Location: Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur   Map

Known for: Avignon's papacy during which the residence of pope was moved here from 1309 to 1378


Description of Avignon

Avignon is one of the major cities in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in the south of France. It widely known as the "City of Popes" since it became the official seat of the Roman Catholic Church between 1309 to 1423. This period became known as the Catholic Schism. Presence of the highest church official living in the city influenced construction of beautiful Catholic cathedrals, Gothic palace of the pope and many other structures.


Avignon is the capital of the department of Vaucluse , which is on the banks of the Rhone. Ancient Hellenistic and Roman city, Avignon became from 1309 the city of the Popes. A true event in the history of medieval Christianity, it will be the beginning of a remarkable metamorphosis. Become a cultural hub, Avignon will attract many artists and craftsmen who will express their expertise in multiple achievements (painting, sculpture, architecture ...). Surrounded by ramparts, the intramural city is today a high place of tourism in Provence. During your walk, you will discover museums with sumptuous collections, magnificent churches and cathedrals as well as many quality shops.

Avignon was elected European city of culture in 2000.

1 Tourist Office 41 Cours Jean Jaurès (intramural, not far from the train station), +33 4 32 74 32 74 Monday to Saturday from 9 am - 18. A map of the city, lists of hotels at all rates, restaurants, outing ideas, and days to spend around can be found at the Tourist Office.

The city council evaluates the population of the city to 200,000 inhabitants, including 16,000 intramural. It is famous for its Palace of the Popes, built in the fourteenth century during the flight of pontiff rulers. It was almost totally emptied of its contents during the following centuries, and there are only frescoes left inside. This does not prevent it from being an imposing and luminous building. The ramparts themselves are more recent, erected to repel the Black Death and the armies of the Middle Ages, when Avignon belonged to the Papacy, not to the French King.

The history of the city is not limited to the papal period. Avignon has indeed been inhabited for five thousand years, so troglodyte dwellings were pierced in the Rocher des Doms, the upper part of a limestone outcrop overlooking the Rhone. Today there is a nice park with a wide panorama of the city and the surrounding area, a café and a playground. Avignon was also a Roman city, the walls they had built there still lie under the current streets. Remains of the Roman Forum can however be seen near Racine Street and Saint-Etienne Street, west of the city. The city is dotted with buildings whose date of construction goes up in stages from recent times to more remote periods.

Avignon is famous all over the world for its annual theater festival. For three or even four weeks in July, the city is flooded with comedians, musicians, and of course tourists, omnipresent elsewhere. The festival is an excuse to turn any place into a theater, and the city hosts all kinds of fun. The summit of this festival is located in the shows taking place in the courtyard of the Palais des Papes. The price of seats in the most prestigious places can be high, however a very large number of troops occupy more intimate places and practice the most affordable rates. Note that it can be very interesting to walk around the city during the festival, some troops not hesitant to offer discounts to improve the visibility of their shows. In addition, street artists are also present offering their show to passersby.


Travel Destinations in Avignon

Palais des Papes (Palace of pope) (Avignon)

 Avignon Pope's Palace

Place du Palais-des-Papes

Tel. 04-90 27 50 74

Open: 9am- 8pm July, 9am- 9pm Aug, variable shorter hours Sept- June

Entrance Fee: adults 6 Euro, children 3 Euro

Palais des Papes or simply Palace of the Pope is a former residence of a Roman Catholic Pope. It is designated as n UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is the largest Gothic palace in Europe. It was constructed by Pope Clement V in 1309 after he abandoned Rome for Avignone. Subsequent popes lived here for 70 years. It was as much of a castle as it is a palace with thickness of walls reach a width of 3 meters at the base.

Cathedrale de Notre- Dame-des Doms (Avignon)

Palais des Papes

Tel. 0490 8681 01

Open: 9am- 12pm, 2- 6pm

Cathedrale de Notre- Dame-des Doms is a medieval Romanesque cathedral that was constructed in the 12th century. With a move of pope here it was extensively increased. Additionally it contains a mausoleum of pope John XXII buried here.

Eglise St.- Didier (Avignon)


Musée Lapidaire (Avignon)

Location: 27 rue de la Republique City Center

Open: 10am- 1pm, 2- 6pm Wed- Mon

Tel. 04 9086 3384

Entrance Fee: 2 Euro

Musee Lapidaire is a historical museum with a large collection of Egyptian, Etruscan, Ancient Greek, Ancient Roman and early Christian art.


Ponts St. Benezet (Avignon)


Pont St-Bénézet City Centre

Tel. 0490 275116

Entrance Fee: 4 Euro, children 3.30 Euro

Open: Jul 9am- 9pm, Aug- Sept 9am- 8pm, mid- March- Jun, Oct 9am- 7pm, Nov- mid- March 9:30am- 5:45pm

Bridge of Saint Benezet was constructed in 1171- 1185. It linked a Avignon with a town of Villeneuve- les- Avignon across the river. Later it was badly damaged by the floods of 1668. Although only portion of the original 22 arches survive it is still an impressive feat of engineering.

Musee Calvet (Avignon)


65 rue Joseph Vernet

Open: 10am- 1pm, 2- 6pm Wed- Mon

Tel. 0490 8633 84

Entrance Fee: 6 Euro, children 3 Euro

Musee Calvet is a fine art museum with a collection of art that date back to the 16- 20th centuries. Museum is housed in the elegant Hotel de Villeneuve- Martignan that was constructed in 1741- 54.

Collection Lambert (Avignon)

5 rue Violette

Open: 11am- 9pm daily Jul, Aug; 11am- 6pm Tue- Sun Sept- June

Entrance Fee: regular 7 Euro, student 5.50 Euro, children 2 Euro


Collection Lambert was open in 1960's in the 18th century building. It contains a large collection of contemporary art pieces.

Universite d'Avignon (Avignon)

Location: Quartier des Teinturiers


Universite d'Avignon or University of Avignon is one of the oldest universities on the continent and the World. It was found in 1303 by pope Boniface VIII.

Avignon Synagogue (Avignon)


2 place Jerusalem City Center

Tel. 0490 8521 24

Open: 10am- 12pm, 3- 5pm Mon- Thu, 10am- 12pm Fri

This neoclassical synagogue was constructed in 1221 looks almost like an ancient pagan temple with a round dome covering it. Additionally you still can see medieval bakeries where the bread was made for the congregation. Unfortunately parts of the building was badly damage in 1845 after a fire. It was subsequently reconstructed. Please respect the traditions of the people here. No short shorts, cleavages and other inappropriate clothes. Man also need to cover their heads.


Parc d'Astronomie, du Soleil et du Cosmos (Avignon)

Location: av Charles de Gaulle Les Angles

Tel. 04 9025 6282


Parc d'Astronomie or Park of Astronomy is situated across the river in Villeneuve- les- Avignon.

Couvent des Cordeliers (Avignon)

Location: rue des Teinturiers Quartier des Teinturiers

Musee du Petit Palais (Avignon)

Location: du Palais

Open: 10am- 1pm, 2- 6pm Wed- Mon

Entrance Fee: 6 Euro, children are free


This museum is dedicated to the religious art from the Renaissance and Medieval period. The collection is housed in the former bishops' palace that was constructed in the 14th century.

Chapelle des Penitents Gris (Avignon)

Location: rue des Teinturiers Quartier des Teinturiers