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Cavaillon

• Vaucluse (84300)   • Population: 24,563  • Altitude: 75 m


Gallery of 21 photos for Cavaillon

Cavaillon is a market town of 23,000 people, besid the Durance river between Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. It's on the rich farming plains at the west end of the Vaucluse mountains, and at the base of the steep St-Jacques cliff where the picturesque St-Jacques chapel overlooks the town. • Market day Mon.

picsmaps/cavaillon-map001bb400.jpg There are only a few purely tourist sites in Cavaillon, including the Roman Arc d'Triomphe, the St-Véran Cathedral, the 14th-century Porte d'Avignon, and the picturesque St-Jacques chapel on the hilltop overlooking the town. The old center of Cavaillon is compact enough that you could visit all these sites in a half-day.

There is a walking tour through Vieux Cavaillon, although no map or guide is available; just follow the signs "Circuit du Vieux Cavaillon" around the town. Cavaillon's tourist office isn't very helpful (2019); it's no longer a communal function and has been outsourced to a private company that seems to value self-efficiency. It is easy to find, though, located in a large building at the base of the St-Jacques cliffs, and with the Arc d'Triomphe just in front

St Jacques chapel on top of Cavaillon is named after the Cavares, a Gaulois people who lived on the St-Jacques hill in pre-Roman times. In the Roman period, the town was called Cabellio or Pagus Cavellius, and the Roman Domitienne Way (Voie Domitienne) came through here, actually passing through the pair of arches, arc de triomphe.

A hike up to the at the top isn't very far. It took us only 20 minutes, with many stops along the way to enjoy the view. There are a lot of steps, though, carved out of the solid rock hillside in the 16th century. The steps to the top begin just beside the tourist office. The view from the top does make the trip up worth it. You can wander along the top ridge, see the 11th-century Hermitage-Chapelle St. Jacques, enjoy the views in different directions and check out the via viata adventure site. St Jacques chapel itself is only open for visiting during July-August, all week except tuesdays, from 15h00-16h30 (3 PM to 4.30 PM).

Arched town gate is the 14th The town of Cavaillon isn't really a tourist site, and so seems rather calm during most of the week. Monday market day is a good time to visit, as this is a serious market town, and you'll find a lot of activity then. The plains of Cavaillon are well know for the orchards of cherries, apples and pears, and most famously for the Cavaillon melons.

The season for the famous Cavaillon melons is from mid-June until September, and the town is busy with melon markets during this time. On the weekend preceding 14-July Bastille Day, Cavaillon hosts a melon festival, with a host of events, including a float parade. The Cavaillon melon became famous in the 19th century, and the town market for the melon and other fruits and vegetables grew to an enormous size, and reputation. Today the Cavaillon monday market extends along the Place du Close and the Cours Bournissac. In addition to the Monday market, there's a Thursday-evening market at Place du Clos from April to mid-October (17h-19h).

Brocant markets are often held on the Place Philippe de Cabassole in Vieux Cavaillon.

Cloisters on an inner courtyard of Cavaillon's St-Véran Cathedral was built in the 11th century. It began as a pair of adjacent churches and was modified and integrated into a cathedral over the next century.

The dreary looking front entrance is at Place Joseph d'Arbaud, but the cathedral has an impressive interior and a magnificent double organ, that was being played while we were there on our most recent visit (2019). Between pieces, the organist explained to us a bit about the double organ. The sets of pipes on the two sides could be played independently from the same keyboard she was at, or both could be played together. Inside, find your way through ancient dark doors though the side of the cathedral to discover a lovely little cloister. This cloister is small, but intact on all four sides.

There are some pedestrian streets in the old part of town (Vieux Cavaillon), along side the Cours Bournissac. If you walk up some of the streets going off the Cours Gambetta, such as the Rue Pomme d'Or, you can see the 12th-century Canal St Julien still carrying water through the center of the town.

A street in Vieux Cavaillon with At the Place J. Guis are some buildings in soft Provençal colors, and several of the windows aren't windows, but nicely painted trompe l'oeils. Up the nearby Rue Raspail is a magnificent cheese shop with some great varieties of goat cheese (fromage de chèvre). Along the same street we found another amusing trompe l'oeil: one of the persons is actually real.

