tips on what to do in Avignon

 

 

In the 14th century Avignon was the most important city in Europe. The seat of the Catholic church for a 68 year period, it was the home of the papacy, represented by the spectacular Palais des Papes, the largest gothic building in the world. Here are a few tips on what to do, and where to stay when you visit Avignon.

 

 

Even though I’m not sure when our travels will be back to normal, all of us can travel virtually, and plan, non? Avignon is a charming town brimming with history and stories to share. The 1300’s left Avignon with a gorgeous collection of gothic and renaissance buildings that are protected as a UNESCO site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The narrow streets and charming homes decorated with pastel painted shutters will charm you so much you will want to come back again and again!

 

 

Here are some of my best tips on what to do, and where to stay when you visit Avignon.  {The area is so beautiful, you won’t really need any help deciding what to see and where to go!}

 

 

BEST THINGS TO VISIT:

 

1. VISIT THE PALAIS DES PAPES

 

 

A must see when visiting Avignon, the fortress and palace is so large, you can’t really imagine the scale of it until you are there. Four gothic cathedrals could fit in the structure. There are 24 rooms you can visit on the tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I suggest you buy the “audio” tour for the full details, it’s a mesmerizing walk through history.

 

 

 

 

Later in the day is a quieter time to visit. Be sure to pause in the papal apartments, the walls are decorated with frescoes painted 700 years ago by the gothic artist Matteo Giovanetti.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. SEE THE ART IN MUSEE DU PETIT PALAIS.

 

 

A smaller renaissance palace, which the Popes lived in before the larger Palais was completed.  On the north side of the squire at the Palais des Papes, it looks like a fortress.   It’s barely changed since the beginning of the 1500’s, when Pope Julius II added his coat of arms to the facade above the entrance.

 

 

 

What to do in Avignon

 

 

The Petit Palais is home to  exceptional artworks commissioned for churches around Avignon, from the 14th century and up.

 

 

There are 327 paintings and 600 sculptures by Italian and French artists from the gothic and renaissance periods.

 

 

Annunciation Sano Di Pietro

 

Madonna in Blue Botticelli

 

Madonna

 

 

 

3. WALK ON THE PONT SAINT-BÉNÉZET.

 

 

Commonly known as the  Pont d’Avignon, this  bridge dates to the late 12th century.  Originally it had 22 arches, sadly today only four are left.  The bridge, when it was built, had the sensational length of 915 meters long, a stunning feat at that time. Damaged over the centuries, the gatehouse also remains along with the four arches.

 

 

You will need to buy a ticket to walk on the bridge.

 

 

 

what to do in avignon

 

 

 

 

The Avignon bridge is famous by the song Sur Le Pont, a children’s favorite song.

 

Sur le Pont d’Avignon
L’on y danse, l’on y danse
Sur le Pont d’Avignon
L’on y danse tous en rond.

On the bridge of Avignon
We’re all dancing, we’re all dancing
On the bridge of Avignon
We’re all dancing round and round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. VISIT AVIGNON LES HALLES

 

Hiding behind a “green wall” {it artfully hides a parking garage!} is the main marché in Avignon, a fabulous indoor market that offers a gourmet selection of fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, breads, and other delights! Indulge yourself, Avignon is world-renowned for its culinary specialties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I suggest you shop, and buy bread, wine, cheese and fruit for a picnic lunch somewhere outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHERE TO STAY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LA MIRANDEE:  A former Cardinal’s grand mansion in the center of town, this 5 star boutique hotel is opulent. The suites will take you back to the elegant history of this town with their parquet wood floors, sumptuous wallpaper, crystal chandeliers and elegant beds. The sculpture filled courtyard is the place to enjoy their Michelin star cuisine. It’s very sophisticated and chic!

 

 

They serve afternoon tea, have cooking classes and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOTEL d’EUROPE: The former home of the Marquis de Graveson, it was built in 1580 and has a rich history.  It is such a  grand old hotel, sweetly tucked away on a quiet square. The decor is tres elegant, the restaurant has a Michelin star and again, you are literally a few meters away from the Palais des Papes.

 

 

 

where to stay avignon

 

 

 

HOTEL L’HORLOGE : Charming and unassuming, it’s a comfortable hotel and close to all of Avignon’s attractions. The elegant 19th century Provençal building sits on the main square in Avignon and has fantastic views of the picturesque town center.

 

There is so much to see and do in Avignon, you will definitely want to add this charming place to your “must see” list for the future!

 

FLEA MARKET:

Some Tuesdays, there is a small gathering of flea-market dealers that sell a few things from tables set up in front of Les Halles.  The nearby town of VILLENEUVE-LÈS-AVIGNON has a well-known and loved flea market on Saturdays from 6 am {which is really early for French fleas!} to 3.  It’s close by and worth a visit for those of you who love shopping for French antiques!

 

 

 

 

 

A BIENTOT

 

 

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