One of the largest historic cities in Provence is Avignon in France, which is situated on the shores of the Rhône and encircled by ancient stone ramparts. It was, therefore, anticipated to be more like a large metropolis, but rather, it came into a location with a crafted, small-town vibe.
It has a rich past and spectacular art and architecture from when it was the imperial residence. It’s a great location to idle away a day or two eating, drinking, and visiting while also taking in the stunning Provençal countryside right outside your door.
1. 10 Best Things to Do in Avignon France
Avignon France, also known as the entrance to Provence, is an extremely popular starting point for touring the larger area. It’s frequently selected as a handy spot to stay, but once people visit, they fall in love with it, and it ends up becoming a solid favorite.
Actually, the center of Avignon feels more like a bustling village than a metropolis. Streets overflowing with history, bustling with the sound of music, and ornamented with art stood beyond the magnificently preserved ramparts.
1.1. Pont D’Avignon
The most recognizable structure in Avignon is a famous bridge that doesn’t go anywhere, and it got that way mainly because of an ancient song. The Pont d’Avignon, or the Pont Saint Bénézet as it is officially known, barely spans the river halfway. However, the first wooden bridge, built in the 11th century, linked Avignon with Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.
A stone replica was constructed after it was damaged by flooding, but even that couldn’t survive the Rhône’s force. Only four of the original 22 arches remain now because they were abandoned in the middle of the seventeenth century. However, a 15th-century French song about dancing called “Sur le Pont d’Avignon” has helped it become a city landmark.
1.2. Visit Palais Des Papes
The 14th-century Popes built Avignon’s genuinely impressive popes’ palace, which is unusual for such a little city. Pope Clement V relocated the Avignon papacy to Avignon in 1309 after fleeing Rome’s corruption, where it remained for the following 68 years.
The structure dominates the old town from the outside. With 25 public rooms, it is currently less ornately furnished inside but is still an imposing location. Additionally, it serves as a location for the yearly Festival d’Avignon and is used for events, including light and sound performances. Do not overlook the rooftop patio and café for views of Avignon’s rooftops.
1.3. Rue Des Teinturiers
The textile industry previously thrived in this lovely area of Avignon. The force behind this was the Sorgue River’s slender arm, which runs through this area. Four waterwheels remain grace the roadway as a reminder of the thriving trade that existed here in the past, even though its qualities are primarily ornamental today.
The roadway runs in the direction of the city center from the town walls to Rue des Teinturies. As you descend the street, you will pass beneath the sycamore trees that line the canal. On one side, a charming footbridge provides access to the old homes; on the other, a plethora of cafés abound, their terraces spilling out into the cobbled path.
1.4. Avignon’s Museums
The city’s abundance of art history museums, with five separate museums devoted to various eras and styles, is one of the cultural legacies of the Popes’ tenure in Avignon. A museum of fine arts exhibiting artwork from the 16th to the 20th century is the Musée Calvet.
The Louis Vohland Museum features furniture and China from the 18th century. The Lambert Collection, which emphasizes modern and contemporary art, is the most recent acquisition.
1.5. Old City Streets
Aimlessly wandering the streets and discovering hidden gems is one of the nicest ways to pass some time. Discover hidden galleries by ducking into laneways, secluded gardens by passing through historic stone arches, and the best city vistas by ascending stone steps. Stop in and have ice cream to cool off when you see a store you like.
1.6. L’ Île De La Bartheluses Island
Putting distance between Villeneuve-Les-Avignon and the island of Barthelasse. A serene sanctuary within a short distance from the busy city center is ideal for a picnic, a stroll along the river, or a leisurely bike ride.
You may drive or walk across the Édouard Daladier bridge to get there, or you can take the more picturesque route using the free ferry service. Regularly throughout the day, the navette fluviale departs from below the Pont d’Avignon, close to the bottom of the stairs leading to the Rocher des Doms.
1.7. Dine and Wine
Fresh produce is prized in Provence, where local chefs create specialties including nougat, melons, goat cheese, truffles, and olive oil. Famous wine estates Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas are also close to Avignon for wine tastings.
Therefore, you won’t be thirsty or hungry. Go to Les Halles grocery market to stock up on dinner supplies or to pick up picnic materials. They offer fruit, wine, charcuterie, loaves of bread, cheeses, and other delectable Provençal goods.
1.8. Pont Du Gard
While the Pont du Gard is spectacular, it is incredible to realize that it is only a small portion of a system that formerly stretched 50 kilometers and dropped only 17 meters between Uzès and Nîmes.
Additionally, it was produced in under five years. It would be negligent of you not to visit the 275-meter-long, 50-meter-high part created to go over the Gardon River while you are in Avignon. A small Roman history museum with kid-friendly exhibits is located there, along with a movie that explains how this ancient engineering feat was accomplished.
1.9. Place De L’Horloge
The city hall and opera house are located in the central plaza of Avignon. The medieval bell tower in Avignon is what gave the plaza its name, but it can be difficult to find because it is tucked behind the more recent neoclassical city hall structures.
In the summer, the row of restaurants that runs the whole length of Place de l’Horloge is occupied by rows of tables and chairs. There is a carousel for children, and in December, a Christmas market is hosted in front of the municipal hall. But the best time to visit is in July when the OFF theatrical festival hosts free public performances under the plane trees in the square.
1.10. Les Baux De Provence
Small buildings are clustered on steep slopes in this hillside community, dwarfed by enormous limestone rock slabs. The Château des Baux, a ruined fortification constructed in the 900s, is even taller and offers children entertainment with its life-size replicas of siege engines.
In the summer, they have the biggest trebuchet in all of Europe that can launch missiles continuously. Another nearby attraction is the Carrières de Lumières, a multimedia art event in which Chagall’s classic works were projected onto the steep sides of a former quarry in 2016.
2. Other Facts About the Place
- The French department of Vaucluse’s capital, Avignon, is located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region on the banks of the Rhône River.
- Avignon’s historical center has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, and it was one of the European Cities of Culture in 2000.
- Avignon served as the papacy’s seat of government until the Comtat Venaissin’s independence from France in 1791.
- Rue de la république, rhone valley, Vincent Van Gogh is few of the other beautiful locations to capture in Avignon.
- Book far in advance because June to September are the busiest months, particularly July when the Avignon festival is held. It may get rather hot in July, and average summer highs range from 26 to 32 °C (79 to 89 °F), with sporadic thunderstorms.
- With highs of 20-24°C, spring is a mild and dry season that is ideal for sightseeing.
- The same applies to autumnal temperatures. However, September and October have the highest rainfall totals.
- With average highs of 11°C and lows of 2°C, winter is a rather dry season. However, the Mistral, a chilly, dry breeze from the north or northwest that is most prevalent in winter and has the power to drastically lower temperatures, impacts the Rhone Valley.
3. Wrapping Up
These are some of the things you can consider doing when in Avignon. Make sure to leave your valuable comment in the comment section below.