- 1. The Avignon Bridge
- 2. The Popes' Palace
- 3. The theatre capital
- 4. The historic city centre of Avignon
- 5. Piazza Pio
- 6. The Cathedral and the Doms Rock
- 7. Museums
- - The Calvet Museum
- - The Petit Palais Museum
- - The Lambert Collection
- 8. St. Martial's Chapel
- 9. The luminescence of Avignon
- 10. Gastronomy and vineyards of the region
- 11. Fort Saint-André
- How to get to Avignon?
- Where to stay in Avignon?
Are you going to Avignon? Maybe your suitcase is already packed! Génération Voyage accompanies you by introducing you to the essentials to visit Avignon.
Do you feel like heritage, exhibitions and theatre? Avignon opens its doors to you and takes you on a journey through the era of time. You can't cross the Vaucluse without stopping for a moment to visit Avignon, its prefecture. Whether it is for 24 hours, a weekend or a long stay, Avignon will keep you busy.
The magical places and activities are numerous in the "City of the Popes". On the banks of the Rhone, you will only have to stroll along the cobbled streets and admire the famous Avignon Bridge. A city of theatre, Avignon will also surprise you with its visual arts. With its selection not to be missed, Génération Voyage will make you visit Avignon better than anyone else.
Also read :
The 25 must-do things to do in the PACA region
The 6 most beautiful castles of the Luberon
1. The Avignon Bridge
It does not seem conceivable to visit Avignon without walking on its famous bridge. The Pont Saint Bézenet, also called Pont d'Avignon, is one of the most famous monuments in the world thanks to its song. On the other hand, its history has not known the same notoriety.
Out of 22 original arches, only 4 remain today. What happened? As a result of war and flooding of the Rhone, the bridge was damaged several times. Despite many attempts, reconstruction work ceased in the 17th century. With more than 400,000 visitors a year, the site is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2. The Popes' Palace
With more than 600,000 visitors a year, the Palace of the Popes is one of the 10 most visited monuments in France. The monument is the most important Gothic palace in the West.
Whether you're a history buff or an architecture enthusiast, if you come to visit Avignon, don't miss the Palace of the Popes! Serving at the time both as a fortress and as a residence for the popes, it is here that many cultural events take place: exhibitions, concerts and even a few performances during the Avignon Festival.
3. The theatre capital
Every year in July, Avignon becomes a theater city by transforming its architectural heritage into various places of representation. Indeed, the Avignon Festival created in 1947 by Jean Villar is today one of the most important international events of contemporary performing arts.
Often on holiday and coming from far away, more than 130,000 spectators gather in the City of the Popes. They have the opportunity to attend some forty performances, but also readings, exhibitions, films and debates! The festival makes Avignon a real place of creation and adventure, for artists and spectators alike.
4. The historic city centre of Avignon
Surrounded by ramparts, the walled city within the city walls is a must to visit Avignon. It can be discovered on foot, venturing into the small streets. You will stroll on small hidden squares where it is good to have lunch on the terraces of restaurants and cafés. Enjoy a shopping session in the boutiques of the Rue de la République.
You can also walk past the Avignon Opera House, which is located on the beautiful Place de l'horloge and the City Hall. Take the time to stop at the Place Pie market. Finally, finish your tour by passing by the cobbled street of the Dyers.
5. Piazza Pio
Here you are in the belly of Avignon. It is on the Place Pie that the Grand Marché is held in the colors of Provence. These modern halls are open from Tuesday to Friday from 6am to 1.30pm. You can also go there on weekends from 6am to 2pm. Moreover, every Saturday at 11am, great local chefs offer demonstrations of their best recipes.
6. The Cathedral and the Doms Rock
Built in the 12th century and then rebuilt in the 15th and 17th centuries, Notre-Dame-des-Doms Cathedral is located next to the Popes' Palace. Thanks to its strategic location, it can dominate the Rhône valley from here.
Admire the pretty Romanesque façade and take a good look at the decorations on the portal. For once, it is not a sculpted decoration, but a painted one. Its bell tower is surmounted by a gilded lead Virgin. Inside the cathedral reigns a particular atmosphere which bathes in a soft half-light. You will be able to see some frescoes on the walls, but stop especially on the Romanesque dome as well as the tomb of Pope Benedict XII.
