Avignon and the Hotel De L’HorlogeJanuary 25th, 2012
Our trip to the walled medieval city of Avignon and the French Riviera started early, with an (on time) 08:02 departure from St Pancras. My travelling companion Sam and I were through security in a fraction of the time you would expect at any one of London’s heaving airports!
We travelled in Standard Premier and were therefore greeted by a smiling Eurostar attendant who showed us to our seats. A major advantage for taller travellers here is the extra legroom you receive, noticeably more than in Standard. Included in our ticket was a light meal, which for breakfast included a croissant, pain au chocolat, yoghurt, and tea/coffee.
We arrived in Paris Gare du Nord on time and with plenty of room to make an afternoon train from the capital’s gateway to the Mediterranean, the Gare de Lyon. There are a handful of brasseries directly opposite the station, and we also found time for a decent lunch at one of these, followed by a stroll to the Bastille, which is only a stones-throw from the station.
Our TGV to Avignon was superb, swift, clean and on time. Most of the services to the South East are operated with newer trains, primarily the “TGV duplex” varieties which have two floors. Therefore, the fact that we were in first class and the number of seats on the train meant that we had plenty of space to stretch out. On arrival in Avignon, we found that there is a choice of transport into the town centre, either a regular “navette” shuttle bus, timed to connect with train arrivals, or a very reasonable taxi journey. We chose the latter, but given the size of the old town in Avignon, and the central location of all our hotels, taking a bus is a very easy option. The bus stop only is a short walk from our hotels, and most locations in the town centre. The 5-10 minute journey was only €1.20 each way at the time of writing.
We stayed at the Hotel de l’Horloge, a 3* property located just off the main square with rooms that are pleasantly designed, clean, and spacious (in our case we had a superior category room each). The breakfast, a hot and cold buffet, was very generous, and served in a pleasant glass-fronted annex, looking onto the market. Overall, a superb value hotel and highly recommended.