Day 1 in Avignon
Welcome to Avignon! Upon arrival, check-in to your hotel, then begin the afternoon with a pleasant lunch in any of the outdoor restaurants and cafes in Place de l`Horlog (Clock Tower Square) the main square and heart of Avignon. Afterward, we recommend you get acquainted with the city and learn more about the Avignon`s rich history through a guided tour. Avignon`s Tourism office offers a wide range of themed tours around the city.
Take a walk and learn the history of the St-Benezet medieval bridge, one of the most famous monuments in the world that spans less than half of the Rhone River, between the old town of Avignon and Villeneuve-les-Avignon on the left bank. You may have heard of the 15th-century children`s song about the Pont d`Avignon, the song adds to the allure of the bridge.
As the night approaches, make your way to the independent shops that line the streets of the old merchant`s quarter south-east of Place de l`Horloge. Enjoy some shopping and dinner at one of the many lively restaurants in the area.
Day 2 in Avignon
Start the day off early browsing at thePeruse Les Halles Market, the covered market on Place Pie for an authentic and local experience. It is quite a sight to see the vertical garden created by botanist Patrick Blac on one of the facades. Once inside there`s a huge range of vendors selling a delicious selection of Provincial foods which make for a great picnic spread to enjoy by the river.
Alternatively, walk around a refreshing and charming flower market at one of the squares, or a flea market, an antique market, or the local growers` market on the banks of the Rhone. Markets are an integral part of the lifestyle in Provence and a great way to shop and look for exceptional products local to the area.
Afterward, head to Palais des Papes, the 14th-century headquarters of cardinals, and a masterpiece of a monument. This is the largest medieval fortress and biggest gothic palace of Europe. We suggest a guided tour to access all areas and explore behind the scenes of the Palace`s private apartments, hidden passageways, and secret gardens, areas that few visitors can claim to have seen. Then head to the nearby Musee du Petit Palais, a cardinal`s palace turned art gallery. It contains a world-class collection of Renaissance works from Italy and from the Avignon school, all dealing with Christian themes. In addition to the impressive artworks, the museum is also home to a garden café.
From here, just a short walk away is the Parc Rocher des Doms, a great place to wander around or just relax and enjoy the Provence sun. This sprawling green space covering seven acres is designed around a large pond full of ducks and geese. The park also provides beautiful views of the surrounding areas, which are explained on signs around the grounds. On a clear day, you should be able to see as far as Mont Ventoux, the tallest mountain in Provence.
As evening approaches, take a stroll through the many narrow cobbled streets of the city, passing buildings that have been standing for centuries, and crossing public squares. Keep an eye out for the courtyard of the Hotel d`Europe, this luxury hotel has been in operation since 1799, welcoming historians from Charles Dickens to Jacqueline Kennedy. It is also the home to Vieille Fontaine, which boasts a single Michelin star, and a great restaurant to finish off your day. Or, enjoy dinner at one of the town`s many atmospheric squares.
Day 3 in Avignon
Wake up early today and take a ride to the nearby town of Arles to discover the Romans and Van Gogh, offering history that spans back 2,500 years; something showcased by Arles` famous Roman arena. The town is also famed for serving as Van Gogh`s home in the late 19th-century, and you can explore his life here via the Van Gogh Walk.
Afterward, head back to Avignon and take a dinner cruise along the Rhone River, one of the focal points of Avignon. There are a handful of companies that offer dinner cruises along the Rhone, it`s a great way to enjoy some fantastic views of the famous landmarks of Avignon.
Additional Days in Avignon
Should you be able to spend additional days in Avignon, take a day trip to Pontdu Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct and a true masterpiece of ancient architecture. It`s huge in size and the park is great for short hikes and swimming in the river.
Alternatively, explore the Châteauneuf-du-Papevineyards, in the Rhone wine region, one of the most fascinating wine regions in the world. It is the one of the most renowned appellations of the southern part of the Rhone Valley. Vineyards are located around Châteauneuf-du-Papeand in the neighboring villages of Bedarrides, Courthezon and Sorgues between Avignon and Orange. More wine is made in this one area of southern Rhone than in the entirety of the northern Rhone region.
Your Last Day in Avignon
Depart your hotel for the airport for your return home.