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Avignon city breaks

The gloriously honey-coloured walled city of Avignon is known for its magnificent Palais des Papes, the largest Gothic palace in Europe as well as the famous stone bridge, Pont Saint-Bénézet, which features in the French song ‘sur le pont d’Avignon’. Don’t be surprised if you can’t cross the Rhone on the bridge – it actually only goes half-way across - but there’s plenty of space for dancing if you want to re-enact the song.

Avignon is home to an outstanding historical and cultural heritage. A city of art, Avignon was the capital of Christianity in the 14th century, when the Popes lived here – explaining the Pope’s Palace and the many chapels and churches. Visiting the town is an absolute must do, but it’s also a great base for exploring the region around it and discovering the beauty of Provence. Find out what all the fuss is about and why so many artists chose to come here to paint.

 

What to do, see and eat in Avignon

 

    • Take a stroll in the city

      Avignon’s beautifully preserved buildings, lit by the bright Provençal sun, give the city the feel of a living theatre set. Architecture from the Middle Ages gives way to graceful 18th century city mansions with Baroque and Italian influences.

    • A taste of Provence

      The holy trinity of food in Provence is tomato, garlic and olives, and most local dishes will include at least two of them, if not all three. Throw in some freshly-baked baguette, warm from the oven, tangy fresh goat’s cheese and a bottle of local red or rosé and you have everything you need for a delicious picnic.

    • City of culture

      The Festival d'Avignon is one of the oldest and most famous theatre festivals in the world. In fact there are two festivals. The fringe festival Avignon Off turns the city of Avignon into a huge stage for most of July and allows you to discover the biggest theatre scene in the world with its 1000 companies and over 1200 plays a day of every kind of live performances.

Where to stay

    • Best for luxury and romance

      The ultra-romantic, 5-star La Mirande hotel is right in the centre of Avignon with superb views of the Palais des Papes from nearly every room.

      Foodies can enjoy the gourmet restaurant for more formal dining or share the large table in the old kitchen, for a more relaxed and sociable experience. 

    • Best for a quiet retreat in the town

      The 4-star Cloitre Saint-Louis hotel was originally a Jesuit seminary and oozes atmosphere with its cloistered restaurant and central courtyard..

      The medieval building is centrally located for sightseeing but, if you fancy a quiet day, the rooftop pool with stunning views over Avignon and secret walled garden are perfect for relaxing with a book in the shade.

    • Best base for sightseeing in the area

      The 3-star Best Western Plus Le Lavarin, sits just outside the walls of Avignon, perfect if you are renting a car to do some sightseeing in the area as parking is easily available.

      Set in beautiful gardens with a swimming pool, this modern hotel offers all the facilities you’ll need for a relaxing holiday in the sun, with family or as a couple.

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Image credits: © Shutterstock; © Shutterstock; © Eurostar; © Shutterstock; © Eurostar; © La Mirande; © Cloitre Saint Louis Hotel; © Best Western Hotels; © Shutterstock; © Eurostar; © Shutterstock; © Grégoire Bernardi; © S. Hughes; © R. Cintas-Flores/Bouches-du-Rhône Tourisme