Avignon, The Chiming Town

Travel to Avignon – Things to See and Do in Avignon:

Palais des Papes, Avignon Follow Me on Pinterest

Palais des Papes, Avignon

Avignon’s origins can be traced to Neolithic times when the Rocher des Doms, then just a rocky outcrop high above the Rhône river, provided shelter for a Neolithic settlement. Since ancient times, Avignon’s strategic location on the Rhône has made it an attractive target for invading forces. However, although the Romans, the Goths, the Saracens, the Franks have all invaded and occupied Avignon, much of Avignon’s heritage today relates to the arrival of the Popes and the Avignon papacyin the 14th century.

The Avignon Papacy

Seven Popes reigned from Avignon and the town became the capital of Christianity, as a result of which Avignon has more than its fair share of magnificent cathedrals, beautiful churches and quaint chapels. The churches grew and multiplied, earning the town the title “Avignon, the Chiming Town”.  Avignon’s most dominant monument, the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes), is up to this day the largest Gothic palace in Europe.

The Ramparts that still surround Avignon were also built by the Popes in the 14th century. With their massive towers and gateways, they are one of the finest examples of medieval fortification in existence.

During the Avignon papacy, the town flourished and served as a place of refuge, attracting foreigners, merchants, artists, religious orders, bankers, and even political outlaws.

Avignon Attractions

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Avignon City Wall Gate

For the visitors today, the main Avignon attractions include:

  • The impressive Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) that dominates the town
  • Cathedrale de Notre Dame des Doms – the Romanesque building with the gilded statue of the Virgin on its western tower
  • The 12th century Pont Saint-Bénézet or Pont d’Avignon, made famous by the popular Frency children’s song “Sur le pont d’Avignon”
  • The Ramparts or city walls built by the popes in the 14th century
  • The many churches such as Eglise St-Pierre, Eglise St-Didier and Eglise St Agricol
  • The tranquil gardens at Le Rocher des Doms
  • The many museums such as Musée du Petit Palais, Calvet Museum, Musée Angladon, Musée Lapidaire, Musée Louis-Vouland, etc.

Avignon is also famous for its performing arts festivals, the Avignon Festival and the Avignon Off Festival. During the three-week long festival in July, amateur and professional artists, producers, theatre critics and theatre-lovers converge on Avignon for the 3-week theatre marathon. Theatre-lovers can enjoy hundreds of performances at venues all over town.

And of course being in Provence, visitors to Avignon can enjoy Avignon specialties as well as the regional foods and wines that Provence is famous for.  You don’t have to go too far to look for a restaurant in Avignon.  There are many eateries around town to choose from.

Avignon Hotels

As far as accommodation is concerned, no matter what accommodation type or price range, there is a large selection of Avignon hotels, guest houses and budget/backpackers rooms to choose from.  La Mirande in Avignon city centre offers luxury in 18th century-style decor,  the Avignon Grand Hôtel is a contemporary-style hotel with all modern facilities or if you’re coming by train, the Novotel Avignon Centre is located next to the Avignon Train Station.  For the complete list of  Avignon hotels, see HERE >

Some Provence tours you can do from Avignon >

See Travelsignposts photos of Avignon HERE >

Avignon Location:

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