down (with all of her luggage) and the train departs almost ten minutes late. Then, at Avignon, our hero can be found tossing her kids and baggage off of the train. But wait! Where’s the husband? He is still on the train (trying to escape his family, no doubt), and the doors have closed behind him. So, the woman becomes completely hysterical and begins to bang and yell at the train staff, in English, to let her husband out. It really was quite a scene: a woman dressed in an ultra-casual, American way, banging on the doors of a bullet train and screaming alternately at the rail staff and her ill-behaved children. What a trip. Anyway, leaving the woman… Yeah! We had arrived at Avignon. The train arrived around two in the afternoon, and the weather had turned from rainy around Paris to sunny and very warm in Avignon. This was my type of weather, and I was glad that I had packed my shorts. All I needed were my sandals, a swimsuit, a beach… Anyway, last time my family and I were in Avignon, everything was difficult: we had a horrible time getting a car, and we drove around the city for an hour and a half looking for the way to Les Baux. In contrast, this time was incredibly easy. Getting a car was no problem (fitting all the luggage into it, along with six fully grown people, was another matter), and we found the way out of Avignon on the first try. This is because a new TGV station has been built on the border of town. Before we knew it, we had arrived at our hotel: La Riboto de Taven. Situated at the base of Les Baux (away from all of the German tourist busses), this little plot of paradise is a superb place to stay. From the moment we pulled into the parking lot and spilled out of our overstuffed car, we were made very welcome by Monsieur and Madame Theme, the owners of La Riboto de Taven. The rooms are very nice here: they are well sized and well furnished. The beds are comfortable (in my opinion, the most important aspect to a hotel), and the grounds are extremely well kept. There’s a pool, and the views can’t be beat. In fact, as I sit here by the pool and write this article, I am looking up at the astounding cliffs that tower over me on both sides. All the cliffs are amazing: each one has many varieties of plants and trees springing out from fissures in its surface. Another nice aspect of this hotel is the location. If you desire, you can visit Les Baux (a very well preserved Roman fortress atop one of the surrounding cliffs), or you can attend a Wednesday market in St. Remy. There’s also some fine dining to be found around Riboto de Taven. The restaurant of Oustau de Baumaniere, a Relais & Chateaux hotel, is an outstanding place to dine. (Look for my review, coming soon.) Or if you prefer, you can have dinner at Riboto. There is seating both inside and outside at the hotel, and either way is a good option. Madame Theme’s brother (this is a family affair, with her parents living on site as well) is an excellent chef and is every bit the equal of Riboto’s surroundings. If you have never been to this area of France before, just driving around might be a fun thing to do. The scenery is very different from the scenery around Paris, and there are many places to do some wine and olive oil tasting. The vineyards here are something else, and the olive trees are really a sight. Then, there’s always the lavender, which was just coming into full bloom during our visit—and Monet’s poppies. I think I will really enjoy my stay at Riboto de Taven. The area is lovely, the hotel is lovely, and the weather is magnificent. All that I am lacking are my lovely ladies. If I could just find the beach, then I would truly be in paradise. Contact info for Riboto:Phone: 33 (0)4 90 54 34 23Fax: 33 (0)4 90 54 38 88Website: Taylor Horton is a high school student who considers himself very fortunate to be writing for Bonjour Paris this summer.
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