Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Photo Scrapbook: Avignon

The Les Halles indoor market is a relatively new tourist destination in Avignon because of its Plant Wall, debuting in 2005 on the north face of the building. Its the work of French botanist Patrick Blanc, who trademarked the Plant Wall concept.

His Plant Wall is a dense sheet of vegetation that can grow against any surface or even in mid-air. It works, according to a Business Week article, by doing away with dirt, instead growing plants hydroponically in felt pockets attached to a rigid plastic backing.

His concept was first exhibited in 1994 at the International Garden Festival in Chaumont-sur-Loire, France; Blanc's latest Plant Wall is at the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, which features art and culture of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. The south-facing Plant Wall in the $300 million dollar building is nearly 8,600 square feet and contains 15,000 plants from 170 species originating in North America, Europe, Himalaya, China and Japan.

Doug and I saw the Plant Wall at the new Musee du Quai Branly while on a Paris City Tour a few days earlier so when we learned of the one in Avignon, we made sure to stop by Les Halles.

One could find almost any food item, fresh from the shops and farms of Provence, beautifully displayed at the Les Halles indoor market, which also featured live entertainment. Why, this American (me at the far left) was even invited to join in the group sing-along.

The ancient city of Avignon is famous for its history and architecture, but the lovely main square Place de L'Horloge is equally inviting for tourists because of its quaint cafes and unique shops.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

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