Avignon is an enchanting medieval town in southern France, located in the region of Provence. Sometimes known as the city of the popes Avignon was once a sanctuary for 9 men who required amnesty from the antipathy of Rome. As soon as it was formed, these well-known men began an architectural quest and from this a preeminent town was created. These days Avignon is a crowd-puller for tourists in search of deep history and an atmosphere infused with intensity, which is very evident throughout the yearly drama festival.
Each July many thousands of tourists gather in support of this commemorated event, however it should be noted hotels may be rather expensive at this time. The centre of Avignon is surrounded by an imposing wall which was built in the 14th century by the occupying popes and was an indication of their intention to remain in the area. These outstanding walls are evident to this very day just like a great deal of the other ancient structures.
Avignon is an attractive and fabulous location in the southeastern part France, situated on the banks of the Rhone. It is the capital of the Vaucluse region and was categorized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. It is abundant with culture and the arts plus it offers the visitor the chance to enjoy festivals and various other thrilling points of interest. There is a great deal to enjoy here from museums, historical places, entertainment venues to theme parks.
The Avignon festival takes place each year in July, a film festival starts in advance of this and throughout this period the entire town is bouncing and alive with visitors. Depending on your preference for crowds it could be either the best time or the worst time to travel to Avignon. If you do wish to go during the festival time make your booking well in advance otherwise it could be virtually impossible to get a place to stay. Perhaps the best time of year to arrange your trip to Avignon is either June or September because the weather conditions are generally quite good. Apart from these two particular months the weather conditions are not that predictable.
One point of interest is Le Pont Saint-Benezet which is a ruined bridge quite near the Palais des Papes. This bridge was erected in the Middle Ages prior to the coming of the Papacy. Possibly in part to permit the local bishop to traverse the river to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, whereabouts the church authorities had been established as a result of Avignon’s notorious dirt and disorder.
Avignon Cathedral known as Notre dame des doms is a Roman Catholic cathedral situated beside the Palais des Papes in Avignon. The cathedral is a Romanesque structure, constructed in the 12th century and it continues to be the seat of the Archbishop. The most distinguished aspect of the cathedral is the gilded statue of the Virgin, which crowns the western tower. The mausoleum of Pope John XXII is among the most exquisite works inside the cathedral, it is a notable illustration of fourteenth century Gothic carving.
What to do and See in Avignon France
This Musee Calvet continues to be the Fine Arts Museum for Avignon, containing paintings, sculptures and artworks ranging from the 15th to the 20th century, which are housed in a stunning 18th century mansion. The Musee Calvet is definitely worth a visit, displaying a variety of wonderful works. The museum is in an attractive XVIII palace which makes the experience even more enjoyable. You can easily spend an hour or two here if you enjoy art and museums. Printed materials are provided to give a background to many of the works and there is sure to be something to please everybody. You can see paintings from a lot of different periods as well as Egyptian pieces and sculptures.
Musee du petit Palais
Not far from the frantic coffee shops and market region you come across the Musee du Petit Palais and its excellent collection of religious artwork. A number of these works date way back to the 13th century and have inspired many young artists who have been lucky enough to witness these creations. The museum enjoys a splendid collection of Renaissance paintings of the Avignon school. It contains 327 paintings from Italian and French primitive or otherwise early-renaissance painters which include works from Sandro Botticelli, Benozzo Gozzoli and Lorenzo Monaco.
Extending from the riverbank, the Pont d’Avignon is a tribute to history. Constructed in the 14th century in support of an emerging township, this captivating bridge was persistently pillaged by the perpetual path of the Rhone, in the end breaking down within the 17th century when maintenance was thought to be no longer possible. Nowadays it continues as a memorial to the victory of the natural forces of the river and continues to be possibly the most immediately identifiable characteristic of Avignon.
Shopping in Avignon
In addition to the traditional tourist attractions which may be undertaken in Avignon there are a lot of shops in the city and also retail parks on the outer edge of Avignon. The summer season markets contribute to the delightful experience of visiting Avignon. All throughout the year you can find street sellers offering wonderful works of art together with jewellery. In the summertime the markets really become busy and vibrant.
Situated in the principal strip which links the older quarter of Avignon with the stores, is a row of dining establishments and bars which are open all year round . It is here where you can discover the local shops. Also on the strip there are various other archetypal French markets, for example a flower market and a flea market along with the farmers market.
Theatre Festival Avignon
The Theatre Festival Avignon is celebrated all over the globe for its yearly theatre festival . Each July for three or perhaps four weeks Avignon is practically bursting with musicians, street performers, actors and naturally the ever-present tourists. The festival offers a reason to transform any type of space with adequate sitting room into a theatrical showcase and Avignon hosts a wide variety of entertaining shows.
The jewel of this whole festival continues to be the shows which are presented within the Pope’s Palace. Tickets may be considered expensive, however this is thought to be by numerous French and European actors the ultimate accomplishment of an acting career. While the great bulk of shows are, needless to say, performed in French there are quite a few foreign companies performing in the English language. It should be noted that attending events is not needed to soak up the incredible atmosphere which the street theatre offers.