Thursday, August 14, 2003

A couple of photos of Avignon

If you are putting a new drainpipe on the side of your wall, and the drainpipe covers the street sign that is on the side of the wall, what do you do? I would have thought that you either move the street sign, or put up a new street sign, with the same name on it as the old one. Makes sense?

Apparently not. In Avignon you put up a street sign with an entirely different street name on it. I can't see what the old name was because it is behind a drainpipe, but it is clearly not "Rue Edmund Halley".

And I will also say I wasn't expecting a Rue Edmund Halley in Avignon. While there are clearly not enough streets in the world named after great English astronomers, I expect those that are to be mostly in England. On the other hand, perhaps I am wrong to do so. You do find many more streets named for great scientists in France than in England, even though England's scientific legacy is pretty clearly the greater one. It's simply a case of the French (correctly) recognising Halley's greatness, I guess.

Anyone who has been to even a single French lesson (and I haven't been to many more than that) will have heard the French song that starts like this

Sur le pont d'Avignon,
On y danse, on y danse,
Sur le pont d'Avignon,
On y danse tous en rond.

This is the pont d'Avignon from the song, at least what is left after most of it was washed away in the floods of the mid 17th century, or so says my guidebook.

It seems kind of impressive that the useless (except for tourism) remains of a bridge largely washed away 350 years ago could survive this long, which is why I feel I need to check the date somewhere else. The guidebook is a standard Lonely Planet guide to the whole of France, and it is usually accurate.

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