Sur Le Pont D’Avignon

There’s a popular children’s song which mentions the town of Avignon, France, which was my family’s destination today. Do you remember the song?

Sur le pont d’Avignon
L’on y danse, l’on y danse
Sur le pont d’Avignon
L’on y danse tous en rond.

Rough translation:
On the bridge of d’Avignon
We all dance there, we all dance there
On the bridge of d’Avignon
We all dance there, all around.

It’s sung in a round, naming all the people dancing -ladies, gentlemen, etc, and is similar to “Ring Around the Rosy” with everyone circling and falling. The bridge from the song was built in the middle of the 12th century –cue the incredible departure into history for my family!
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Leaving North America and traveling to France becomes an instant history lesson, since pretty much everywhere you look there’s bound to be something older than Canada. And as you can see from the photo, everything resembles famous paintings, or just plain looks like it should be in a painting. Avignon is in the gorgeous South of France, with an ancient walled city that famously housed 7 popes before becoming part of France during the French Revolution in 1731.

Fast forward a little bit, and you’ll find my family arriving at the Avignon train station during an incredible one-day music festival –Fête de la Musique. Our friends from Vancouver, who are now proud residents of Avignon, picked us up amid the flurry of thousands of other people visiting the city for the one-day free fête which celebrates any and all performers wanting to perform any type of music or song. Pure chaos, but in a good way. We enjoyed a glass of chilled rosé at their apartment before launching our still-jetlagged (and train-weary) bodies into the dizzying kaleidescope of thumping music and people in the cobblestone streets.
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We saw all sorts of musical performers, but most of all, we reunited our daughter with our friends’ daughters, two of her first best friends. It was an explosion of hugs, kisses, and jumpy jumps as they danced and circled around each other, just like the dancers of that famous song.
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Illustration from The Baby’s Bouquet, A Fresh Bunch of Rhymes and Tunes by Walter Crane (1878).

2 thoughts on “Sur Le Pont D’Avignon

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