Avignon Cité des Papes
(15 km - 13 mn)
From medieval streets and houses to private mansions from the Renaissance, passing through all its old and enticing squares, some no bigger than a tiny lane...
And the diverse dining opportunities, ranging from family-run restaurants, good and inexpensive to some of the greatest Michelin-starred chefs.
Avignon invites you for a stay beyond all imagination.The historic city centre, the Popes' Palace, all the episcopal buildings and the Saint Bénézet Bridge are listed as world heritage sites by UNESCO.
The historic centre radiates from the Place de l'Horloge. Here, you find the City Hall built between 1845 and 1851 over a former cardinal's palace of which it has kept the old fortified tower, transformed into a belfry in the 15th century with clock and Jacquemart.
Next to it, the municipal theatre, also from the 19th century, houses the Avignon opera and, all the way at the top, the delightful Belle Époque style carrousel still turns. Originally the forum of Avenio, the city's name under the Romans in the 1st century BC, the Place de l'Horloge is still the “centre” of Avignon.
A meeting place, bordered by cafés and restaurants, the square is always bustling. Just like the Place du Palais higher up, a vast esplanade where you could spend the day just watching all the street performers in summer.
And as its name implies, here stands the formidable Popes' Palace, emblem of the city and awe-inspiring monument to the importance of Avignon in the Christian world of the Middle Ages.
Built in the 1300s, mainly by two popes - the austere Benedict XII and his successor, the much less ascetic Clement VI, - the palace would become the biggest gothic edifice in all of Europe. A tour of the palace, which includes the popes' private apartments with their fabulous frescoes, is one one of the musts of Avignon.