12 of the Very Best Things to Do in Avignon, France

by Sam
12 Of The Very Best Things To Do In Avignon France

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Avignon, nestled in the heart of the Provence region, is often overlooked by tourists who prefer to explore the more popular areas of France.

Avignon is conveniently located close to many of Provence’s main areas, making it a common stop-off point. However, when I visited, I was struck by how charming and untouched the city was, and I would truly recommend it to anyone to explore it more deeply.

The city’s old town is home to so many hidden gems, and while you walk through the narrow streets and along the cobbled stones, you will leave wanting to explore more. 

There are so many brilliant things to do in Avignon to keep you busy. So, what should you do? Let’s get started!

Best Things To Do In Avignon

12 best things to do in Avignon

1. Visit the Palais des Papes

Located in the Palace Square of Avignon, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is perhaps Avignon’s most famous monument and a must-visit when travelling to the city. 

When me and my partner walked by Palais Des Papes, we was in awe of its majestic and enormous appearance. It stood out prominently from the surrounding structures and became an unmissable landmark that helped us navigate whenever we got lost. “How do we get to the square?” “Oh, there’s Palais des Papes. Let’s just walk towards that.

When you arrive in Pope Palace Square, you’ll instantly see its stunning gothic exterior, leaving you hopelessly wanting to pull your camera out for a picture.

Recommendation: Visit the square by the castle at night, as the castle is lit up and leaves an authentic ambience in the square. 

Palais des Papes in Avignon lit up at night time, illuminating the square.

Inside the palace, you’ll find large decorated rooms that the popes once used during their stay. What makes the experience better is the Histopads provided.

For every room you enter, it showcases what they looked like during the popes’ era and provides detailed audio information on its history. There is also an opportunity to visit its gardens; however, it costs €5 and is not worth it! (in my opinion) 

Oh, and not to mention, we had a lot of storms during our visit in Spring, so the Palais Palace proved to be a perfect shelter!

Popes Palace in Avignon

2. Walk along Pont Saint-Bénezet (Pont d’Avignon)

Looking for one of the best things to do in Avignon? This next monument is instantly recognisable from almost every postcard showcasing the city. 

The Pont d’Avignon was built in the late 12th century to provide a safe and easy crossing for pilgrims who were travelling to the famous Avignon Papacy, which was the centre of the Christian world at the time.

Due to various reasons, including war, floods, and high water levels from the Rhone River, the bridge has been severely damaged, leaving only four arches out of 22, which is a crucial feature you will notice when visiting.

Outside Avignon Bridge

When you arrive at the bridge, you will receive an audio guide that will run through different stations, provide detailed information on its history, and brief you on its significance to religious matters in the city. Tickets for the bridge and cost 

Top tip: For the best views of the bridge, walk along the park next to Pont Edouard Daladier across the Rhone River. For panoramic views overlooking the bridge, visit Jardin des Doms.

View of The Bridge of Avignon France

3. Explore Jardin des Doms

If you climb the stairs from Palais des Papes and past the monastery, you’ll stumble across one of Avignon’s best-hidden gems.

The Jardin des Doms park and gardens offer some of the best panoramic views across the city, making it a must-visit. 

The park’s garden boasts a variety of trees, flowers, and fountains, creating a serene atmosphere. It is worth visiting just to sit in one of its quaint outdoor cafes and overlook the glistening waterfalls with a refreshing drink.

Better yet, the park and gardens are free to enter. It is simply your go-to area for a picnic or a relaxing lounge in the sun! 

Jardin des Doms in Avignon
The view of the Avignon Bridge is stunning from Jardin des Doms!

4. Visit the square Place de l’Horloge

Just a short walk from Palais des Papas, you’ll find Place de l’Horloge, a prominent square where Avignon comes to life. Beautiful buildings with distinct architecture surround its square, including the Hotel de Ville and the Opéra Grand Avignon.

With plenty of establishments, it is a great place to walk around once you have finished admiring Avignon’s finest monuments.

During the warmer months, you’ll see several rows of restaurant tables spread out throughout the square for outdoor seating. These restaurants served delicious French food and were my go-to for dining out every night.  

The Opera House in Avignon

5. Explore the Avignon Cathedral

Perched next to Palais des Papes, the Avignon Cathedral has been a prominent religious building in the city since the 12th century.

The cathedral boasts an array of artwork and sculptures, including the Baroque high altar and the 14th-century Virgin Mary statue.

It is currently free to enter, and better yet, if you’re looking for a panoramic view of Avignon, climb to the top of the cathedral’s tower. Although it can be a challenging climb, you’ll be instantly rewarded with a fine shot of Avignon fit for your Instagram feed.

Side view of Avignon Cathedral overlooking more of Avignon

6. Venture into the Lavender Stores

A visit to Avignon would not be complete without exploring one of its Lavender shops, as the city is part of Provence, renowned for the production of Lavender.

