The best time to be in Avignon is when it’s still quiet in the morning and only children and their parents are walking to school. The air is cooler inside the walls and with the cobbled stones and ancient everything, it gives you a feeling like no other.
This is why I love Avignon. The feeling you get while being inside those beautiful old walls, meant to keep you safe. You can spend hours (and I did) walking around and exploring everything this town has to offer. But, if you’re not like me and more like my husband, you won’t be content just sitting on a bench under a tree beside a paddle wheel all morning. Here are my favourite 8 things to do in Avignon:
Walking Around the Old Village
I promise, it’s more fun than it sounds. Take a morning walk with a café au lait in hand and a croissant in the other and drink it all in. I went for a wonderful walk by myself one morning and stumbled upon Nico’s, an adorable café that was just outside my airbnb.
Psst this is where we stayed and I highly recommend it. Absolutely beautiful apartment and the owners are wonderful.
Palace des Papes
This was something I wasn’t truly interested in seeing until I arrived outside of the magnificent building. The Palace des Papes is located in a gorgeous square and looms above with all its grandeur. Once I arrived in the square and ‘stumbled’ (because it’s hard to stumble onto a large building) upon it, I was hooked.
There isn’t much inside, it’s missing quite a bit of furniture, but you can get little tablet things that show you what it used to look like.
And, perhaps my favourite thing about it, you can buy the teas that each pope liked to drink! I bought some for my parents and now wish I had bought some more myself. Whelp, guess I gotta go back!
The Unfinished Bridge
It’s literally a bridge that stops about halfway over the river. Seems ridiculous, but it’s pretty neat to see!
Swim in Some Aquaducts
Holy. shit. guys. You can actually go and swim in an aquaduct (The Pont du Gard). Like, it’s an actual thing.
It’s also not a thing to do specifically IN Avignon, but it’s worth the drive.
You have to pay to get into the park, but once inside you’re free to roam and explore the grounds. There are restaurants if you’re feeling peckish and didn’t pack a picnic, you can go for some light hikes, you can walk across the aquaduct, or you can swim nearby it!
Check out Some Art in a Cave
You have not lived until you’ve seen some art in a cave. Honestly, regular art museums all suck, now. They called it a cave, but it was really a bunker, which was actually really a quarry. We got to see Van Gogh, but they hold different shows throughout the year. It’s also right next to the ruins of a medieval castle, so you can do two in one day!
We were told to check it out by our hosts, and I thought that it sounded boring and maybe we’d see it if we had some time. But, it’s not. It’s really quite cool and one of my favourite experiences.
See Remnants of a Different Era
Y’all, medieval castle ruins are everything. While you won’t find sweet furnishings here (as you won’t find many walls here), you can see some pretty sweet weapons and remnants of a time long ago. And, that’s pretty damn cool.
This is the castle ruins that are right next to the cave paintings show, so you might as well hit both while you’re there! Check it out here.
If that doesn’t get you hopping, there’s an amazing sweets shop in the little village that made my day.
Check out the Large Covered Market
Now, I’ve been to a french market a time or two, I’ve even been to a french open-air book market in Nice. While this market isn’t an open air market, which hosts all sorts of wonderful charisma, it is fun to walk around, checking out the spices and meats and vegetables.
You can also get some delicious chocolates for a reasonable price. This is where I looked like an idiot as I had 5 tiny, delectable chocolates and was beyond confused when the woman behind the counter stated that it would be less than 4 euros. Assuming I had forgotten all the french I learned, I stared stupidly at her, until my husband confirmed that, yes, two European ‘toonies’ will do the trick. Luckily, we explained in our heavily English-accented French that we had thought it would be way more!