The Medieval City of Avignon, France

A visit to Avignon is a must for any trip to Provence. It is an ancient, walled city surrounded by medieval stone ramparts, situated by the Rhone River. Once inside, you will find narrow passageways, charming town squares, the famous Palais des Papes, and Pont d’Avignon, along with many other interesting sites.

Rooftops of Avignon.

Between 1309 – 1377, it was the seat of the Catholic popes, and the massive Palais des Papes is filled with rich history. The first time I visited le palais was in 1998. My husband was sitting in the adjoining square working on a sketch, so I wandered in on my own, looked around, lit a few candles and said some prayers. It was October, so there were only a few people there. I had the place mostly to myself.

We returned to Avignon many years later, and oh my, how things have changed! After paying a fifteen euro admission fee, we were ushered through a metal detector, and saw many tour groups, as well as many modern art displays. In order to exit, we were ushered through a gift shop where sippy cups, t-shirts, toys, many types of trinkets, all with images of le palais, were for sale. Et, bien sur, there is a wine shop, The Pope’s Wine Cellar, where one can purchase Vin de Palais des Papes. The commercialism made me sad, but it is still an amazing place to visit, which I highly recommend.

Le Palais des Papes.
View of the square near the palace.

Le Pont d’Avignon is another interesting place to visit and has the designation of being a World Heritage site. The bridge and gate house are open to visitors for a small admission fee.

Le Pont d’Avignon, sketch courtesy of theTravelsketcher.
The Avignon Carousel in Place de L’Horlage is another pretty site.

There are many other sites to visit in Avignon, but one of my favorite things to do is to wander through the narrow streets, take photos, stop for tea or a glass of wine, and watch the people go by.

Interesting, gnarly old door.
I love the inviting, narrow streets, just barely wide enough for une petite voiture, a little car.
This rock foundation caught my eye.
We stayed at Hotel Regina, which is affordable, clean and right in the heart of the city.

Avignon is easy to navigate on foot, so you won’t need a rental car. In fact, it is difficult to get around the inner city in a car, so use Lyft, Uber, or public transportation.

I love France and have written over twenty blog post about this warm, welcoming country. Click here to view them.

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As always, please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.

Bon voyage!

Tricia

5 Comments Add yours

  1. I love the view of the courtyard from the Palace. I also remember that narrow alleyway with the arched door at the end. I sat on the ground and did a sketch, what a memory. Thanks as always.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nancy Johnson says:

    Beautiful photos, so full of history! I love Terry’s sketch of Le Pont d’Avignon. That old gnarly door must be so old, just imagine the people that have walked through it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Nancy! I wondered that as well, about the door. So interesting!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Terri Watson says:

    Thank you, Tricia! I have wonderful memories of being there, it was in April so was not so crowded and was just warm, not too hot. Sad to hear about the security and increased commercialism!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Terri, for your comment! As you know, I love Avignon. Spring and fall are good times to visit; the weather is pleasant and the crowds are not too intense.

      Like

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