In these shops, you can discover a wide array of Lavender products, including soaps, perfumes, and essential oils, available throughout Avignon.

If, like me, you love nice-smelling things, then walk right in. They offer plenty of testers, and the locals are happy to share their culture with you.

Lavender shop in Avignon

7. Try out the Local cuisine

Looking for another best thing to do in Avignon? The local food in Avignon is delicious, and I can’t recommend trying some of the local restaurants enough! 

There are plenty of restaurants with local cuisines that add that little bit of extra excitement each night. Perhaps the most famous Provence dish you’ll see on the menu is Ratatouille, a vegetable stew made from tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, and zucchini.

Ratatouille Avignon Provence food
Ratatouille is a must-have dish when in Avignon.

In the summer, many restaurants in Avignon accommodate outdoor seating, allowing you to enjoy your meal in the pleasant Mediterranean climate while taking in the picturesque surroundings.

If you’re looking for the best view while fine dining, then Palace Square is your go-to area for Avignon. The food is lovely, and most importantly, you get that scenic backdrop of Palais des Papas across your table, which is even more beautiful at night time.

Les Halles D’Avignon is also the best place to visit to purchase fresh produce, cheeses, charcuterie, and local specialities.

Many of its market vendors offer free samples, so there’s no pressure to buy anything. And if you want to try some of the best olives in the world, then you’re in luck.

The food and atmosphere here is immense!

8. Walk along the Rue des Teinturiers

This charming cobbled street wasn’t initially on my itinerary when I visited Avignon. When I was walking around the old town, I came across it by mere accident and instantly got sidetracked by its picturesque buildings, canals and waterwheels.

It was the prettiest gem I found alongside Jardin des Doms. If you’re looking for a quieter spot away from the crowds, this is 100% worth a visit! 

However, this street isn’t always quiet. In July, Rue des Teinturiers comes alive as it is one of the centrepieces of the Festival d’Avignon, with open-air theatre performances and street artists filling every inch of its cobblestone streets.

Rue des Teinturiers Avignon

9. Admire the art at Museum Angladon

For art enthusiasts, head to Museum Angladon. This elegant 18th-century mansion is where you will find an array of fine art, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other contemporary expressions,

It features some of the art’s most famous artists, including Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

As you walk through a gallery of famous artists, you’ll be stunned by its grand 18th-century architecture. It is a must-visit for art fans out there!

10. Get lost in the Old Town streets of Avignon

Avignon is a city full of hidden gems waiting for you to discover. Take a stroll through its quaint streets and find yourself lost in its medieval walls.

Maybe you’ll end up in Jardin des Doms, and next thing you know, you’re sipping a Merlot as you watch the fountains go by. 

From personal experience, some of the best things are found when you’re lost – hint, hint: ‘Rue des Teinturiers’. And don’t worry if you get truly lost; as I always say, just look up for the Palais des Papas!

Avignon's Old Town Walls
Avignon's Old Town Streets

11. Try the local wine of the Provence area

Are you a fan of rich red wine? If so, when you visit Avignon, one of the best things you can do is try Provence’s local wine. The region is known for producing some of France’s most exceptional wines and the world. 

Highly recommended – For the best winery experience in Provence, book a half-day trip from Avignon to the scenic vineyard of Châteauneuf du Pape. *Options for morning and afternoon are available.

During the trip, you will visit various cellars and have the opportunity to sample plenty of Provence’s finest wines. Our guide, Florian, was fantastic and helped a novice like me understand the culture of wine-making.

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or appreciate culture, experiencing the local Provence wine is a thrilling experience and 100% worth it!  

The village of Chateauneuf du Pape

12. Visit Nimes and Arles

If you plan to visit Avignon for over three days, I highly recommend visiting the neighbouring cities of Nimes and Arles.

These stunning cities pay homage to the Roman Empire era, with many well-preserved buildings still intact from centuries ago.

The arenas in Nimes and Arles are must-see attractions. When you enter the arenas, you can view their brilliant examples of Roman engineering, which served as the stage for centuries of gladiator contests and bullfights.

Outside the Amphitheatre of Nimes in France
Outside the Arles Amphitheatre in France

Perhaps my favourite highlight of the two cities was The Jardins de la Fontaine. With its stunning statues, fountains and lush greenery, it instantly became one of the favourite places to sit and relax when visiting the South of France.

If I could choose between Arles and Nimes, I would 100% choose Nimes!

Both had their own charms. However, Nimes offered more of a feel of a modern city while still having its Roman roots intact. 

Maison Carrée Nimes France
Maison Carrée is one of the Roman monuments in Nimes

How do I get Nimes and Arles from Avignon?

Nimes – Take the train from Avignon Centre or Avignon TGV to Nimes. The journey duration is 25-30 minutes.

