5 ISSUES FOR £5 Subscribe to France Magazines today click here

This is why you should visit Avignon this summer

PUBLISHED: 16:43 13 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:43 13 April 2017

The grand Palais des Papes dominates the skyline in Avignon © Jean-Marc Rosier CC BY-SA 3.0

The grand Palais des Papes dominates the skyline in Avignon © Jean-Marc Rosier CC BY-SA 3.0

Archant

From the spectacular, 14th-century papal palace to the renowned performing-arts festival, there is plenty to see and do in Avignon in the south of France

The Palais des Papes

Set at the heart of Avignon’s old town, the 14th-century Palais des Papes was built to house the Catholic Church when Pope Clement V relocated here to escape the chaos which was erupting in Rome. This mighty, 700-year-old structure is considered one of the most important Gothic buildings in Europe, and together with the ramparts and the Petit Palais museum, forms part of a stunning architectural ensemble. A visit to the palace - which was once home to 9 popes - enables you to view the ornately frescoed papal apartments, along with their places of worship and impressive stone halls.

Le Festival d’Avignon

Founded in 1947 by Jean Villar, Avignon Festival is an annual performing arts festival which transforms the city into a live theatre every July. The festival, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year and will take place from 6 - 24 July, welcomes people from different walks of life and generations to create performances which are both avant-garde and imbued with tradition. More than forty different plays are performed in over twenty magical venues across the city, ranging from small chapels to the 2000-seater Cour d’honneur in the Palais des Papes.

The Pont d'Avignon stops half way across the River Rhône The Pont d'Avignon stops half way across the River Rhône

Sur le Pont d’Avignon

Avignon’s famous bridge is immortalised in song thanks to the famous children’s nursery rhyme. Completed in 1185, the Pont Saint-Bénezet, as it is officially known, was said to be named after a local pastor who had saintly visions urging him to construct a bridge across the Rhône. The bridge measured 900 metres long with 20 arches and linked Avignon with neighbouring Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. Today, the bridge no longer spans the whole of the Rhône as all but four of its spans were washed away in the 17th century following centuries of ongoing construction work. Venture out across the remains of the bridge and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views over Avignon’s old town and beyond.

The Rocher des Doms

Set 30 metres above the mighty Rhône, this English-style public garden is a popular spot for both Avignonais and tourists to relax or go for a promenade. The garden, which you [can] reach by steps leading from the Notre Dame des Doms or from the banks of the Rhône, was laid out in 1830 and conserves a reservoir which once supplied water to the city. There are also a number of water pools featuring statues of famous names, with the Vénus aux Hirondelles designed by Félix Charpentier proving a particular favourite. This spot is particularly popular in the summer months when the park café opens its terrace from where you can enjoy stunning views over the Rhône and beyond with a cool drink in hand.

The Paplines d'Avignon are a welcome sugary treat © Marianne Casamance CC BY-SA 3.0 The Paplines d'Avignon are a welcome sugary treat © Marianne Casamance CC BY-SA 3.0

Papelines d’Avignon

Created in 1960, the Papaline d’Avignon is a small thistle-shaped chocolate truffle filled with the plant based liqueur d’origan du Comtat. This popular confection was named in honour of the many Popes of Avignon and is hard to come by as it is only made by the Maîtres Pâtissiers of Vaucluse. This popular treat is made from sixty different plants picked on Mont Ventoux, with Provençal honey added to make it just that bit sweeter.

The River Rhône

At the bottom of Avignon’s old town lies the River Rhône, which offers splendid views over the city from the boat deck. Thanks to repairs to the riverbed, it’s now really easy to access the water and embark on a memorable fluvial cruise. Options range from the traditional food and wine itineraries to more contemporary choices which even include a live DJ cruise.

It’s really easy to get to

During the summer you can hop on a Eurostar in London and be in Avignon in just under 5 hours without having to change. Plus you get to watch the beautiful French countryside as you speed on down south. And you miss the traffic jams!

Enjoy this? You might also like:

15 of the most beautiful coastal villages in France

France looks absolutely beautiful in spring

French museums that fashion-lovers should visit

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Complete France visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Complete France staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Complete France account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Article by France Magazine France Magazine

More from Travel

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Soothe aches and pains and take in beautiful architecure with a visit to these spa towns renowned for their thermal waters

Read more
Short breaks
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Escape the summer heat with a visit to the French mountains, where you can do everything from hiking to shopping.

Read more
Activity holidays
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Looking for a new route for your next cycling holiday to France? On the ‘Trail of Two Cities’ route you can cycle from London to Paris and discover many beautiful towns and villages along the way

Read more
Cycling in France
Saturday, May 19, 2018

Fancy something a little different during your next trip to France? Visit one of France’s many weird and wonderful museums

Read more
Culture and attractions
Friday, May 18, 2018

Home to lavender fields, ochre stone, olive groves and bountiful vineyards, Provence is a feast for all senses and its charming villages are a concentrated dose of Provençal art de vivre. Here are 21 villages of Provence you should visit

Read more
Provence-Alpes-Cote d Azur
Thursday, May 17, 2018

The excellence of the French railway network isn’t only down to the TGV. You can slow things down and hop on a slower train to enjoy breathtaking scenery that no high-speed train, car or bike can reach. Bon voyage!

Read more
Exploring France by train
Thursday, May 17, 2018

Discover the 25 shortlisted regional French markets and find out which market won the Votre Plus Beau Marché competition in France

Read more
Culture and attractions
Friday, April 27, 2018

There’s no shortage of picturesque French villages to visit but where do you start? We’ve selected some of our favourite villages from across France to help you decide which ones to explore first

Read more
Short breaks
Friday, April 27, 2018

Discover the route of the 2018 Tour de France, the best places to cheer on the peloton and the history of the world’s most famous cycle race

Read more
Cycling in France
Friday, April 27, 2018

The Dordogne Valley is home to an enchanting mix of picture-perfect villages that have retained their French countryside charm. Here are 10 places that you should not miss

Read more
Aquitaine
Subscribe today

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now