I literally do not know where to start. I had a brainwave to go into a specific number of things to do in Avignon, but then there is the whole area around Avignon. There is also the fact that Avignon is just a magnificent place, in a magnificent corner of Europe, beauty and charm within the city and throughout its surroundings. So I settled for a round number, ten seemed a good one. But for the record, I can simply sit at a terrace in the shade, on one of Avignon’s beautiful squares, soaking in the Provençal climate, accent, and way of life.
And I am not the only who thinks so, the entire centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Let us take you to the capital of the Vaucluse.
And for all these reasons, we have an extensive offer in the area around Avignon. Rent a holiday house with a private swimming pool and enjoy everything we are excited to tell you about in this blog. And there is always more to discover and enjoy!
Park your car just outside the centre and start walking. Or rent a scooter if it is just you and your romantic other. In any season.
The Palace of the Popes is the obvious place to start. A medieval castle, imposing and absolutely stunning, showing off the grandeur of the Catholic church at the time. It housed the Catholic popes during the 14th Century, in the same way as the Vatican does today, and then Avignon was kept under pontifical reign for another four centuries. It only became part of France after the French Revolution!
This is another landmark in Avignon, recognizable as this bridge looks unfinished. It was built in the 12th Century and was 1km long which was an accomplishment for that time. The bridge boasted twenty arches, of which only four still exist today. The flooding of the Rhone River destroyed this bridge quite a few times, and it was rebuilt until the 17th Century. Today, it is a sign of a bygone era, and there is even a nursery rhyme in French that is all about dancing on the Pont d’Avignon. Why don’t you take a twirl! Something to giggle about once you are back in your villa with your private swimming pool.
Every French town has its market and the Provençal markets are the most picturesque. In Avignon, you get the cream of the crop. Not only do you have the usual and oh so beautiful local outdoor food and handicraft markets, you have a covered food market but also a flea market. Just imagine what a day out that can make! Don’t forget to buy fresh food for your evening barbecue by the swimming pool.
Next to the Palace of the Popes you will find this sublime example of medieval architecture, in complete harmony with the Palace. In addition, this cathedral has wonderful gardens along the Rhone River where you can take a stroll, have some refreshments, have lunch, and unwind. For anyone feeling more active, climb up to the Rocher des Doms and take in the fabulous view!
This is a typical old street in the heart of Avignon, testifying of its textile industry in the past. You can still see waterwheels, as you take a walk in the shade of the sycamore trees, and allow timelessness to wash over you.
Take a break from the inner city and go down the stairs behind the Pont d’Avignon, at the Rocher des Doms. From there, take the ferry that runs a few times a day and go to the Ile de la Barthelasse, in the middle of the Rhone River. Go for a picnic, a bicycle ride, a stroll in the tiny streets, or enjoy a drink at a terrace.
For lovers of theater, jazz, music in general, art in general, July is when you will want to be in Avignon. The official festival is not to be missed, but there is also a plethora of “off” shows, featuring actors, musicians and dancers; just imagine the city center turned into an open stage, music and performances simply everywhere. It is hard to imagine, but that’s the Festival d’Avignon! Then indulge in the tranquility of your private holiday house with a swimming pool, after all the excitement, people and noise.
For those of you who want to add some extra culture into the mix, there are two museums that might appeal to your senses. The Musée du Petit Palais with its medieval art gallery, and the Musée Angladon, showcasing Roman and Greek archeological findings, but also a collection of paintings by Van Gogh, Sisley, Degas and Modigliani.
For your youngsters, and anyone still young at heart, the Carousel on the Place de l’Horloge will offer you a magical moment. Music, lights and traditional wooden horses, just like in the movies.
Let us not forget that we are in the heart of wine country! Try the local wines, whites and rosés, but also some heady red wines from the Rhone area. Compare your favourites, then buy some to enjoy during your evening barbecue by your swimming pool. You can also go on various wine routes and enjoy some delicious wine-tasting.