City Guide: Avignon
Avignon is a city in the South of France, approximately 100 kilometers away from Marseille. The city has some really beautiful historic monuments and is a real hidden gem. In this city guide, I’ll explain why visiting Avignon is an amazing experiene!
For most tourists visiting the South of France, places on the visit include cities like Nice, Cannes or Aix-en-Provence. If you ask people whether they are visiting Avignon, they will usually not have a clue about the city. That’s a real pity as Avignon is definitely one of the nicest cities to visit in France, mainly thanks to the rich history of the city, which you can revisist today.
The famous Palais des Papes Avignon
There’s one monument in Avignon, which is particular famous. I’m talking of the Palais des Papes, which once was the residence of the popes in Europe. Despite it only being the home for the most important people in the church (from 1335 to 1430), it’s one of the most impresive gothic structures in Europe and the whole world.
So much for the history as visiting this building today is a really amazing experience. The building is not only massive, but has an impressive exterior.
However, I’d recommend not only looking at the building from the outside, but actually enter to get an idea of how the palace most have looked a couple of hundreds years ago.
The palace is still in a really good condition and nowadays serves as a museum, which showcases the history of the place very well.
You can also enjoy a beautiful view of town when you climb to the highest parts of the palace.
Another noteworthy aspect of a visit is that you get a tablet, which leads you through the whole museum in an interactive way – something I haven’t seen before and is really interesting.
When visiting Avignon, checking out the Palais des Papes is a must!
Rocher des Doms, Cathedral & Musée du Petit Palais Avignon
While the Palais des Papes definitely is the most impressive monument in Avignon, right next to it, there are a couple more highlights. First of all, there’s a really nice cathedral.
Then there’s also the so-called petit palais, which serves as a museum nowadays and is a really nice building from the outside as well.
I’d also recommend checking out the little park next to the Palais des Papes, which is called Rocher des Doms.
It’s a nice spot to walk around, but the views you have from here are the real highlight!
Among a really nice scenery you can also spot the Pont d’Avignon, which doesn’t exist fully anymore, but is another historic monument from the Roman inspired times.
You can also visit the Pont d’Avignon, but spotting it from here was enough for me.
Theatre Municipal & Hotel de Ville Avignon
Not far away from the Palais des Papes, you can find one of the main squares in Avignon, which is home to various historic buildings.
Those include the really nice theatre municipal, which is used for its purpose till today.
The same is true for the city hall or hotel de ville, which has a really nice exterior as well.
The Hotel de l’Horlogre, one of the first in the city, is just around the corner, too.
Other noteworthy buildings in the area of the Palais des Papes include the Hotel des Monnais, which is located right opposite of the impressive palace.
Square Agricol Perdiguier & Musee Lapidaire Avignon
While the highlights of Avignon are obviously the Palais des Papes and the structures around, but there are various other nice areas as well. For example, I really enjoyed the Square Agricol Peridiguer.
Here, you can not only walk through a nice park and relax a bit, but you can also spot a nice historic church, which has a really different design than many others in town. Additionally, the Musee Lapidaire Avginon is not far away. It’s already quite impressive from the outside.
Plus, it’s completely free, so visiting is really worth it. While you may not spend more than 15 or 20 minutes here, the various historic pieces and art objects are quite cool.
Especially if you are into arts, this is a place in Avignon you shouldn’t miss!
Tiny streets, beautiful squares and historic buildings
Avignon is not only about a couple of different monuments, but also about nice tiny streets you can walk through. The Rue de la Peyrolerie, leading to the Palais des Papes, is a great example.
However, I also really liked other parts of town, including the Square and Tour Saint Jean.
The Basilique Saint Pierre is one of the most beautiful churches in town and definitely worth checking out, too.
The Place Carnot is another spot I’d recommend walking by and maybe sit down for a coffee or lunch.
Noteworthy buildings you might spot while walking through Avignon are the Banque de France building, the Eglise Saint Didier and the Court Jean Jaures, but none of those is a must-see.
Nevertheless, I think that you should plan one or two hours for walking around the city as it’s a really charming place to just walk around without a clear destination in mind.
Overall impressions of Avignon
There are various fascinating sights in Avignon with the most important and famous definitely being the Palais des Papes. However, there are various other noteworthy buildings and areas very close to the palace, which I’d definitely recommend factoring in some time for as well. Last but not least, it’s just really nice to walk around this charming little city in France. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!
Do you have any questions about Avignon? Feel free to ask or share your impressions in the comments!