We brought visitors from the US on a whirlwind trip to France where we to see as much as possible in a weekend. The first day, we saw Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Orange. On the second day, we saw the Pont d’Avignon, the Palais des Papes and the nearby Pont du Gard before returning home. It was a full weekend, but worth it. Francophiles, don’t worry, this is the first of more trips to the south of France. We’re actually headed back tomorrow. On our whirlwind tour of Provence, we managed a quick stroll through Avignon. It is a charming town. While it is best known for the Papal Palace, it’s backstreets are worth a stroll.
The Place de l’Horloge, one of Avignon’s main squares is exactly how you’d imagine a square in the south of France. The only thing I didn’t see was the petanque (boules/bocce ball) court. It had grand buildings, a ferris wheel and was lined with outdoor cafes. Avignon has many squares, but part of its charm is that it is old enough to have narrow alleys leading off of them.
Signs of Avignon past as a religious center are everywhere.
The riverfront (of the Rhone River), parks and gardens of the Palais des Papes, provide welcome open and green space.
The gardens of the Palais des Papes even had a grotto…just like another mansion in California.
Oh yeah, the enormous city walls and ramparts are pretty cool too. Just make sure to avoid falling stones. The sign below translates to “Pedestrians do not walk along the ramparts risk of falling rocks.”