Travel Guide: Avignon
In the heart of Provence you will find the lovely city of Avignon. For most of the 1300s, Avignon was the center of the Roman Catholic world, which left behind beautiful architecture overlooking the Rhone River. If you find yourself in Avignon, stay a day or two and experience the culture and beauty for yourself!
What to See
Palais de Papes
The largest Gothic palace ever built, Palais des Papes is one of the most popular tourist’s sites in the city. This palace served as the seat of papal power for seven decades and resembles true Roman Catholic architecture. Take a tour inside to discover 14th century chapel frescos, serpentine corridors and other ornate designs.
This medieval bridge was built by Pastor Benezet in 1185 and reached 900m-long with 20 arches. Pont Saint-Benezet linked Avignon to Villeneuve les Avignon. The bridge was destroyed 40 years later and despite attempts to rebuild, was abandoned in the 17th century. Four arches remain and can be best viewed from Rocher des Doms, a public garden on a hillside 30m above the Rhone.
What to Eat
Besides the famous architecture, Avignon is known for its culinary gems. Explore the cobblestone streets and you will find many excellent restaurants and cafes. The Restaurant L’Essentiel is one of the finest places to eat in town. Located in an elegant hotel, you won’t be disappointed. Another favorite is Christian Etienne, which occupies a 12th century palace with an outdoor terrace adjacent to Palais de Papes.
What to Do
Site seeing and wandering the neighborhoods could easily fill your whole day, but there is so much more to do in the Avignon area. The annual Festival d’Avignon is one of the greatest performing arts festivals in the world. Lasting 3 weeks in July, this festival features over 40 international works of dance and drama at venues around town.
Take a day trip outside of town into the Luberon countryside to the village of Gordes. Located 40km east of Avignon, you will find the Bastide de Gordes, a gorgeous hotel and Michelin star restaurant with views of rolling vineyards and stone farmhouses. You will never want to leave.