Avignon is one of the most fascinating and historic towns in France, and is a vibrant place that is bursting with history and culture. It boasts a large number of historic monuments, including the magnificent Palais des Papes and the famous bridge, the Pont Saint-Bénézet.
In addition to its grand architecture and monuments that transport visitors back to the past, it has some fantastic art museums and gorgeous squares to discover. As well as all the history it also has a lively, modern feel with lots of great shops, bars and restaurants.
There are the top 10 things to do in Avignon :
10) Avignon Cathedral :
Avignon Cathedral is a beautiful Roman Catholic Church located next to the Palais des Papes. The cathedral is a Romanesque building, constructed primarily in the second half of the 12th century.
Visitors can admire its iconic bell tower, which is capped with a golden statue of the Virgin Mary on top of the spire. Inside the church there are the tombs of the Avignon popes and heavy arches lead to the beautiful side chapels.
9) Palais des Papes :
The Palace of the Popes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was built to accommodate the Popes who came to Avignon from Rome, leading the city to adopt the name ‘The City of Popes.’ One of the largest Gothic palaces in the world it was built in the 14th century and towers over the town of Avignon.
Visitors can explore the majestic halls and chapels, learn all about the life and work of the nine popes who called the palace home and marvel at priceless murals and frescoes which use innovative techniques to tell timeless stories.
8) Carthusian Monastery of Avignon :
The Carthusian monastery of Val de Bénédiction, located in Avignon is an exceptional medieval site and classified as an ancient monument. Built in the 14th century by Pope Innocent VI, it was the largest French Carthusian monastery during the Middle Ages.
The site includes the church, the Cardinal Palace, three cloisters surrounded by 40 monks cells, the chapel and lovely gardens. During the Revolution, the monastery suffered terrible damage but it has since been restored and visitors can wander around or take a guided tour.
7) Pont d’Avignon, St Bénézet’s Bridge :
St Bénézet’s Bridge, is one of Avignon’s most iconic sites, though to call it a bridge may be slightly inaccurate as much of it was washed away in the 17th century. Built in 1185, originally there were 22 arches, of which only four remain today.
Visitors can learn all about the bridge’s development and construction in the exhibition space, then see the chapel dedicated to its legendary founder, St. Bénézet. A walk along what remains of this vital crossing point, which still stretches around 200 meters onto the water, gives unbeatable views of the Rhône and Avignon.
6) The Church of St Pierre :
The Church of St Pierre is located right in the centre of Avignon, in a cobbled square that bears the same name, the Place Saint-Pierre, and a stone’s throw from the Palace of the Popes. St Pierre is famous for its elaborate and flamboyant Gothic facade and its solid walnut doors.
Inside the church visitors can see the beautiful gilded choir from the 1700s, renaissance and baroque paintings, as well as the 15th-century relics of Saint-Pierre de Luxembourg, with his actual cardinal’s robes and hat.
5) Barthelasse Island :
Barthelasse is one of the biggest River Islands in France and is situated between the two branches of the Rhône. Many areas are devoted to leisure and relaxation, including a skate park, a soccer field, swimming pools, a lake and a children’s recreation centre.
The island is a great place to observe nature with some of the island’s banks home to shrews, badgers and martens and also hawks, grey herons and cormorants. Visitors can use the free boat service or go by car across the Daladier Bridge.
4) The old city of Avignon :
The historic centre of Avignon is still surrounded by ramparts dating from the fourteenth century, and at four kilometres long, they are equipped with seven doors to the city and 39 towers.
Visitors can enjoy walking through the old centre of Avignon and wandering around cobbled stone streets filled with historic buildings.
3) Musée Calvet :
Open to the public for more than 200 years the Calvet Museum was founded after the local doctor and collector Esprit Calvet donated his art, library and cabinet of curiosities to the city of Avignon.
The Calvet Museum today houses works of art from the 16th to 20th century, and holds many collections.
2) Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct) :
One of the most visited ancient monuments in France and a listed world heritage site by Unesco, the Pont du Gard is located near Nîmes, Uzés and Avignon. This magnificent site served as an aqueduct until the 6th century before becoming a tollgate in the Middle Ages and finally a road bridge from the 18th to 20th century.
The Museum of the Pont du Gard, retraces the history of the aqueduct’s construction and its contribution to the way of life during the Roman Era.
1) Le Rocher des Doms :
A gentle five-minute stroll up a small hill and not far from the Pont d’Avignon are the lovely gardens of the Rocher des Doms, an oasis of greenery overlooking the Rhône.
Constructed in 1830, the garden is a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll and offers breath taking panoramic views of the region. It is also the location of a number of interesting fountains and sculptures.
So that sums up our top 10 things to do in Avignon, we hope you enjoyed