Encircled by stone ramparts that date back to over 800 years, Avignon possesses a magical quality that makes it appear more fantasy world than French city. Once inside the city walls you’ll find the effect doesn’t wear off, with cobbled streets, bustling squares and leafy boulevards casting a fantastic glow over your holiday. Its charm really does transcend the seasons, so whether you favour a balmy break come summer, or a romantic getaway during winter you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Flight frequency: Several/Week
Currency: EUR (€)
Home to the world famous Pont Saint-Bénézet and the proud home of the world’s largest gothic building, Palais des Papes, there are reminders of Avignon's turbulent yet fascinating history at every turn. Under its watchful eye, the city’s arts, culture and dining scenes continue to boom, and visitors flock to see the magic for themselves. It was named a European City of Culture in the year 2000 thanks to its rich collection of historical things to see and do, yet its swelling university population has contributed to a surge in contemporary bars and cafes cropping up - in short it’s the perfect hybrid of old and new. And with warm Mediterranean style summers and winters that rarely drop below 0 degrees, this is a city that is worth visiting all year round.
The central streets and squares of the city are all lined with simple brasseries, exuding heavenly scents and tempting you in for a bite to eat washed down with a glass of locally produced wine. Get a slice of Provencal style dining for yourself with a meal at Le Jardin de la Tour, where the menu offers up several gems including the speciality fish stew bouillabaisse, or La Fourchette which is located in the heart of the city and is a fantastic (if not cheap) example of Provencal cooking at its best. If you want to carry on your evening and indulge in a cocktail or two, Avignon’s varied selection of drinking holes will certainly ensure you’re thoroughly entertained. Late night bars are mainly focused in a small part of the city centre around Place de l'Horloge, Place du Palais, Rue Carnot and Place des Corps-Saints, whilst you’ll find a higher concentration of locals than tourists in the lesser frequented, but equally fun Place Pie.
Avignon’s pedestrianized lanes are packed full of enticing shops selling trinkets, souvenirs and Provencal style wares. If you’re keen to take home an authentic reminder of your time in the city make sure you pick up lavender soap, brightly coloured fabric or locally produced olive oil, which can be found on nearly every shopping street. Elsewhere in the city Rue de la République houses the vast majority of chain-stores and high street retailers including the Monoprix department store, whilst Rue St Agricol is serious fashion heaven. No trip to Europe is complete without a trip to a local market, and nowhere does markets better than Avignon. Head to Les Halles d'Avignon in Place Pie, for locally produced food and wine, or Place des Carmes which sells bouquets of fresh perfumed flowers in every colour of the rainbow on Saturdays and is transformed into a bustling flea market every Sunday.
With so much to see and do in Avignon you’ll never be short of entertainment. Drink in some of Europe’s greatest architecture with a stroll around the ramparts and make sure to take your camera to Palais des Papes – the world’s largest gothic palace which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Delve deeper into the city’s history with a visit to Musée Angladon, which houses impressionist masterpieces such as Provence’s only Van Gogh, plus pieces by Picasso, Cézanne and more. If art’s your thing Collection Lambert is also well worth a visit – reopening in summer 2015 it’ll house works from the sixties to the present day, whilst Musée Calvet is another gem jam-packed with artistic treasures. If you’re after something a little more laid-back then hop on the tourist train which takes you on a charming 40-minute circuit of the city. If you’re blessed with a sunny day, it would be well-spent in Rocher des Doms – idyllic public gardens with views of Pont d’Avignon.
IATA code: AVN
Name: Avignon – Provence Airport
Address: 141 allée de la Chartreuse, 84140 Avignon-Montfavet, France
Telephone: +33 4 90 81 51 51
There are three car parks based in front of the terminal, including specialised zones for long stay, and short stay.
Both rail and bus services are available to take you from Avignon to the airport and vice versa.
Radio Taxis Avignon is the airport’s dedicated taxi service and can take you to your next destination for a competitive rate.
There are three car rental companies, including Avis, located in the main terminal building, vehicles can be pre-booked for an easy onwards journey after you depart your Flybe flight.