Reader's Comments

These comments were contributed by Candace Andrews, 12 Mar 1999:
... my mother and I "discovered" Cavaillon last June. We enjoyed three nights at the delightful Hotel du Parc and a delicious meal at Le Cours (the pizzeria you recommend). We found other charming eateries...and recommend Cote Jardin. We travel on limited budgets so this was a bit of a splurge for us. The Cavaillon melons are THE best anywhere! Other Provencal favorites: the Roman ruins at Glanum and Atelier des Cendres at Oppede Le Vieux (probably the next Les Baux!).

History of Cavaillon

Prehistoric: Cave dwellings in the Baume des Enfers and the large grotto of Vidauque.

Celto-Ligurian: Artifacts of several Ligurian and Gaulois settlements, including the Celtic-Ligurian

Gallo-Roman: An established pre-Roman town, continued and expanded by the Romans. Some of the artifacts include statues and a small 1st-century Arc de Triomphe. The Roman road Domitienne Way (Voie Domitienne) passed through two arches that still stand.

Medieval: Cavaillon belonged to the Kingdom of Arles and the Marquis de Provence. The town was ruled by bishops, including St. Veranus in the 6th century and Philippe de Cabassole in the 14th century. In the 12th century, Cavaillon was involved in the Albigeois crusades.

Hiking

• GPS: 43.829974, 5.03407

Maps

IGN (1/25,000) #3142 OT "Cavaillon, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse"

IGN (1/25,000) #3042 est "Noves"

The GR6 Hiking Trail passes through Robion, about 6 km east of Cavaillon, for some great hiking into the Luberon mountains.

West, just across the Durance river at the village of Orgon, there's a nice half-day loop hike in the wooded hills from the Notre Dame de Beauregard.

Sports

Cycling
The Luberon en Vélo cycling path runs 100 km between Cavaillon, Apt and Forcalquier.

Swimming Pools (Piscines)
Piscine Alphonse Roudier, covered (couvert); Open: all year
Piscine de Plein Air (open air); Open: end May to mid Sept

Transportation Cavaillon

Avignon - Apt - La Brillane Bus

  • Bus line 22A (Avignon - La Brillane - Digne) has two parts:
    (1) Avignon, Cavaillon, Apt, Forcalquier, La Brillanne;
    (2) La Brillanne, Chateau-Arnoux, Digne-les-Bains.
     
    On the LER-PACA webpage, click on the Lignes & horaires for a list of the bus-line schedules.
    Click on Ligne 22 : Avignon - La Brillanne - Digne-les-Bains for the PDF schedule.
     
    The complete route for part-1 is: Avignon, Caumont, Cavaillon, Robion, Coustellet, Lumières, Apt, St Martin-de-Castillon, Cereste, Reillanne, Les Granons, St Michel l'Observatoire, Mane, Forcalquier, Niozelles La Brillanne, Oraison.

Avignon, Cavaillon Bus 7

  • Bus line 7, (Avignon - Cavaillon. Several buses a day; takes about 40 minutes between the center of Avignon (gare routière), Caumont-sur-Durance and the center of Cavaillon (gare routière). Three of the scheduled buses serve the Avignon TGV station.
    A Cavaillon - Aix-en-Provence bus line can be used for a one-stop trip between Avignon and Aix-en-Provence.

Carpentras - Cavaillon Bus

  • Bus line 13.1, Carpentras - Cavaillon. - Carpentras, Pernes-les-Fontaines, Velleron, Le Thor, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Cavaillon.

Cavaillon - Bonnieux - Apt Bus 15.2

  • Vaucluse bus line 15.2 serves the towns and villages: Cavaillon, Les Taillades, Robion, Coustellet, Maubec, Oppède, Ménerbes, Les Beaumettes, Goult, Lacoste, Bonnieux, Gargas, Apt.
    The trip between Cavaillon and Apt is about 1h45.
    Cavaillon has links to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.
     
    See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 02: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map and schedules (link for PDF files).

Cavaillon - Gordes - Roussillon Bus 15.3

  • Vaucluse bus line 15.3 connects Cavaillon, Robion, Coustellet, Cabrières-d'Avignon, Gordes and Roussillon.
    At Coustellet, this line connects with Line 15.1 (Avignon - Apt).
    At Cavaillon, this line connects with Line 7 (Avignon - Cavaillon).
     
    See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 02: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map and schedules (link for PDF files).

Department 84, Vaucluse Buses

  • See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 2: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map [Plan global des lignes] and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).
    • Avignon has train or bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Nîmes, Saint Remy-de-Provence, Paris.
    • Cavaillon has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Saint Remy-de-Provence.
    • Pertuis has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.

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