A visit to Avignon is a must for any trip to Provence. It is an ancient, walled city surrounded by medieval stone ramparts that sits by the Rhone River. Once inside, you will find narrow passageways, charming town squares, along with numerous shops and restaurants. Between 1309 – 1377, it was the seat of the Catholic popes, and the massive Palais des Papes is filled with rich history.
The first time my husband and I visited Avignon was in 1998. My husband was sitting in the square near the Palais des Papes working on a sketch, so I visited le palais by myself. I walked in, looked around, lit a few candles and said some prayers. It was October, so there were only a few people there. I had the place mostly to myself.
We returned to Avignon 15 year later, and oh my, how things had changed! An admission fee of 15 euros was charged, once that was paid, visitors were ushered through a metal detector, and there were tour groups everywhere, as well as modern art. In order to exit, one was forced through the gift shop where sippy cups, t-shirts and toys, all with images of le palais were for sale. Et, bien sur, there was a wine shop, The Pope’s Wine Cellar, where one could purchase Vin de Palais des Papes, But, it is still an amazing place to visit, and I highly recommend it.
Le Pont d’Avignon is another interesting place to visit and has the designation of a World Heritage site. One can take a walk along the bridge and visit the gate house. It’ s a nice location to take some photos.
The Avignon Carousel in Place de L’Horlage is another pretty site.
There are many other sites to visit in Avignon, but one of my favorite things to do is to wander through the narrow streets, take photos, stop for tea or a glass of wine, and watch the people go by.
Avignon is easy to navigate on foot, so you won’t need a rental car. In fact, it is difficult to get around the inner city in a car, so use Lyft, Uber, or public transportation to get around.
Have you been to Avignon? If so, please leave a comment with you favorite sites to see there.