City of the Popes from 1309 to 1376, the historic heart of Avignon is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Protected by its ramparts, the old town has preserved magnificent reminders of its past. Built in the 14th century, the Popes' palace is an essential place to visit while you are there. This fortress was the residence of the popes in the 14th century and is a magnificent Gothic palace split into two parts: the Old Palace and the New Palace.
The Palace square is also surrounded by other prestigious buildings, such as the “Petit Palais” (Small Palace), the former archbishops' residence which is now a museum housing a collection of paintings and sculptures; the Monnaies mansion and its 17th-century Baroque facade; but also the Notre-Dame-des-Doms cathedral built in the 12th century.
The Doms rock, which is the very origin of the city, is a pleasant hilltop garden offering a beautiful view of the River Rhone and especially of the Saint-Bénezet bridge, better known as the Pont d'Avignon.
The Horloge square, with its plane trees and its café terraces, is a very pleasant and lively place, especially during the Avignon festival. The Teinturiers street is very picturesque and is great for a walk along the River Sorgue and its pretty paddle wheels.
In July, the famous Avignon "In" and "Off" festival, is a great moment with good entertainments. The "In" festival, which takes place in the main courtyard of the Popes' palace, is dedicated to plays, concerts and dance. The "Off " festival offers numerous shows in the whole city.
The town of Avignon is a former city of the popes. It is located in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, in the department of Vaucluse, on the border of Gard and Bouches-du-Rhône. It takes place on the left bank of the Rhone, near Nimes, Orange, Montpellier or even Arles.
The city of Avignon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for having welcomed the popes between 1309 and 1423, in parallel with the Roman popes. It changes its face in the course of the eighteenth century with more modern developments and the disappearance of many narrow medieval narrow streets. Today, Avignon is best known for its architectural heritage, as well as for its cultural influence throughout the world.
The town is one of the few French cities to have preserved its ramparts and its historic center which attract many tourists every year. Gastronomy, especially wine production, is also the success of Avignon.
The Palace of the Popes, a monument of the 14th century, is surely the most famous tourist site of the whole city of Avignon. Classified in UNESCO, it is one of the largest Gothic constructions of all the Middle Ages. Formerly a pontifical residence, this fortress was the seat of Western Christianity during much of the 14th century. The Palace of the Popes consists of the intertwining of two distinct buildings, the old palace of Benedict XII which takes place on the rock of the Doms, and the new palace of Clement VI. It is now one of the ten most visited French monuments each year, and hosts important cultural events each year, as is the festival "in" of Avignon. During the visit, you can enjoy the twelve towers, as well as many rooms such as the hall of the conclave which used to serve as an apartment for the guests or the room of the Great Audience. The deer room is at present one of the most famous pieces of the Palais des Papes, notably because of its decoration. Visitors can discover a beautiful painted hunt on the western wall. The architectural ensemble is also composed of several chapels, as well as different courtyards like the courtyard of 1800 square meters, or the courtyard of the cloister.
Another famous tourist site in Avignon, the famous Saint-Bénezet bridge. Highlighted by a famous song, the building dates back to the 12th century and has also been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today it has only four arches that have withstood the vagaries of time.
The historic center of Avignon is still surrounded by ramparts dating from the fourteenth century. Four kilometers long, they are equipped with seven doors open on the city and 39 towers.
Classified as Historic Monuments, the Salt Grenier is an ancient salt storage place built in the mid-14th century. Close to the ramparts, the current monument dates back to the 18th century and now serves as a venue for exhibitions and shows during the "off" festival of Avignon.
Walking through the old center of Avignon, you can also admire many private mansions. There are no less than 130 built between the 15th and 18th centuries. One can thus note that of Brancas which welcomed Minister Necker during his disgrace, that of the Laurens, that of Brantes, or the Hotel de Sade which once belonged to the family of the same name.
The Hotel de Villeneuve-Martignan, built in the 16th century, is now used as a place of reception for the Calvet museum, classified as Musee de France. There are collections on archeology, fine arts, and decorative arts such as tapestry, ironwork and porcelain.
Other museums also take place in Avignon as the museum of the Petit Palais with its collections of primitive Italian paintings, the Requien museum which deals with natural history, the lapidary museum and its antiques, or the Jean-Vilar house The Bibliothèque de France, and the Angladon Museum. The latter takes place in the mansion of Massilian and uncovers collections of art from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. A collection of works of contemporary art, the Lambert collection can be admired in the Caumont hotel since 2000.
The Saint-Pierre collegiate church of Avignon is a monument dating from the mid-14th century, which took its place on an ancient building of the 7th century. Mainly in Gothic style, it has been classified as a Historic Monument. Inside, several works of art are present, like the monumental altarpiece of St. Peter.
Several weekly markets take place from Tuesday to Sunday morning. There is also a flea market on Sunday mornings, a flea market on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a book market every first Saturday of the month in the morning.
In January, Cheval passion is established.
In February, place at the Hivernales of Avignon, a festival of contemporary dance. It features choreographic performances, workshops, exhibitions, projections and dance encounters.
The last weekend of March, the city offers the Avignon motor festival.
The famous theater festival of Avignon "in" and "off" takes place in the city every year in July. Founded in 1947 by the actor Jean Vilar, it offers official performances in the main courtyard of the Palais des Papes, as well as other festivities in the rest of the city.
At the beginning of August, place at the Avignon Jazz festival, rich in concerts and other entertainment throughout the city.
Every year between the end of November and the beginning of January, a traditional Provencal crib with Marcel Carbonel's santons is installed in the peristyle of the town hall.