What to see in France

Avignon, camping to explore the City of the Popes

Vue du Rhône sur le Pont d'Avignon, la cathédrale Notre-Dame et le Palais des Papes au coucher du soleil.
Vue du Rhône sur le Pont d'Avignon, la cathédrale Notre-Dame et le Palais des Papes au coucher du soleil.


Avignon is said to be small in size but big in heritage. Once the capital of Christianity, it has preserved a remarkable and surprising heritage, most of which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A city of art and history, it is also one of the few cities to have retained all of its ramparts. Today, the city is the capital of the theatre and the largest live performance event in the world. Every summer, the city puts street art in the spotlight with the Avignon Festival.

Campsites in Avignon

What could be better than camping when discovering a city like Avignon? Practical and often less expensive than a hotel, a campsite also offers leisure activities and entertainment that you won't find anywhere else. Ideal for holidays that appeal to the whole family, where you can mix cultural visits, relaxation and entertainment. The Pont d'Avignon campsite**** is the one I recommend for a visit to Avignon. It offers a swimming pool to cool down after your visit to the city, as well as a free river shuttle to take you directly to the historic city centre. What more could you want? Three other campsites are also available in the area: Bagatelle***, Les Deux Rhône** and Parc des Libertés.

The Palace of the Popes

It is the largest Gothic construction of the Middle Ages. Listed by UNESCO, the Palais des Papes, whose size is imposing since it is the same size as four Gothic cathedrals, is built against the Rocher des Doms, a rocky protuberance that overhangs the left bank of the Rhône, a strategy to avoid flooding. It was with the installation of Pope Clement V in Avignon that the palace was built. Successive popes contributed to its construction between 1335 and 1352. Inside, you will discover the flats of the popes and the frescoes by Matteo Giovanetti in the Saint-Martial chapel.

Around the Palace, enjoy a magnificent garden of almost three hectares, with a beautiful view of the entire Rhone valley and the castle of Villeneuve-les-Avignon from the panoramic terrace. Even higher up, an exceptional view awaits you from the Belvedere.

Night lighting for the Palais des Papes
Night lighting for the Palais des Papes© IStock

The Bridge of Avignon

The history of the Pont d'Avignon did not enjoy the same glory as the song that made it famous. The Saint-Bézenet bridge, as it is known, originally linked the two banks of the Rhône (12th century construction) and was composed of 22 arches. Destroyed by the various wars, it was often rebuilt and finally left with its last four arches. Today it is visited by 400,000 people a day and has also been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. Even if it is one of the must-see places in Avignon, it is not essential to go and dance there, you can just admire it in the distance.

The last four arches of the Pont d'Avignon
The last four arches of the Pont d'Avignon© IStock

Notre-Dame des Doms Cathedral

Situated near the Palais des Papes, and built on a rocky promontory, it is no coincidence that Notre-Dame des Doms Cathedral can be admired from Fort Saint-André in Villeneuve-les-Avignon and also from the top of the Alpilles, just like the Palais des Papes, almost 20 kilometres from its location. Roman Catholic, its construction dates from 1150 but was enlarged in the 14th and 17th centuries. It is here that the popes who lived in the palace are buried.

Notre-Dame des Doms Cathedral
Notre-Dame des Doms Cathedral© IStock

The historic centre

Now is the time to take a stroll through the narrow streets. The centre of Avignon is full of charming little squares with terraces where you can laze around and have lunch in the shade or just have a drink and then wander through the shops. Take a stroll to the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, the beautiful Place de l'Horloge or the charming Rue des Teinturiers. The Grand Marché is a must for the inhabitants of Avignon. Located on the Place Pie, it is a real Provencal market where you can even discover the recipes of a great chef every Saturday at 11am.

The museums

There are several museums to recommend in Avignon which justify the richness of its heritage. The Calvet museum offers a selection of the most beautiful paintings from the Renaissance to the 20th century. But also sculptures and drawings. It is the main museum of the city.

The Collection Lambert is housed in two sumptuous 18th century hotels in the centre of Avignon. It brings together major works from the 20th and 21st centuries. As a museum of contemporary art, it is an exceptional and unmissable place.

Finally, the Petit Palais museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located next to the Palace. Here you will find exceptional Italian and Provençal paintings such as Botticelli's Virgin and Child.



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