On the lush banks of the Rhone lies one of the one of the most important cities in Europe – a quintessentially gorgeous French city that was the center of the Roman Catholic world hundreds of years ago. With architecture that is unparalleled, multiple World Heritage sites, beautiful palaces, museums, a quintessential mixture of art and history and a city that emanates a sense of majesty. There’s so many great things to do in Avignon, that you don’t want to miss any of it during your trip here.
The cityscape blends the beauty of gothic architecture with the period of renaissance art, and is rampant with pedestrianized streets. Boasting contemporary art and festivals – Avignon is a quirky city reflecting the French culture beautifully, and enthralling all of those who visit it. The legacy of the architecture remains, the World Heritage fortress has its own special allure and the soaring palaces dot the city so perfectly creating the ultimate travel destination. Check out our list of the best thing to do in Avignon, France.
This is one of Europe’s largest river islands situated between Avignon and Villeneuve-les-Avignon…Cozy, small and protected – the island is a great place to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. From skate parks, to swimming pools to an exceptional peaceful atmosphere, the island is perfect for cycling around or having a nice walk. Explore the gorgeous cluster of houses, have a picnic along the banks of the Rhone or simply have a nice day of relaxation. This is one of the best thing to do in Avignon, so you don’t miss this.
Nothing really prepares you for the grandeur and the beauty of the Palais des Papes. Back in the Middle Ages, the Pope Clement V was in charge of moving the papal court from Rome to Avignon. He then went on to build the palace for 20 years and it has become one of the most essential attractions of Avignon. Not only is it the symbolic attraction of the city, but it’s also a World Heritage Site that boasts grandeur and gothic art. This is one of the best things to see in Avignon.
In addition to all of this, nothing actually prepares you for the size of it. You hear of its beauty, its majesty, its class, but you seldom get to envision its size. The fairy-tale like castle was the largest building of the Gothic period and the interiors highlight the beauty of the era.
Things to check out inside:
- Great Audience Hall
- Grand Tinel banquet room
- The Saint Martial
- The Saint John chapel
- The well preserved frescoes.
This place is the beating heart of the city of Avignon – it’s the main square and the heart of the city. This is where the main market was located back in the Middle Ages, and the administrative center was established there as well. The place itself is considered a landmark for anyone living in Avignon – a perfect place for theatre-lovers, for July festivals and for exploring the markets. There you can also find the city hall and the opera house.
This is by far one of the most attractive museums in Avignon. Housed inside of an 18th century building, you’ll find paintings and collections from:
- Jaques Doucet
- Paulette Martin
- Jean Angladon
- Van Gogh
The ground floor is dedicated to some of this generation’s greatest artists (like Degas, Van Gogh, Manet and Picasso) and the first floor has a series of themed rooms.
Another wonderfully iconic site of the city of Avignon, this bridge is one of beautiful stories and myths blended together. Dating back to the 12th century, the bridge is a UNESCO-listed site that narrates one of the most famous legends in the city. In the year 1177, a shepherd named Benezet was supposedly instructed to build a bridge and his strength was seen as a sign from the Gods, specifically due to the fact that he built the bridge in the span of only eight years. This is one of the top things to do in Avignon.
Spanning over 900 meters and including 22 arches, the bridge is a place where you can visit a museum with an interactive experience, a chapel by the second arch.
This is without a doubt one of the prettiest and most picturesque streets in all of Avignon. Reminiscent of balmy summers, every inch of this square is just so pretty. Limestone sculptures, watering holes, gorgeous cafes and beautiful stone houses all dot the streets of this Rue de Teinturiers.
Don’t miss out on:
- Maison du IV de Chiffre
Hop on to the renowned petit train and discover the most gorgeous sites across the city of Avignon. From the Pope’s palace, to some of the best UNESCO World Heritage sites, to winding medieval alleys, gothic churches and quintessential quartiers – you’ll get to experience the beauty of it all on your ride.
Usually the train lasts for about 40 minutes, and it’s the perfect way to orientate yourself with the main attractions and the city. It definitely beats walking around all day to enjoy the monuments!
The previous residence of the dukes of Aquitaine, this square emanates a sense of grandeur and romanticism that surpasses everything else. A place of previous hidden silhouettes, a square with café terraces and magical vistas, and one that opens way to the Bordeaux bridges. This is a great place to eat in Avignon.
An incredible variety of artifacts can be found in this museum, from antiques to completely eclectic artifacts, from paintings to sculptures and it’s a great ode to art in the city.
- Italian paintings
- The Virgin and Child painting.
- Avignon Sculptures
This is where you’ll find the best collection of antique sculptures in all of Avignon. A great collection of medieval paintings, Italian, French, Spanish and Dutch works are all a part of the museum’s collection. Housed in an 18th century hotel, you’ll find that there’s also a lot of interesting stuff to see including an entire Egyptology department.
The Basilique is right in the center of town – nestled amongst cobbled shrine stones. A flamboyant façade that reflected the gothic period, embellished doors, and intricately designed piers….The church was built in the 1300’s and its most beautiful characteristics is its monumental wooden doors.
The Collection Lambert is a new art museum where you’ll find all sorts of artifacts – from photography to paintings to sculptures. The space is beautiful and the collection is divided across two different buildings.