Discover Avignon, Exploring the Ancient City in Southern France

The historic city of Avignon in the south of France is known for its abundance of cultural attractions, diverse cuisine, and beautiful architecture. The city, situated on the banks of the Rhône, is full of grand medieval and Renaissance buildings and a stunning cityscape. During the summer, the city lights up with music, art, and theater performances during the international-renowned Avignon Festival. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, an adventurous holiday, or just a day-trip to take in the history and culture of Avignon, it is worth exploring.

History and Culture of Avignon

Avignon has an immense history and passionate culture that is still visible in the city today. It is believed to have been inhabited since the Neolithic period and was a significant cultural center during the Roman period. It was also the seat of the papacy from 1309 to 1377 during the Avignon Papacy. Avignon offers an abundance of monuments, historic sites, and art galleries that attract visitors from all over the world.

What to See and Do in Avignon

Avignon has something for everyone and is a great destination for both children and adults alike. Here are some of the main attractions to explore in Avignon:

• Palais des Papes – The iconic 14th-century Palace of the Popes is the most visited destination in Avignon. Home to 8 papal residences, the stone building overlooks the Rhône and is renowned for its grandiose bell towers, magnificent wall paintings and fountains.

• Pont d’Avignon – The beautiful 12th-century bridge from the Middle Ages, with its nine arches is a popular attraction for visitors and locals. The bridge goes across the Rhône, leading to St-Bénézet island and is a symbol of the history and culture of Avignon.

• Place de l’Horloge – Right in the heart of Avignon, the Place de l’Horloge is a stunning square lined with numerous cafés, restaurants, shops and galleries. The 16th-century watchtower and the Fountain of the Popes are two of the most iconic sites to visit in the Place de l’Horloge.

• Rocher des Doms – A picturesque park in the old city of Avignon, the Rocher des Doms offers stunning views of the Rhône and the Palais des Papes.

• Cathedrale Notre Dame des Doms – An immense 12th-century Gothic cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary located on the hill of the Doms, the Cathedrale Notre Dame des Doms is one of the main attractions in Avignon.

• Cathédrale Saint-Pierre d’Avignon – An impressive gothic structure, this 14th-century cathedral offers visitors unique architectural styles of both English and French Gothic. There’s also a fascinating museum next to the cathedral, which is dedicated to the history of the popes that lived in Avignon.

•Luberon National Park – Avignon is nestled between the Luberon National Park and the Mont Ventoux. It’s the ideal destination to explore the spectacular nature of Provence and enjoy activities such as hiking, rock-climbing and horse-riding.

Restaurants and Food

Avignon’s cuisine is based mainly on local ingredients and its traditional dishes include beef daube, a stew of beef braised in red wine, and its renowned goat cheese is one of its specialties. Avignon also offers a wide array of restaurants ranging from traditional Provencal eateries to Michelin-starred establishments. Here are some of the best places to eat out in Avignon:

• Bistro La Haven – A chic bistro with an ever-changing menu of traditional and modern dishes featuring fresh local ingredients.

• Le Poêlon – A cozy restaurant serving up classic provincial cuisine in a casual setting.

• Le Petit Marseillais – A popular bistro offering classic Provencal dishes such as fishes, tapas, and a variety of regional dishes.

• Le Gastronome – A modern restaurant with a menu of regional and classic French dishes.

• Le Clos des Lauriers – Located in the centre of Avignon, this restaurant serves traditional French dishes with fresh regional ingredients.

• Le Potager de Calypso – A Michelin-starred restaurant serving traditional French dishes in an elegant yet relaxed setting.

Shopping in Avignon

Avignon is also famous for its artisanal and handmade goods and souvenirs. Some of the most popular items include truffles, honey, lavender products, chocolates, and wines. Many of the city’s galleries, boutiques, and markets are lined throughout the pedestrianized area, particularly around Rue de l’Horloge and Rue Joseph Vernet. Some of the best shops to visit in Avignon include:

• Atelier du Tableau – An arts and crafts boutique that sells unique handmade items, ranging from pottery and ceramics to jewelry and paintings.

• Au Nom des Coquelicots – A boutique selling textiles and home decor items, including colorful bed linen, tablecloths and cushions.

• Cahouète – A shop selling items made from local wood, including handmade woodwork, sculptures, and furniture.

• Chocolats des Papes – An artisan chocolatier selling handmade chocolates and other confectionery items.

• Marché Couvert – An indoor, covered market where you can find a great selection of fresh and seasonal food items.

Explore Avignon

Avignon is an ideal destination for a romantic getaway, a cultural trip, or a leisurely stroll in one of Europe’s most stunning cities. It will ignite your creativity with its abundance of art galleries, bustling markets, artisanal goods and a mesmerizing array of historical attractions. Whether you’re an adventurer, culture enthusiast, or food lover, there’s something in Avignon for everyone.