Geneva’s Jonction

La Jonction is the point where the Rhône River and the Aarve River converge, their confluence.  The Rhône descends from the Alps (the Rhone Glacier in Valais) into the far end of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman).  The water is then filtered while passing through deep Lake Geneva, coming out the other end an even clearer, brighter blue.

The Aarve is snowmelt directly from the Alps and is still full of sediment.  Since it didn’t spend time in the lake being warmed by the sun, it is also much colder.  Last August, I dipped my finger in in.  It was over 32 degrees (0 Celsius), but not much.  Bbrrrr.  Our friends rafted down the Rhône and said that the bottom of their raft became noticeably cooler after the confluence of the Aarve at Jonction.

They can see the drastic difference in their color and sediment at the point where they meet.  I’ve heard it described as Blue Curacao next to Bailey’s Irish Cream.  After they join, the Rhone becomes greener and cloudier.

There is a lot of natural beauty in Switzerland.  If Jonction were located elsewhere, it would probably get more attention.  Here, it has to compete with stunning mountain ranges and crystal clear lakes.

Geneve/La Jonction

Geneve/La Jonction (Photo credit: silviaN)

Jonction is also a neighborhood in Geneva, located near the rivers’ confluence, one side is bordered by the Rhône and another by the Aarve. By the way, if people tell you to meet them at Jonction on a hot day, make sure to bring a swimsuit.  The Rhône side of Jonction has a giant grassy area where people picnic and sunbathe.  They jump in the river and float downstream to cool down.  Oh yeah, they also jump off of bridges.  We’ll do it again soon.

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Don’t Miss A Stroll Through Avignon

We brought visitors from the US on a whirlwind trip to France where we to see as much as possible in a weekend.  The first day, we saw Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Orange.  On the second day, we saw the Pont d’Avignon, the Palais des Papes and the nearby Pont du Gard before returning home.  It was a full weekend, but worth it.  Francophiles, don’t worry, this is the first of more trips to the south of France.  We’re actually headed back tomorrow.  On our whirlwind tour of Provence, we managed a quick stroll through Avignon.  It is a charming town.  While it is best known for the Papal Palace, it’s backstreets are worth a stroll.

The Place de l’Horloge, one of Avignon’s main squares is exactly how you’d imagine a square in the south of France.  The only thing I didn’t see was the petanque (boules/bocce ball) court.  It had grand buildings, a ferris wheel and was lined with outdoor cafes.  Avignon has many squares, but part of its charm is that it is old enough to have narrow alleys leading off of them.

Signs of Avignon past as a religious center are everywhere.

The riverfront (of the Rhone River), parks and gardens of the Palais des Papes, provide welcome open and green space.

The gardens of the Palais des Papes even had a grotto…just like another mansion in California.

Oh yeah, the enormous city walls and ramparts are pretty cool too.  Just make sure to avoid falling stones.  The sign below translates to “Pedestrians do not walk along the ramparts risk of falling rocks.”

Nursery Rhyme Time – Le Pont d’Avignon

Every child in France knows of Avignon.  It isn’t because it is a decent-sized town.  It isn’t because it has a bunch of history or housed the papacy.  It isn’t because the bridge stops in the middle of the Rhone River (it was washed away by floods and not rebuilt).  It is because of a nursery rhyme.

Just like “Ring Around the Rosie” or “London Bridge is Falling Down” it has a dance that goes with it.

The refrain goes:

Sur le pont d’Avignon (On the bridge of Avignon)

l’on y danse, l’on y danse  (we all dance there, we all dance there)

Sur le pont d’Avignon (On the bridge of Avignon)

l’on y danse tout en rond. (we all dance there in a circle)

1st Verse – Les beaux messieurs font comme ci 
et pui encore comme ca…. (The handsome young gentlemen do like this (bow)
 and then like that)

2nd Verse – Les belles dam’s font comme ci . . .
 (The beautiful young ladies do like this …(curtsying))

3rd Verse – Et les soldats font comme ci . . .
 (The brave soldiers do like this (salute)
)

4th Verse – Les cordonniers font comme ci . . .
 (The musicians do like this (play violin))

There are many more verses, but you get the idea.  Everyone is doing something with an accompanying gesture.  Someone who is a better scribe than I put them all down with instructions if you want to give it a go.

By the way, song was actually “Sous le Pont d’Avignon” (Under the Bridge of Avignon).  In medieval times, it was a happening place with cafés with dancing and other pleasure activities under the bridge’s arches of the bridge.  “Sur” means on and sounds a bit similar…

 

Go Jump Off A Bridge

Do you remember when your mom said “if your friends jumped off a bridge would you do it to”?  Here, the answer is yes. Okay, so I guess technically this is not allowed. From the looks of it, that wasn’t stopping anyone.
There is a decent current so you can float way down the river in a boat. If you tread water, you’ll be carried along.  Very refreshing.  Very good time.
P.S. If you come visit, please bring us an inflatable boat