Top 5 things to see in Avignon

With a rich history from early Celtic beginnings, to being the residence of the Pope and central to the French Revolution, Avignon is a must visit destination. Whether you enjoy beautiful architecture, fascinating history or delicious food, it’s easy to spend a couple of days strolling the cobblestone streets and discovering the sights of this ancient city.
To make sure you tick off the best things to do in Avignon, here are our top five favourite things to see.

1. Palais des Papes

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Palais des Papes, also referred to as the Pope’s Palace is an emblem of the city and one of the top attractions you have to see during your visit to Avignon. Palais des Papes was named after being built in the 14th century to house the Popes who fled to Avignon from Rome.

Today, Palais des Papes is the biggest Gothic palace in all of Europe and visitors can tour through more than 20 rooms including the pope’s private chambers and admire the beautiful frescoes painted by the Italian artist Matteo Giovannetti.

Palais des Papes

2. Pont d’Avignon

Pont d’Avignon also known as Pont Saint-Bénézet is a famous medieval bridge built in the late-12th century linking France with Papal Territory positioned across the Rhône River. Today, only the Philippe le Bel tower and four of the 22 arches remain, due to severe flooding in the 17th century which destroyed most of the arches.

Admire Pont d’Avignon from the Sun Deck of your Emerald Liberté Star-Ship or walk over the bridge and learn about the fascinating history. You might even hear the famous song, “Sur le pont d’Avignon, On y danse, on y danse. Sur le pont d’Avignon, On y danse tout en rond.”

3. Explore the historic centre

During your free time, the historic centre of Avignon is well worth exploring. Stroll the cobbled laneways and browse through the boutique shops. Avignon’s main square, the Place de l’horloge (Clock Tower Square), sits in the heart of Avignon where you can admire the 19th century city hall and opera house.

During the Avignon Festival in July, the Place de l’Horloge comes to life with street performers and shows throughout the day and night.
Avignon Historic Centre

4. Les Halles Market

If you love food or simply want to explore the local French produce, a visit to the Les Halles Market is a must. This covered market is open Tuesday to Sunday from 6am until 1:30pm on weekdays and until 2pm on weekends.

Home to more than 40 vendors, this is where you can see the beautiful Provencal produce including cheese, charcuterie, fruit and veg, fish and meat which will leave you simply salivating. Try the freshly shucked oysters or soak up the atmosphere and people watch over a drink. Of course, Avignon is a foodie paradise so give yourself enough time to discover the cute cafes and restaurants that line the streets of the city.

5. Excursion to Pont du Gard

For those with more time in Avignon, a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed site of Pont du Gard is a must. This ancient Roman aqueduct was built in the first century AD and originally served as an aqueduct until the 6th century before becoming a tollgate in the Middle Ages.

Between the 18th and 20th centuries it was used as a road bridge. Today it is regarded as one of the most beautiful Roman constructions in the region, standing 48 metres tall, with three vertical rows of arches; 6 at the bottom, 11 in the middle and 35 on the top.
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