In 1309 Pope Clement V, a Frenchman, moved the papal court to Avignon where it stayed for 68 years. The Papal Palace was as much a fortress as a palace. Even after Pope Gregory XI moved the official papacy back to Rome there was a Western Schism which divided the Catholic world. From 1378-1417 a rival succession of popes, referred to as the antipopes, ruled from Avignon until an agreement was made to only have one pope, in Rome.
One of the best preserved Roman buildings in France is the coliseum in Arles. Built around the first century, the UNESCO World Heritage Site could accommodate 20,000 spectators. Miraculously, it is still in use today, for bull fights.
Viviers is a small walled town overlooking the Rhone and contains the smallest cathedral in France. From 430 AD forward for hundreds of years it played an important part in Catholic life. Many of the bishops who lived and worked there were elected into sainthood.
Lyon has over 100 murals painted on the walls of city buildings. Many artists have come together to create these astonishingly realistic slices of urban life.
The Doux Valley, near Tournon, has stunning views into a deep gorge cut out by the Doux River. A number of arched bridges dot the landscape.
Stonehenge is decidedly the most famous ancient stone circle in England but the unknown builders or their contemporaries were busy in other locations as well. In the Lake District, near Keswick is found the Castlerigg Stone Circle. There are 38 stones in a circle and within there's a rectangle of 10 standing stones. It's estimated that it was built 3000 BC, one of the oldest circles in Britain.
Dungeon Ghyll Force, also in the Lake District, is a forty-foot waterfall that one reaches by a series of stone steps that climb about 1500 feet. The surrounding scenery is rugged and beautiful.
The Cotswolds are known for the iconic thatched roofs that are associated with this charming part of England.
Unless you've recently arrived from the Siberian steppes you probably have some knowledge of "Downton Abbey" the immensely successful BBC/PBS television show. Highclere Castle is the name of the estate where the program was filmed.
The grounds of Highclere have huge specimen Lebanon cedar trees that dwarf the people standing near.