Gard (30400) Population: 12,266 Altitude: 25 m
Villeneuve-lès-Avignon is a small town on the west side of the Rhône, just across the river from Avignon. In the heart of the old town is a nice village square with terrace cafés, small shops, and some amazing sights to visit. Market day Sat, Thur.
Villeneuve-lès-Avignon center has a few old streets, especially the Montée du Fort between the main square, Place Jean Jaurès and the chateau fortress at the top of the hill.
Sights to see in the town are the Fort Saint-André on the hilltop, Abbaye Saint-André inside the fort, Chartreuse Val de Bénédiction, Pierre-de-Luxembourg museum, Notre-Dame church and cloister, and Philippe le Bel Tower.
Chartreuse Val de Bénédiction
The Chartreuse du Val de Bénédiction is a 14th-century Carthusian Monastery located in the center of the village of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. The entrance to the Chartreuse is an innocuous doorway on the main stret, Rue de la République.
Once you enter insisde, though, you're presented with monks' cells, a chapel, a damaged church, cloisters and gardens — almost like stepping through a time portal.
Chartreuse du Val de Bénédiction, founded by Pope Innocent VI, was the biggest Carthusian Monastery in France. (see Avignon Popes)
The small hill the edge of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon town center, called Mount Andaon, has a clear view of Avignon across the Rhône. Also, the river once flowed directly against the side of the hill.
The Benedictine Abbey Saint-André was built on the hilltop near the end of the 10th century.
In the 12th century King Philippe the Fair (see Kings of France) founded the town of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon and built the Saint-André Fort on the hilltop, with the fort's shield wall surrounding the Abbey.
Both the Fort and the Abbey gardens are open for (paid) visits. Even without a visit, the short walk from town up to the fort provides great views back across the town and across the Rhône.
Notre-Dame Collegial Church
The Eglise Collégiale Notre-Dame was built in the 14th century, by the nephew of Pope Jean XXII, and used as the chapel of the Chanoine monastery.
The monastery was closed down during the French Revolution, and the church became the parish church of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.
Notre-Dame Collegial Church interior and its cloister are open for visits.
Market day: Sat, Thur. Thur main market, Sat Flea market - parking area Ave Charles de Gaulle
• GPS: 43.96341, 4.796959
IGN (1/25,000) #3041 OT "Avignon"
Department 30, Gard Buses
- See Beyond's Gard Department Bus Schedules for Gard bus-lines maps and bus-line schedules (Horaires).
Maps (Plans) for the Gard bus lines are on the www.edgard.fr website, with a flash webpage for each of five zones around Nîmes (www.edgard-transport.fr/plan/?rub_code=5).
Schedules for the Gard bus lines are available via the www.edgard.fr website horaires page (www.edgard-transport.fr/horaires/?rub_code=23).
- The modern Avignon TGV station, just south of Avignon, is 7 km (12 min drive) from the center of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.
- The Avignon central station (Gare SNCF) is at the south edge of Avignon town center, and is 4 km (7 min drive) from Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.