Avignon and the Pont du Gard with Pamela Morton - Context Travel

Avignon and the Pont du Gard with Pamela Morton


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‘On the bridge of Avignon, everybody dances’ begins the well-known French song. Although never wide enough for circle dancing and with only four of its original twenty-two stone arches remaining, Le Pont d’Avignon figures prominently in local history and lore. The only bridge over the Rhône south of Lyon, it was a crucial link between east and west and while each maintained a guard house with drawbridge, it also linked the Avignon papacy with the French monarchy. The papal court settled in lands it held in southern France following the election of a French pope in 1309. Over the course of the century, with the successive election of six additional popes (and two anti-popes), the papacy secured its position along the Rhône. The Avignon popes surrounded their city with three miles of defensive walls and at its center built an elaborate palace -- the largest gothic structure in the world. Resembling a fortress with its pointed towers and crenelated walls, this grandiose symbol of earthly as well as spiritual power is now one of the most visited monuments in France and home to an international theater festival in July.

Set in the countryside to the west of Avignon, is an important Roman monument, the Pont du Gard. Dating from 19 BCE, this imposing structure is impressive not only for its sheer size but also for its display of technical ingenuity. Part of an engineering work designed to carry spring water over 30 miles to the city of Nîmes, the 2000-year-old Pont du Gard is today one of the highest surviving Roman aqueducts and one of the best preserved, having served for most of its history as a bridge over the Gardon river, a tributary of the Rhône.

Led by Pamela Morton, art historian and long-time resident of Provence, this interactive seminar will focus on two UNESCO World Heritage Sites - the historic center of Avignon including the Palace of the Popes and the Avignon bridge, and the Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of the history, art and architecture of a picturesque and rich cultural region in the south of France. 

Originally from the US, Pamela has lived in France (Aix-en-Provence and Marseille) for 25 years. Pamela teaches studio art and art history for American university programs in Aix. She trained in art restoration in Italy and has a background in museum work as a curatorial assistant and program director. She is also an artist working in mixed media -- drawing and painting. She attended Bennington College and California College of the Arts. She's worked as the on-site director for a study abroad program and for educational programs including the Smithsonian, Alumni International and Cultural Experiences Abroad. She's taught for Northwestern University, Oberlin College, and the Marchutz School of Art (Aix). As an art historian, Pamela is endlessly fascinated by the local culture, the archaeology, history, and architecture of the region as well as its monuments and museums. As a painter, she is intrigued by the light and colors of this southern realm, the Midi, where so many artists lived and worked. Her two favorite artists from Provence are Cézanne and van Gogh.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 10 reviews
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(9)
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T
T.H.
Avignon and Pont du Gard

Great presentation and review of the history and wonderful things to do in Avignon. Found the information, photos and presentation to be exactly what I was looking for.

A
A.

Great presentation!

T
T.

Pamela did a wonderful job of giving an overview of Avignon and the Papal presence, along with Pont du Gard. I had the good fortune of visiting this area 10 years ago. It was a nice trip down memory lane and made me want to visit this area again.

F
F.

Guest did not leave comment

A
A.M.G.
excellent presentation

She gave a very interesting presentation about Avignon and Pont du Gard. I had been there on a riverboat trip but because of my decreased motility wasnot able to see all the things that she discussed. I wish that she had been our guide when I was there. She is excellent and shows her knowledge of the area.

Customer Reviews

Based on 10 reviews
90%
(9)
10%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
T
T.H.
Avignon and Pont du Gard

Great presentation and review of the history and wonderful things to do in Avignon. Found the information, photos and presentation to be exactly what I was looking for.

A
A.

Great presentation!

T
T.

Pamela did a wonderful job of giving an overview of Avignon and the Papal presence, along with Pont du Gard. I had the good fortune of visiting this area 10 years ago. It was a nice trip down memory lane and made me want to visit this area again.

F
F.

Guest did not leave comment

A
A.M.G.
excellent presentation

She gave a very interesting presentation about Avignon and Pont du Gard. I had been there on a riverboat trip but because of my decreased motility wasnot able to see all the things that she discussed. I wish that she had been our guide when I was there. She is excellent and shows her knowledge of the area.