When Avignon was chosen as the seat of Papal power, its immortality was assured. A peerless array of art and architecture dates from this time, centred around the vast medieval Palais des Papes. But this is also the home of the legendary Pont d’Avignon, leafy squares and boutique-lined cobbled streets just begging to be browsed.
800-year old ramparts enclose a treasure trove of culture and entertainment.
Things to do
Nothing prepares you for the looming presence of the Palais des Papes. The world’s largest gothic palace, built when Pope Clement V settled in Avignon, is awe-inspiring. So is time spent by the beautiful 12th-entury Pont St Bénézet, made famous by the French nursery rhyme – savour its crumbly elegance as the Rhone sparkles beneath its arches.
Avignon makes a superb point of departure for sampling the riches of Provence. A private Rhone Valley wine tour or visit to the sweeping, scented lavender fields are sensory treats. Or why not take Les Grands Bateaux out onto the Rhone to get a fresh perspective on this evocative region.
FOOD & WINE
A luxury break in Avignon is guaranteed to be a gastronomic treat. Wonderful restaurants, bistros and cafés have perfected the flavours of Provence, the Mediterranean and beyond with market-fresh ingredients. From dining rooms set in 12th-century palaces to sun-drenched terraces and boho brasseries, fine dining is assured.
Do try a papaline d’Avignon – a hit of potent Mont Ventoux herbal liquer wrapped in pink chocolate.
Top tip from SLH