Welcome to your only list you will need for the best things to do in Avignon, France. Oh, what a GORGEOUS city. Seriously. Avignon is packed with great things to do, whether it is sightseeing, day trips, culture, nightlife. This fairly small city has a lot to offer.
In this travel guide, we will share with you the TOP things to do in Avignon with a big plus. We took the liberté to share more than just the main sights and top attractions.
Besides the Pope’s Palace and the world-famous Bridge (and its own song), we wandered around to have a closer look at things.
There are a few unusual things to do in Avignon, the classics, and plenty of opportunities to end the day with a wine in your hand.
Let’s start our list for Avignon activities with the most famous one…
1. Palais des Papes
This the Must-Do, and is on top of all lists for the BEST Things to do in Avignon: Palais des Papes.
It is one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in all of Europe. That tells you quite something. Avignon became the residence of the Popes from 1309 until 1394 (14th Century).
It is a massive building, very well preserved, stately, and monumental. This sight goes by the official name “Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge”. You will find it in Lonely Planet as #1 and every single guide for what to see in Avignon.
When it comes to sightseeing, I always try to see if it worth it the time and money to visit.
So, is it worth it to visit Palais des Papes?
A big YES!
The monument is already impressive from the outside and keeps impressing you with every step you take inside. With your entrance comes a free tablet to take a tour around the palace. When I visited, there were as well families, couples, and solo travelers alike. Everybody really enjoyed it, even the children.
This was surprising to me – read below why a tour of Palais des Popes is also interesting for families with children.
How to get tickets: You can purchase a single entrance ticket to Palais des Popes. Yet, I would recommend getting the combined ticket of Palais de Popes and Pont de Avignon (the bridge). It is cheaper as a package and trust me, you do want to visit the bridge as well (see #2 on this list!)
Good to know: The Audio Guide is free and included in the price. It is a tablet with a headphone. It works location-based. Meaning, when you enter a room, the device detects the room and starts the audio. On top of that, you can scan a coin to get a virtual tour of the room.
For nerds and kids: There is a game included in the tour. In some rooms, you can virtually collect coins. Keep an eye open and let your children now. This way they will have fun and you can learn the story behind the Palais de Papes.
2. Dance at the Avignon Bridge
The Avignon Bridge, also known as Pont Saint-Bénézet, is the #2 on your absolute Avignon must-see’s.
The half-bridge goes halfway above the river of Rhone. It looks odd at first. You will learn more about the history of the bridge with the free audio guide included in your ticket.
The song of the Over the Bridge in Avignon: “Sur le Pont d’Avignon” is a French song for children about the Pont d’Avignon. The song dates back to the 15th century. Of course, there were many songs about this spectacular bridge, however, all trace of these songs has disappeared, with the exception of this one.
Fun fact: Sur le Pont d’Avignon was sung at weddings in Normandy.
The original lyrics of Sur le pont d’Avignon:
Sur le pont d’Avignon,
L’on y danse, l’on y danse,
Sur le pont d’Avignon
L’on y danse tout en rond.
Les belles dames font comme ça
Et puis encore comme ça.
Sur le pont d’Avignon
L’on y danse tout en rond.
Here is a fun Youtube video of the song. You can practice already and sing along.
3. Place de l’Horloge
No worries, I don’t expect you to know this square. It is simple: Place de l’Horloge is located around the corner of Palais de Popes. Here you will find many restaurants, bars, street artists and even a carousel for children.
It is a great place to have lunch or dinner, although it goes without saying the prices here are usually a bit higher (still okay though!).
So if you are after a few nice things to do in Avignon for families, you just found one!
4. Eat away at Les Halles Market Avignon
Local markets are always a highlight, especially in France. And so in Avignon. Walk-in and take your time. You will find many foods to go such as Quiche, salads and of course, lots of cheese.
Especially in Spring and Summer, the facade of the market itself is worth taking a photo of. Have a look at my photo below.
5. Join the Theatre
When in Rome, do as Romans. When in Avignon, go to the theater.
Avignon is one of the cities in France with more Theaters per person. The hard task will be deciding which play to see, as there are so many.
Even though most plays are in French, worry not. There are plenty of plays where only gesture and mimics are used.
6. Hipster Things? Have a coffee at Café Tulipe
If you’re looking for someplace to get caffeine and just chill, you better check out Café Tulipe in No. 7, Rue Des Trois Faucons which is also good for catching up work.
They also have chairs and tables available outside if you want to feel more of the vibe of the street. The menu is great from breakfast to lunch, brunch, or just an afternoon snack, they got it.
Not to mention the wonderful coffee which many have come to try during their visit to the area. And aside from the hot beverages, they also offer fresh juices and teas.
So if you’re willing to try Café Tulipe, you can check them out at their Facebook account here.
Address: 7 Rue Des Trois Faucons, 84000 Avignon, France
7. More Hipster? Have a coffee at Le Bistro du Cabestan
The tiny corner coffee Le Bistro du Cabestan offers creamy coffee and yummy cakes and croissants.
Address: 13 Rue Collège de la Croix, 84000 Avignon, France
8. Smell the Lavender
Avignon is located in the Provence Region, known for its Lavender fields.
The beautiful and sweet-smelling lavender fields bloom from June to August in the area of the hilltop villages of Luberon, a region of Sault, and Valréas.
There is a lot of Lavender stores dotted around Avignon, you will run into a few for sure. You can buy anything with Lavender. From Soap to Towels and closet fresheners.
It is also worth it to consider a day trip to the beautiful Lavender fields located just outside of the city.
9. Cathedrale Notre-Dame des Doms
You will be able to find Cathedrale Notre-Dame des Doms in between Cathedrale Notre-Dame des Doms which is a very ancient structure.
Built during the 12th century, the cathedral is made with pure Provençal Romanesque style and was topped with a gargantuan Virgin Mary lantern. The cathedral is a perfect place to visit if you are into history and art.
Aside from this, the entrance is free of charge.
Address: La Cathédrale Notre Dame des Doms, place du Palais, 84000 Avignon
10. Get around with the small Train
The by far easiest and fastest way to get around Avignon is by taking the tourist train.
It stops at the main sights in Avignon. You can save your energy for actually spending your time inside the palace, for instance.
11. Wine Tasting
Personally, I love wine. And since France is big in the wine world, a wine tasting is a great idea for cities like Bordeaux, Avignon, Marseille, Lyon…