Journeys are often frequent for departure and return, with the last train departing from Nimes around 9 pm. Tickets cost €8.41

Arles – Take the train to Arles station from Avignon Centre or Avignon TGV. When you arrive at Arles, you must walk 5-10 minutes to reach the Old Town. Click here for directions to the Old Town entrance from the station.

The train journey takes around 15-20 minutes. They are frequent, with the last trains leaving for return to Avignon around 9 pm. Tickets cost €9.10

Note: You can buy tickets on the Trainline app or at the kiosk machines provided at the station. If you want to save money, I suggest purchasing through the kiosks to avoid admin fees. My partner bought the tickets using the app for convenience.

Frequently asked questions best things to do in Avignon

Where to stay in Avignon?

For the best location in Avignon, stay near Palais des Papas in the Old Town. There are many affordable accommodations just minutes’ walk distance from the monument. 

I found that the AirBNBs were much cheaper options than hotels around the area! 

As Palais des Papas is near most attractions, I could instantly walk out of my apartment and pick up where I left off when exploring.

Avignon’s atmosphere is more magical at night! Being near the square meant I could walk back to my apartment without worrying about my way back. 

How many days do you need in Avignon?

I would allocate three days to explore Avignon fully. Though you may have visited all the attractions by day two, that extra day is needed to take a chill walk around and find more hidden gems.

Avignon also has plenty of towns and cities nearby in the Provence region, so consider adding extra days to visit those during your travels. 

Where else can you visit from Avignon?

Pont du Gard

This UNESCO Heritage Site is a testament to Roman architecture. Just a 20-minute drive from Avignon, you’ll see its huge frame of arches piled on each other for what I can only describe as ‘like a really intense game of Jenga’

Pont Du Gard offers both a museum and an exhibition, and visitors can enhance their experience by bringing food and having a little picnic near the bridge.

Also, you can participate in various water activities at Pont du Gard, such as paddle boating. Or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, bring your trunks and swim in the river.

The river is shallow and very welcoming in the summer, as it’s refreshingly cold! Most importantly, you’ll get that perfect backdrop of the bridge. 

Rowing in Pont Du Gard Provence in France


Often described as one of the most beautiful villages in France, Gordes is just a 50-minute drive from Avignon and a brilliant addition to your South of France itinerary.

Walking through the village, you’ll soon get lost in its charming streets, cafes, and shops. Being perched on a hill, it offers some of the most scenic views of Provence landscapes.

Overlooking the village of Gordes in Provence


Located just a 45-minute drive from Avignon, this little charming town impresses visitors with its rich history and well-preserved architecture. Perhaps its most famous monument is the Uzès Castle.

Climb to the top of the castle’s tower to get the best view of the town while overlooking the stunning landscapes of Provence.

If you have time, look around the town and consider visiting the Uzes market. It is only open Wednesday and Saturday from early morning to late afternoon. Wander around and try some of Uzes’s cheese or wine. The cheese is honestly delicious!

Recommendation: Allocate around 3-4 hours to explore Uzes fully.

Shops in Uzes France
There are delights in every store in Uzes.

If you plan to visit both Gordes and Uzes in a day, which is easily feasible, you will need to account for the driving time to one another, which takes roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes. Both places are incredible places to indulge in Provence culture!


Just a 45-minute train from Avignon is France’s second city. Marseille is a must-visit area in France from Avignon if you have extra days allocated for your travels.

Recommendation: Allocate 2-3 days to explore Marseille fully.

The main attractions in Marseille are Notre Dame de la Garde, Cathédrale La Major, and Château d’If.

Notre-Dame de la Garde – The Basilica is the highest point in Marseille and requires a 30-minute hike to get to the top. The views from the top are tremendous, offering a panoramic view across the whole of Marseille. The only downside is the waiting time to enter the Basilica, as it can take hours to queue up to enter, especially in peak tourist seasons.

Cathédrale La Major- The cathedral is a masterpiece, with its Byzantine and Romanesque architecture, difficult not to gaze upon while walking along the harbour. The insides have intricate mosaic designs, with colourful stained glass windows. A well-recommended visit! 

Château d’If  For Mount Cristo fans, Château d’If is a much-needed visit. During your time there, you will see the old prison cells that were once in use for decades, including an additional cell produced in tribute to the book for the character ‘Edmond Dantès’. 

To access Château d’If, you must take a ferry from Vieux Port. This cost me €11 for admission to the island and the ferry journey (including return).

Chateau dIf Marseille France
Château d'If is a must-visit in Marseille.

Final thoughts on the best things to do in Avignon

With all that being said, Avignon is truly a city that cannot be slept on. My partner and I spent four days here, and we’re planning our next trip to Provence soon. It really does leave an instant good impression on you!  

Avignon offers a glimpse into the past and a chance to experience the authentic French lifestyle as you wander through its walls, from the Gothic architecture to the narrow, cobbled streets. It is a must-visit city in the Provence region. 

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