Avignon photo avignon059s.jpg (7 k) Avignon is definitely not a town to stay in if you're interested in sightseeing the surrounding countryside and don't have much time. Once in Avignon, you won't want to leave, and the town is too interesting to let you go.
 
Avignon is ancient, full of history, life, youth, art, music and activity. Just to "see" the town itself, you could wander the narrow streets inside the fortified walls for days without tiring of them. Avignon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

location map for Avignon area map
Dept: Vaucluse (84)

Also:  | Avignon Museums | Transportation | Avignon Popes | Itineraries | World Heritage |

Nearby: | Aix-en-Provence 82 km (1h10) | Apt 40 km | Aramon 15 km | Arles 36 km | Cavaillon 24 km | Chateauneuf-du-Pape 18 km | Châteaurenard 5 km | Fontaine-de-Vaucluse 30 km | L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue 23 km | Lourmarin 55 km | Marseille 95 km (1h15) | Monteux 20 km | Montfavet 5 km | Nice, France 254 km (2h45) | Nîmes 44 km | Orange 31 km | Le Pontet 5 km | Tarascon 23 km |

One of the pedestrian shopping streets A great shopping area, with pedestrian streets without automobiles (not always the case in France), and loads of shops of all kinds. Southeast of the Place de l'Horloge: rue des Marchands, rue Rouge and adjoining streets are full of clothing and other shops.

Book market on the Cours Jean Jaures, just inside the wall in front of the train station.

Places (Squares)

There are a lot of old and picturesque squared dotted throughout the old town of Avignon. These range from the wide and open Place de l'Horloge and Place du Palais to small, isolated squares, some just a short, tree-lined street.

Place de l'Horloge

Place de l'Horloge, Carousel in Avignon This is the long square in front of the Hotel de Ville, with terrace cafés along both sides and the "Belle Epoque" carrousel at the top end. During the summer this square is packed with people and activity. Both of the streets at the top end of the Place d'Horloge lead to the Place du Palais and the Palace of the Popes.

Avignon town hall clock tower with The first public clock was built on the town hall's clocktower in 1471, with a Clockwork Jacquemard at the top to ring the bell. The original jacquemards are on display in the Calvet Museum (Avignon Museums).
 
The Place de l'Horloge was the Forum of Avenio, the early Roman town in the 1st century BC. This was also the center of Medieval Avignon, and narrow streets radiated out from here to the different 12th and 13th century portes in the town fortifications.

Place du Palais

The Avignon Popes Palace, right side The large square in front of the Palais des Papes is easy to find, and an entertaining place to wait. It's a very large, open square, often with street entertainers.

During the 14th century this square was much smaller, with the houses pressing up close to the Popes' Palace. In 1404, Benoit XIII had the houses razed and the twisty little streets cleared out, fearing a second siege of his palace and wanting a clear field of fire.

Place de la Pignotte

Chapelle de la Visitation at the This is actually a shady, tree-lined street, an eastern extension of Rue Saint Jean le Vieux. At the end of the street is the 17th-century Baroque Chapelle de la Visitation, built in 1631-1638. The place is named after La Pignotte, a building founded in 1316 by Pope Jean XXII to furnish food and clothing for the needy. At number 5 is the Hotel Achard, a hotel particulier built in 1760.

Festival d'Avignon

The festival of Dance, Music and Theatre was founded in 1947 by the actor and director Jean Vilar. (The 1996 festival was the 50th.)

The events occur all over town, often staged at historical monuments and in the streets, and with close audience rapport. This is now an international festival, with people from all over France, Europe and the rest of the world arranging vacations around the festival dates.

Festival catalog and information - tel: (33) 490 27 66 50; fax: (33) 490 27 66 83

 

Avignon Museums

Avignon Popes


Avignon Transportation

History

Name

First record, in Roman texts from the first century BC: Avenio.
The name Avignon comes from "Avenio" which means "town of violent winds" or "town of the river".

Prehistoric: The Rocher des Doms in the center of Avignon was the site of neolithic habitation.

Celto-Ligurian: Several centuries prior to the Romans, this was a Celtic-Ligurian river port called Cavares.

Gallo-Roman: Avignon was a major Roman town until about the 5th century.

Medieval: Through the medieval period, Avignon has a strong and well-documented history, including the Popes who ruled from here, ecclesiastically and sometimes politically.

Office de Tourisme

Rue de la République

Tel : 0490 82 65 11; Fax: 04 90 82 95 03

Web: www.ot-avignon.fr

Email: information@ot-avignon.fr

Open: Mon-Fri 9h-13h, 14h-18h; Sat: 9h-13h; 14h-17h


Pont d'Avignon
Open: 9h-13h; 14h-17h

Dates


Mar - Semaine de la danse - Spectacles, conférences, stages
Apr - Festival d'Art Baroque en Provence: Avignon, Apt, Cavaillon, Isle sur la Sorgue, Saumane
June - Film Festival "Recontres cinématographiques euro-americaines d'Avignon"
July - FESTIVAL d'AVIGNON - Theater, Dance, Music.
July - Festival Provencal - Palais du Roure", theatre and music in the Provencal language

Markets, Brocantes
Sat, Sun: Marché, Remparts St Michel
Tue: Marché, La Trillade, Monclar, Montfavet
Wed: Marché, St Jean-Monclar
Fri: Marché, Pont des 2 Eaux (3 km east)
Daily except Mon: Marché, Marché des Halles
Sat: Brocante, Place Crillo
Sun: Brocante, Parc Expos
1st Saturday: Cours J-Jaurès; books, records


Tours Avignon

Tours

Tours-France, Provence

The Provence section of Tours-France.com lists tours starting from Avignon. Different tours include sites and themes, such as Avignon, Cassis, Marseille, Camargue, Lavender, Olives.

Entry: Individual rates are in the 55-100 euro range.

Web: tours.france.com/provence.php

Hiking

Maps

IGN (1/25,000) #3041 OT "Avignon"

Sports and Montagne (supplies)

Dining

Avignon is full of restaurants, ranging pretty much from pretty good to great. The most obvious place to start is the Place de l'Horloge, packed with terrace café-restaurants along the sides and, during the summer, down the center of the square. Main advantages of these is that they're handy and they're in the center of the action.

Exploring the town, you'll run across one or two (or more) little restaurants in many of the squares of Avignon. There are too many in the town for us to keep up with (an online site such as TripAdvisor is a good way to find rated restaurants), but we do have some favorites:

Le Bain-Marie

On the narrow Rue Petranale, has excellent dining and a great outdoor terrace; closed Sunday.

L'Essentiel

2 Rue Petite-Fusterie (just off the Rue Saint-Agricol, west of the center) has regional cuisine in a very up-market style. A bit pricy, but really, really good. We take our guests here; closed Sunday.

Maison Nani

Rue Prevot, corner of Place de l'Amirande (beside the L'Ami Voyage), excellent, reasonable priced, very popular with the locals (and others); we tried it following recommendations by customers exiting the restaurant.

L'Ami Voyage

5 Rue Prevot (beside the Maison Nani), the "Libraire Ancienne" in an old book-printers shop, excellent French regional cooking, very reasonable prices, great ambience.

Basilic Citron

4 Rue de la Principale, on the Place de la Principale; outside tables on the square, but we really liked the quiet and intimate ambience inside; food, service and prices all good, of course.

Lodging - Hotels