The Calvet Museum
The Calvet museum is the main museum of the city. It is located in an 18th century mansion. It brings together numerous collections of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and decorative arts. The museum's permanent collections offer an anthology of treasures of French painting from the Renaissance to the 20th century.
The Petit Palais Museum
At the end of the Place du Palais des Papes, you will find the Petit Palais museum. With its exceptional collections of Italian (Campana collection) and Provencal paintings, this museum is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will find Botticelli's Madonna and Child and San di Pietro's Angel of the Annunciation.
The Lambert Collection
The Collection Lambert en Avignon is a unique museum of contemporary art. It was born on the initiative of an art dealer and collector: Yvon Lambert. The latter donated to the State an exceptional collection of major works from the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.
Located in the heart of Avignon, the Lambert Collection is housed in two magnificent 18th century mansions. It presents ambitious exhibitions and a varied cultural and educational programme. This unique place is a must to visit Avignon.
8. St. Martial's Chapel
Closed to the public for 10 years, La Chapelle Saint-Martial has regained its lustre thanks to almost 2 years of restoration. Today, it is then possible to visit this masterpiece of the Middle Ages. This unique and fragile space is a jewel of 14th century European painting.
Come and discover the frescoes by Matteo Giovannetti, official painter of Pope Clement VI and major artist of the 14th century. Guided tours of about one hour are possible if you wish to know all the secrets and treasures that the place contains.
9. The luminescence of Avignon
Every evening the Palace of the Popes embraces you. The walls of the Courtyard of Honour become a real spectacle. Thus, with a breathtaking rhythm, the Luminescences d'Avignon plunges the spectator into an uninterrupted visual and narrative whirlwind.
10. Gastronomy and vineyards of the region
Capital of the Rhone Valley wines, visiting Avignon also means tasting its wines and local products.
Avignon becomes the beating heart of the divine nectar and drink of the Popes. Prestigious appellations such as Chateauneuf du Pape await you! You will discover great reds with a very good holding, as well as very aromatic and fresh whites.
There is no better way to learn the secrets of the birth of a wine than by taking a walk in the heart of the vineyard. Transform your journey into a gustative stroll and also savour the local products.
The specialities of the region are numerous: candied fruits, Laurmar Nougats, and olive oil. But the gastronomy of Avignon is also a lot of fresh fruits that will make you crack! Complementary, wine and gastronomy go so well together that they invite you to a gustatory stroll!
11. Fort Saint-André
Fort Saint-André is located in Villeneuve-lez-Avignon, 15 min from the City of the Popes. This former sentinel will offer you a panoramic view from the Mont Ventoux to the Alpilles. Remarkable by its conservation, the Fort was built in the 1360s near the residence of the popes in Avignon.
It is considered as a symbol of royal power until 1480, after which its strategic role was questioned, especially since Provence was attached to the Kingdom of France. In addition to its architectural beauty, this place is therefore full of history and secrets!
How to get to Avignon?
- If you wish to come by plane, you will have to land at Marseille Provence airport. Then, you will have 45min of road before joining the City of the Popes. In order to find the flight that best suits your expectations, a flight comparator such as Skyscanner will be able to help you.
- To go to Avignon by train, two train stations are at your disposal. The first one is the one of Avignon centre: here are mostly regional and intercity trains. In addition, the Avignon TGV station receives the main lines. Only 5min from the city centre, it puts Avignon 2h40 from Paris, 3h from Roissy Charles de Gaulle and 1h from Lyon.
- However, it is possible to prefer the car. In this case, you will have to take the A7. Get out at Avignon Sud if you come from Marseille, Nice, or Italy, and at Avignon Nord if you come from Paris or Lyon.
Once there, most places can be visited on foot. This is all the more the case as it is difficult to find where to park in the old town. So, to visit Avignon the car will not be of great use. If walking does not suit you, opt instead for cycling or urban transport.
Where to stay in Avignon?
The ideal way to visit Avignon is to stay in the old city, inside the city walls. This is probably the best way to discover the city and enjoy its charm, all on foot. Here you will easily find a hotel to welcome you. If you come during the festival, the price of accommodation will be very high. So to help you in your search for accommodation, a hotel comparator may be useful.
If your budget is a little tighter, choose an Airbnb in the area around the City of the Popes. Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, or Fontaine-de-Vaucluse are ready to accommodate you during your stay!