“Arriving in Avignon in a fine autumn sunset is an admirable thing. Autumn, sunset, and Avignon form three harmonies.” Victor Hugo describing the city to his wife.
Avignon: The Charming City of Popes
Encircled by 4 km of city walls, Avignon became the seat of the Popes in the 14th century. They built the world’s largest Gothic palace there: the Palais des Papes. The town still upholds its former legacy as the second Rome. Every season proffers a packed cultural agenda, including Cheval Passion, Hivernales de la Danse, Son & Lumière au Palais and major exhibitions. The famous Pont Saint-Bénézet, better known as the Pont d’Avignon, offers a marvellous terrace for gazing out over this grandiose city, ranked a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. The bridge’s four remaining arches stand over the Rhône River.
Avignon: The green city
Next to the golden stone of Avignon lies a different, green Avignon, adorned with parks and plane trees. Set behind the Popes’ Palace and Jardin des Doms lies ÎIe de la Barthelasse, France’s largest river island. The locals love hopping on their bikes to buy farm-grown tomatoes there or party at the traditional guinguette street dances, while lapping up the stunning views over the Palais des Papes and the bridge.
Avignon: What a show!
Europe’s largest theatre festival headlining around 1,500 performances, the Festival d’Avignon invades the Papal city every year, spurring the Pont d’Avignon into a whirlwind dance over the waters of the Rhône River. But Avignon is also a place to be appreciated throughout the seasons. In this lively, open-air museum, café terraces lend themselves to an intimate chat, while the secret courtyards of mansion houses welcome high-flying eateries. The Popes had a feel for words and wine too: undeniable bons vivants, the Pontiffs fostered the development of the Côtes-du-Rhône wines, as well as villages whose name alone – such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape – is enough to make your mouth water. Science also has a penchant for this region, and the great naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre laid the foundations of modern-day ethology in Serignan-du-Comtat.
THE BEST SHOPPING IN AVIGNON
Have you already visited the Palais des Papes and the famous Pont d'Avignon? Then it’s time to explore the city's best boutiques - head to the city centre to spend the day shopping in Avignon!