Avignon port, better known as “City of Popes,” is located on the banks of Rhône River. Avignon was given its nickname because it was home to several popes and anti-popes from the 14th to early 15th century. Thus, it is not uncommon to find much of the architecture of city marked by papal history. Ancient streets, renovated facade and courtyards of private mansions are bound to transfer you to papal times. The city of Avignon appears as a large oval-shaped area, and it is filled with gardens and parks. Avignon is surrounded by Durance, Paris Lyon, and Marseilles.
Avignon port of call acts as gateway to south France, and it is a preferred stopover of cruise ships visiting Cote d’Azur and Camargue. It is also a major stop between Paris and the Mediterranean. Avignon Festival or The Festival d'Avignon has added to the charm of city in recent times. Nearly 120, 000 visitors come to this festival every year in search of new talents.
Avignon is a shopper’s paradise. Rue de la République is the main shopping area of Avignon, home to well known stores like Monoprix and FNAC. To the east of rue de la République lies rue Joseph-Vernet, the best place to pick up some chic designer goods and clothes. If names like Christian Lacroix Boutique or Donna entice you, straightway head towards Rue St Agricol. Boutiques of local designers are also located in the same area.
Local goods that are ideal for gifting include melon jam, printed fabrics, olive oil, sugared fruits, and chocolates. All these can be purchased from rue des Fourbisseurs and rue de la République. Terre et Art, situated on rue des Fourbisseurs, is well known for pottery items. Wine connoisseurs need not be disappointed as stores such as La Cave du Bouffart and Découverte des vins de France stock some of the best wines of France.
Things to See
A must attraction of Avignon is, of course, Palais des Papes or the Palace of Popes. When popes used to reside here, it was considered to be the most powerful mansion in the world for obvious reasons. Today it is the biggest tourist attraction of Avignon where tourists are free to explore pope’s bedroom, magnificent frescos, Grande Audience Hall, and other rooms of the palace.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Doms, a 12th century cathedral, is another popular tourist attraction of Avignon. It is more popularly known as the last resting place of some of the popes who presided over Vatican of the North. Rocher des Doms , Musee du Petit Palais , Pont Saint Benezet, and Chartreuse de Villeneuve lez Avignon are other places of interest in Avignon.
Restaurants and Bars
Food in Avignon is mostly French, but with a provincial twist. One of the best places to enjoy some of the local delicacies is Le Jardin de la Tour. Situated right next to Palace of Popes is Restaurant Christian Etienne. Sea food and wine is the specialty of this restaurant. La Mirande, La Fourchette, and La Compagnie des Comptoirs are some of the other well known places to eat and enjoy.