Only 35 minutes from the hotel
Avignon has inherited an exceptional heritage from its flamboyant past as the capital of Christianity, much of which is listed as world heritage by UNESCO.
Located at the foot of the Rocher des Doms, crossed by the Rhône, and protected from the Mistral wind by its old city walls, Avignon (40 km from the hotel) is a must-visit on your trip to Provence. A town of art and culture at the meeting place of three departments (Vaucluse, Bouches-du-Rhône and Gard), Avignon sits elegantly along the banks of the river. The former Papal City (seven popes resided here between 1309 and 1376, along with two antipopes thereafter) has not only managed to preserve superb monuments from its illustrious past but it also successfully becomes an immense open-air theatre during the month of July thanks to its theatre festival, where everyone can join in.
All year round, travel back in time to the Palais des Papes, dance on the Pont d’Avignon, and marvel before the treasures of the Petit Palais.
The Palais des Papes d’Avignon is the largest Gothic palace in the world (15,000 m² of floor space, the equivalent of four Gothic cathedrals). The former papal palace boasts 25 places to visit, including the staterooms, the cloisters, and the private apartments of the pope, decorated in grandiose murals by the Italian artist Matteo Giovannetti.
The Pont Saint Bézenet, better known as the “Pont d’Avignon” (Avignon Bridge) is a real technical feat! Built from the 12th century onwards, it used to connect both sides of the Rhône. A legendary and iconic monument of the area, only four of its original 22 arches remain today. This architectural oddity, which has raised many questions and interpretations, some more fanciful than others, has only accentuated the aura of this bridge, famed the world over thanks to the song “Sur le pont d’Avignon”.
The Musée du Petit Palais, located just beyond the Palais des Papes, is one of the great museums of medieval art in Europe. It houses a unique collection of paintings from the Middle Ages and the Italian Renaissance (with more than three hundred Italian primitives), including the Campana collection, an important reserve belonging to the Musée Calvet (Avignon School from the 13th to 16th century), and medieval sculpture from the 12th to 16th century from Avignon and its surrounding area.
“Intra-Muros” is what the people of Avignon call the part of the city inside the walls. At a length of 4.3 km, these fortifications designed to repel invaders have also helped (and continue to help) protect the inhabitants from flooding from the Rhône. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these ramparts surround the old town and give it a special, timeless atmosphere.
The Notre Dame des Doms could almost overshadow the Palace of the Popes. With its majestic gilded lead statue of the Virgin Mary touching the sky and dominating the Rhône Valley from the Rocher des Doms, this religious building, built in the 12th century then modified in the 15th and 17th centuries is worth a lengthy visit.