Avignon, Gateway to Provence. Your Full Guide to the City
Updated: Jun 8
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With the modern TGV fast train station serving the area, Avignon is a beautiful centrally located city that provides easy access to unlimited Provence charm. If you’re considering where to stay in the South of France to explore the ancient Roman ruins and endless countryside villages of provence, definitely consider Avignon or Aix-en Provence. Avignon is known for its rich history (there was once a Pope here competing with the Vatican), culture, and art, as well as its beautiful Roman architecture, museums, and festivals. We'll talk about why Avignon is a great home base to explore the region, and what makes this region the perfect gateway to Provence:
Palais des Papes: One of the main attractions in Avignon is the Palais des Papes, a massive Gothic palace that served as the seat of the Catholic Church during the 14th century. It is one of the largest and most impressive medieval palaces in Europe, and it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Festival d'Avignon: Every summer, Avignon hosts one of the world's most famous theatre festivals, the Festival d'Avignon. The festival attracts thousands of visitors from around the world and features hundreds of performances by international theatre companies.
Avignon Bridge: The Pont d'Avignon (Avignon Bridge) is an iconic symbol of the city. Originally built in the 12th century, the bridge spans the Rhone River and is famous for its distinctive arches.
Art and Culture: Avignon has a rich artistic and cultural heritage, with many museums, galleries, and cultural events throughout the year. The city is home to several art museums, including the Musée du Petit Palais and the Collection Lambert, as well as numerous theatres, music venues, and festivals.
Food and Wine: Avignon is located in the heart of the Provence wine region, known for its delicious wines, including Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The city is also famous for its local cuisine, which features fresh, seasonal ingredients and traditional Provençal dishes like ratatouille, bouillabaisse, and tapenade. Check out the top 10 restaurants in Avignon!
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Why is this town such a great home base to explore Provence? We loved staying in Aix-en Provence and it's central location for exploring Provence with a car, but if you’re on a tighter timeline or budget, Avignon is nearly as impressive and provides the same great proximity to explore the Provence region. Here are our top reasons why you should use Avignon as a home base to explore Provence:
Central Location: Avignon is located in the heart of Provence, making it an ideal base for exploring the region. From Avignon, you can easily reach many of Provence's most famous attractions, including the Pont du Gard, the lavender fields of the Luberon, and the picturesque hilltop villages of the Alpilles.
Transportation: Avignon is well-connected to other parts of Provence and beyond. The city has a major train station with regular connections to Paris, Marseille, and other cities in France, as well as international connections to other European destinations. There are also several bus and shuttle services that run to popular destinations in Provence. The updated modern TGV station makes it even easier!
Accommodation: Avignon has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from budget hostels to luxury hotels. There are also many vacation rentals available in the city and surrounding areas, including villas, apartments, and farmhouses. We loved staying within the walled city of Avignon!
Cultural Attractions: Avignon itself is a fascinating city with a rich cultural heritage. In addition to the Palais des Papes, the city is home to many museums, art galleries, and historic sites, as well as a vibrant restaurant and cafe scene.
Festivals: Avignon hosts several major festivals throughout the year, including the Festival d'Avignon, the Avignon Jazz Festival, and the Les Hivernales dance festival. These events attract visitors from around the world and add to the city's vibrant cultural scene.
Avignon is a convenient and culturally rich base for exploring Provence, with easy access to many of the region's most famous attractions and a wide range of accommodation options. If you want a similar central city to explore the region, Aix-en-Provence is also a great, less touristy option. Make either your home base for your trip and don’t miss our Provence village recommendations!