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.
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.
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.
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.