Avignon : Impressive City That Shines the Provence with a Legacy of Ecclesiastical Architecture

Avignon : Impressive City That Shines the Provence with a Legacy of Ecclesiastical Architecture

Avignon is the soul of Provence. It was once the center for the Roman Catholic church providing a home to the pope. It has been left with a legacy of ecclesiastical architecture that keeps soaring. Avignon is, however, popular for its annual art festivals in July that are the largest in the whole of France. With its many leafy squares super restaurants among other attractions, Avignon will give you the best sightseeing escapades. Below are just a few.

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Avignon : Impressive City That Shines the Provence with a Legacy of Ecclesiastical Architecture

1. Palais des Papes

Palais des Papes is an important medieval gothic building in the whole of Europe and is the largest gothic palace worldwide. This huge palace features 25 open spaces available for sightseeing tours, plenty of architectural marvels and is a host to many cultural events that take place in Avignon. The palace is of such great importance that it is part of the UNESCO world heritage site. Housed at this palace includes, chapels, ceremonial halls, cloister, the pope’s private abode together with the Musée de l'Oeuvre. Entrance to this place is priced at 12 euros per person with interactive iPads given to visitors to aid in guiding them through their visit.

2. Pont Saint-Bénézet

The Pont Saint-Bénézet is a popular yet important medieval bridge in the city of Avignon. The construction of the bridge took place from 1177 up until 1185. The bridge has 4 arches spanning the Rhone. The entry to the bridge is fairly priced and audio guides are also given to take you through. If you wish to spice up the sightseeing visit, you can get the boat ride ticket too so you are able to go under the bridge too and cruise along Avignon too.

3. Avignon Cathedral

Avignon Cathedral is right next to the famous Palais des Papes. This cathedral is able to fit perfectly without seeming odd from the surrounding buildings. The church has some great details which are bound to be present as it was built in the 12th century. Even though the interiors are not as unique posing the usual stained windows and plain design, the bell tower of the cathedral is capped with a 4.5-tonne gold statue of the Virgin Mary is what will get your attention. This is among its striking features from the outside. There is no entrance fee to this cathedral and all are welcome for sightseeing.

4. Rocher des Doms

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Rocher des Doms is a beautiful green and leafy oasis offering magnificent views. There are plenty of shady trees that provide adequate shade and fresh air on hot sunny days. Aside from the trees, there is a pond, river and a quaint tea shop in the vicinity. Since the park is situated on a hilly area, you get picturesque views of your surrounding. There are great photo opportunities for those with a passion for photography. If you are looking for a relaxed place where you can marvel at Avignon, this is the perfect bet.

5. Fort Saint-André

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Fort Saint-André is a fortress built in the 14th century. The place is rich in history and is a good stop if you would like to get an insight or two about the hegemony of the Capetian monarchy. Entrance fee is charged at 6 euros for tourists who are non-EU. Little ones are able to enter free of charge. Upon admission, you are given a brochure to guide you through the place. Since it is not crowded, you are able to take your time strolling every inch of the place. There is also a lovely cafe where one can stop for a snack after a hike to the fort.

6. Tour Philippe-le-Bel

Photo by Richard Pearson

Tour Philippe-le-Bel is a medieval tower in Avignon. It was used a symbol of the French terminus across the Rhone. Tourists get the opportunity of having great audio and video content that dig deep into some rich Avignon history including the middle age construction of the bridge. These videos give a virtual tour of the bridge which is very interesting. At the top of the tower, you are able to get remarkable views of Avignon. If lucky, you can tour on a day where there are exhibitions taking place.

7. Street of Dyers (Rue de Teinturiers)

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For over 500 years Rue de Teinturiers has been known to be a manufacturing street where dyes were made. A dozen paddle wheels that powered up the mills by moving water from the nearby water still remain in the vicinity. Most sightseeing tourists enjoy the strolls through the canal to see these vessels, some outstanding old houses together with browsing through the many shops that are famous to the locals. This narrow cobblestone street gives a historical ambiance that speaks of Avignon. Tourists will enjoy the funky vibe it has to offer.

8. Place de l'Horloge

Photo by Elliott Brown

Place de l'Horloge is one of the two amazing squares found in the old town and is always lively and buzzing with people. It is an ideal place to enjoy coffee or light lunch if not sitting by the benches and people watching. There are many things that will catch your eye including the hawkers who are selling merch such as soaps, linen, and other things. The area is also popular with bakeries meaning you can grab a pastry to go with your coffee. The beautiful and classic carousel is still operational which is amazing.

9. Collection Lambert

Collection Lambert is a great contemporary museum that appreciates the work of great artist Lambert. There are many exhibits that get to be showcased here which is a great plus. The top floor gains much attention as it is where the artist interviewed a Holocaust survivor. There was also a variety of comic book art all around which is very famous with the French. There are also photography exhibits which are interesting. A good thing about Avignon is the fact that discounts are given when you visit more than one museum.

10. Petit Train Avignon

Photo by jean-louis Zimmermann

For just 9 euros, you will get to enjoy a great trip around some amazing streets and sightseeing sites Avignon has to offer. The whole ride takes about 45 minutes which is enough to cover some amazing stops. Availed to you are audio guides which offer the commentary in a variety of languages. The whole trip is an uphill ride starting from the pope's palace taking you round some gardens and the old town which then later takes you back downhill to the same pickup point. As basic as it sounds, you will enjoy all the scenery and stops. This train ride is very enjoyable to the little ones.

◎ Closing

Avignon spans with adventure and fun. It is one of the main reasons why it roars as the soul of Provence. It still has remnants of its historical past lingering through its rampant-ringed old town trying to preserve its initial essence. The city is a good sightseeing option for those who would like something both flashy yet adventurous. The best time to visit is during the month of July when a massive art festival takes place.