Friday, July 27, 2018

Nîmes, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence

Today the trip goes through Occitanie and Provence regions in France.
 Tolouse station in the morning
 TGV to Bordeaux and Paris

 SNCF Class Z7500, is a Z2 EMU from 1980's
My first train today in an Intercité service to Nîmes
 This is a classic Bordeaux-Marseille service, which before December 2017 continued all the way to Nice.

 I'm now taking Bordeaux-Sète railway, which was built between 1855 and 1858. It is 474km long and it electrified with 1,5kV DC in 1935 between Montauban and Sète and in 1980 between Bordeaux and Montauban.
 Inside A8tu coach

 Cité de Carcassonne
 At Narbonne, the railway is connected with the one to Portbou (Spain)


 My next stop is at Nîmes

 Avenue Feuchères. Just like in Lourdes, I have to find a hotel to store my luggage during some hours of my visit here in Nîmes. Without lockers at the stations in France, short visits in smaller towns for tourists is a very inconvenient story.
 Gare de Nîmes
 Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle

 Fontaine Pradier
 From Wikipedia: "Dubbed the most Roman city outside Italy, Nîmes has a rich history dating back to the Roman Empire when the city was a regional capital, and home to 50,000–60,000 people. Several famous monuments are in Nîmes, such as the Nîmes Arena and the Maison Carrée. Because of this, Nîmes is often referred to as the French Rome."

 Arènes de Nîmes

 Les Jardins De La Fontaine

 Temple of Diana

 Maison Carrée

 Back at the station
 Unfortunately my next train is 1h45min delayed due to an accident at Montpellier station
 Renfe-SNCF train to Lyon

 It's very hot on this day, both humans and animals are suffering the heat
 It's a bit chaotic at the stations since no trains are on time

 Finally, the train to Avignon is arriving

 Now I'm travelling on the line Tarascon-Sète. From Tarascon, the train will use a short part of the Paris-Marseille line.

 Rhône river
I have now arrived to Avignon

 TER train to Marseille to the left, and another TER to Avignon TGV - which I will take later
 Due to the delay, I will have shorter stay here in Avignon, so there is no point to search for a hotel to leave the luggage, I have to carry it on me in the heat.
Cours Jean Jaurès

 There is a theatre festival in town, it is named OFF and it is one of largest in the world

 Musée Lapidaire
 Palais des Papes
 Pont d'Avignon
 From Wikipedia: "A wooden bridge spanning the Rhône between Villeneuve-lès-Avignon and Avignon was built between 1177 and 1185. This early bridge was destroyed forty years later during the Albigensian Crusade when Louis VIII of France laid siege to Avignon. Beginning in 1234 the bridge was rebuilt with 22 stone arches. It was abandoned in the mid-17th century as the arches tended to collapse each time the Rhône flooded making it very expensive to maintain. Four arches and the gatehouse at the Avignon end of the bridge have survived. "

 New tram line is under construction here in Avignon

 My next trip is very short

 There is a shuttle train between Avignon Central station and Avignon TGV station located 6km from the centre.
 It was opened on 10 June 2001 and is located on the LGV Méditerranée high-speed line

 Two tracks in the middle are for the through trains
 My next train is a TGV to Aix-en-Provence TGV station. This train was also delayed, it was 30min late when it departed from Paris, but it arrived to Avignon TGV only 15min delayed.

 This trip was also very short

 Aix-en-Provence TGV station opened also in 2001 and it is located 15km from Aix-en-Provence

 As many TGV station, it is located in the middle of nowhere requiring to be reached by car or bus

 I'm following other people to the bus stop

 The bus is not included in the Interrail, but the price is not high
 D9 highway is passing under the station
 Bus 40 to Aix-en-Provence

 The bus was stuck in a traffic jam for a while
 Aix-en-Provence central station which I will use the following day

 My hotel is to the left. Unfortunately I would not recommend it due to bad treatment - all rooms except mine had an air condition, even though the price was the same. The hotel staff did not want to solve this situation.

 The bad treatment in the hotel was somehow compensated by the beautiful views of the town.

 Fontaine Du Roi René
Cours Mirabeau
 Fontaine de la Rotonde
 One building that stands out from the rest is the Apple store

 Place des Cardeurs

 Town Hall of Aix-en-Provence
 Food market square

 Total lunar eclipse appeared on this day

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