Saturday, 8 October 2011

Avallon - with 2 L's

Lillian :  The Avalon of the Legend of King Arthur has one L but some historians think they are the same - see here.   Avallon was originally called Aballo  -  'apple' or 'apple tree'.  At any rate, our people love this little town in the heart of Bourgogne (Burgundy) and they think it is quite magic.

Audrey : I think they would like to move to Avallon! 

Lillian :  It is a very pretty place - the old town is on top of a hill, surrounded by remparts (ramparts) with watchtowers ...



Lillian :   The river Cousin runs at the bottom of the valley and it is full of fish.

Audrey :  The French people don't say 'cousin' like we do.

Lillian :  No - and they say Avallon in a rather unexpected way too.
Audrey :  The hill-side is covered with little walled gardens where the locals grow fruit & vegetables and some flowers.

 Audrey :  Avallon is quite a sleepy little place where men play boules in the parks in the afternoons - the men in the background here were quite young.


Lillian : There are winding, narrow streets with over-hanging buildings; many of them maisons à colombages (half-timbered houses) and as we noticed at Marie-Antoinette's Hameau  the French don't paint these buildings black & white but use more natural browns for the timbers and soft cream or apricot for the cob or torchis (a mix of clay, chopped straw, lime and sand).
 Audrey :  There are also a lot of cats ... tres francais!
Lillian :  Yes, and that kitty had been visiting the Costume Museum;  it is a private collection, very large - our Stylist went there and was amazed and delighted. 
 Audrey : Perhaps that is why she loves Avallon - a town with a population less than 7,500 and yet there is a costume museum and a Chapellerie (hat-shop)!  Our tour-manager nearly bought himself a very stylish Borsalino!


Lillian : We stayed at Les Capucins - very nice and the restaurant was great but I thought the garden was the best part.  There was muguet (Lily of the Valley) in flower!

Audrey : And this pretty flower, which we had never seen before;  it looks rather like a row of pink wigs from a production of "Hairspray"!   What is it Lillian?

Lillian : I had to research this one - the French call it
Coeur de Jeannette - the Latin name is Lamprocapnos (formally Dicentra) spectabilis - the English call it 'bleeding heart' or 'Dutchman's trousers'!

Audrey : Very cute - more about the lovely town of Avallon in our next post.

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