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The Heart of Provence

Surrounded by 4.3km of superbly preserved stone ramparts, this graceful city is the belle of Provence's ball. Famed for its annual performing-arts festival and its fabled bridge, the Pont St-Bénezet (aka the Pont d'Avignon), Avignon is an ideal spot from which to step out into the surrounding region.

Top Tips

  • The town has a population of over 90,000 people
  • It's so stunning, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995
  • The Avignon Festival, is held every summer in July and celebrates the arts
  • Les Halles d'Avignon Food Market is held every day (except Monday).  Local specialties like olive oil, tapenade, local wines, cheeses, and pastries can be found at the market. Perfect for stocking up your picnic basket before sunning yourself on the banks of the river!
  • In medieval times the city boasted over 100 churches, many of these have been transformed into cafes, shops and movie theatres.

1. Saint Benezet Bridge

Maybe you’ve heard the old French song; Sous le pont d’Avignon that has been around since 15th century? Well that is about this 12th century bridge in Avignon. Unfortunately the bridge was damaged and abandoned in the 17th, so it’s only half a bridge nowadays….

2. Palais du Papes

This was once home to the Popes in the 14th century – guys who definitely weren’t short of a pretty penny or two when building the palace. The interiors are swept with beautiful frescoes of ornate hunting and fishing scenes and lots of hidden chambers and passageways. You can do a tour through the palace to learn some of the secrets behind the stone walls.

3. Notre Dame du Dom

A beautiful church that is situated right next to the Palais du Papes, but is often overshadowed. It’s definitely worth seeing and is free.

4. Jardin du Rocher des Doms

Next to the Palais du Papes there is a cliff-top park that has excellent views over the Rhone River and Old Town. There are a few sites up there as well; such as a war memorial, a play area for kids and kiosks but there is also a tiny Côtes du Rhône vineyard and a bar where you can sip its fine wines.

5. Musee Angladon

In the heart of the old town you’ll find this small art museum with a huge collection from the 18th century onwards. Artists such as Degas, Cezanne, Picasso, Van Gogh & other impressionists have impressive artwork housed inside.

Avignon is your gateway to the French region of Provence, most famous for its invention of olive tapenade and Aioli sauce!

Eats

1. Ginette et Marcel

On one of Avignon’s most happening shaded squares, you’ll find this 1950’s vintage style café. A great place to hang out and people watch whilst enjoying a tasty lunch or evening apéro. Some favourites include tartine (open-faced sandwiches), tarts and salads.

2. 83.Vernet

Set in the courtyard of a medieval college, this contemporary restaurant seems right at home. The menu is an array of delicious French fusion cuisine with some featured dishes such as pan-seared scallops, squid à la plancha and beefsteak in pepper sauce.

3. Bar à Manger du Coin Caché

This bistro bar cooks up some delicious seasonal dishes with a twist as well as Provencal aperitif on offer.

4. Restaurant l’Agape

l’Agape is a chic restaurant of French Provencal cuisine with a really good lunch menu. Expect seasonal dishes like pan-fried red mullet with artichoke purée or saddle of lamb with fritters of courgette flowers.

5. Le Jardin de la Tour

This cute little French style restaurant displays the best of the Provence region. The bouillabaisse is a speciality here. If you want to learn how to cook French cuisine, they also offer cookery courses.

Drinks

1. Caves des Pas Sages

In the picturesque part of town of old Teinturiers, you’ll find this relaxed little bar inside a wine shop. Expect a mellow vibe - and they even play live music occasionally on the weekends.

2. Club Les Ambassadeurs

This stylish club in the city centre has a cosy seating area and a great dance floor – so let your hair down! It’s the place to go if you want to head somewhere a little smarter than your average club. Only open Thursday to Saturday.

3. Bokao's

Bokao’s has a great party atmosphere with a mix of electro and retro sounds. The interior is classy and sleek with a glass bar and pink and blue lighting streaming through the club.

4. Pub Z

A busy bar offering everything from electro and rock, to soul and disco. They have a huge list of rum-based drinks where you can sit and sip on whilst enjoying the funky interior dominated by wacky zebra motifs.

5. Red Zone

Often this club is pretty busy, as locals know this is the place to go for DJs playing anything from salsa to hip-hop music inside. There are two bars and a terrace area where they hold theme nights and live music.

Click the coloured pins to find out how to get here

Recommendations

Our guide suggested we have a picnic of local produce and wine and watch the world go by. A good cheap way to get immersed into the local life.

Janet, NZ