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How to Spend the Perfect One Day in Avignon, France (2024)

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Planning to spend one day in Avignon? In this guide, we’re sharing a complete itinerary, including the best things to do, places to eat, hotel recommendations, and a map.

Avignon is one of the most visited cities in Southern France and is renowned for its medieval architecture, rich history, and picturesque surroundings. It’s a must-visit on any Provence itinerary.

If you have just one day in Avignon, you can comfortably explore the city’s highlights. Start with the iconic Papal Palace, the largest Gothic palace in the world that was once the home of the papacy in the 14th century.

Make your way to the Rhône River to walk across the Pont d’Avignon, a bridge dating back to the Middle Ages that was made famous by a popular French nursery rhyme.

We have been to Avignon many times over the course of 8 years, taking friends and family with us, and we have put together the perfect one-day itinerary for your visit.

One Day in Avignon Itinerary

Pont d’Avignon (Pont Saint Bénézet)

Pont Saint Benezet, more famously known as Pont d’Avignon thanks to the popular French nursery rhyme titled “Sur Le Pont d’Avignon.” You may have heard it? It goes a little something like this:

Sur Le Pont d’Avignon, l’on y danse, l’on y danse
Sur Le Pont d’Avignon, l’on y dance tous en rond

On the bridge of Avignon, we’re all dancing, we’re all dancing
On the bridge of Avignon, we all dance in circles

I first learned this catchy song during a 2-month stay with a local family in Southern France, just 45 minutes north of Avignon. I haven’t gotten it out of my head since then… and that was 8 years ago!

The Pont d’Avignon, built in the late 12th century, was one of a few bridges that crossed the Rhône River at the time. Thanks to this bridge, Avignon became an important center of trade during the Middle Ages. Revenue from tolls collected for crossing the bridge significantly contributed to the city’s prosperity.

Unfortunately, the bridge suffered repeatedly from conflict and flooding, leading to multiple collapses. After its final destruction in the 17th century, it was never rebuilt.

Originally, the bridge had 22 arches, extending over 0.5 miles (920 meters) across the Rhône River. Today, only 4 arches remain, and you can walk across these remnants to enjoy stunning views of the river.

Practical Info: Full price tickets cost €5 per person. You can purchase a combined ticket for both the Palais des Papes and Pont d’Avignon for €14.50. Opening hours from November to February are 10:00am – 5:00pm. March to November from 9:00am – 7:00pm.

Book this 3.5 hour walking tour around Avignon’s highlights with a local guide, including the Palais des Papes.

Palais des Papes

In the early 1300s, the Papal residence was relocated from Rome to Avignon thanks to the newly elected French pope, Clement V, amidst unrest in Italy at the time.

The shift marked the beginning of the Avignon Papacy, and the Catholic Church stayed in Avignon for nearly 100 years throughout the 14th century.

This period saw the succession of nine popes and the construction of the city’s architectural highlight: the Palace of the Popes, or Palais des Papes. The palace was built under the guidance of Pope Benedict XII and Pope Clement VI.

Today, the Palais des Papes is the largest gothic palace in Europe. You can explore this historic palace by taking a self-guided tour.

While the interior may not boast vibrant Frescoes or ancient Catholic artifacts, it’s still worth visiting. The palace interiors are relatively bare, yet the experience is enriched by the use of a “Histopad.”

The “Histopad,” or iPad, brings the palace back to life through augmented reality. As you navigate through the various rooms, the tablet displays what each room would have looked like during the 14th century and also explains the function of each room.

This makes the visit much more interesting and educational, providing a unique way to learn about the historical significance of the palace, and its role in the history of Avignon and the Catholic Church.

We spent about 2 hours here.

Practical Information: Full price tickets cost €12. Additional €5 to visit the Pontifical Gardens. You can purchase a combined ticket for both the Palais des Papes and Pont d’Avignon for €14.50. Opening hours from November to February are 10:00am – 5:00pm. March to November from 9:00am – 7:00pm. Purchase tickets online in advance during peak tourist season (June – September).

Place de l’horloge

The Place de l’Horloge is the main square in Avignon, with the City Hall at its heart. This lively area is lined with cafes and features a charming carousel and a theater.

Historically, it served as the market square where locals gathered to buy and sell goods during Roman and Medieval times.

If you find yourself with some spare time in the afternoon, the Place de l’Horloge is the perfect spot to enjoy a drink on a sunny day and indulge in some people watching.

Les Halles Market

Les Halles is a permanent, covered food market in the heart of Avignon. Inside, you’ll find everything needed to prepare a delicious Provencal meal. The market boasts an array of fresh produce, bread, cheese, seafood, pastries, cured meats, spices, olives, and wine.

It’s the perfect place to buy everything to make a fresh French picnic, and we highly recommend doing just that for lunch.

You can also choose to dine at one of the market’s restaurant stalls if you prefer. Cuisine Centr’Halles is known for its affordable seafood, while La Cabane d’Oleron offers a more traditional sit-down experience, serving mainly oysters.

During our visit, we picked up some fresh salads from a small cafe inside, along with some bread and cheese for la simple yet tasty lunch. Conveniently, there are picnic tables just outside the market where you can sit and enjoy your meal.

Practical information: Les Halles is open Tuesday to Sunday from 6:00am – 2:00pm. Closed Mondays.

Rocher des Doms

As you exit the Palais des Papes, turn right and follow the pathway leading up to Avignon Cathedral. Take a moment to step inside and admire the church, then continue along the path until you reach the Jardin des Doms.

From this vantage point, you get the best views overlooking the Pont d’Avignon, beautifully framed by vineyards in the foreground. Continue your walk past the pond, towards the city, and enjoy the picturesque view of Avignon’s enter from above.

If you need a break, stop by the Buvette du Rocher des Doms cafe near the pond for a refreshing drink, or simply relax on one of the benches in the garden.

Visit a Museum

Avignon is home to quite a few museums, and below, we highlight the top three you should consider visiting.

Petit Palais Museum

In the 14th century, the Petit Palais served as the Cardinal’s Palace during the Catholic Church’s tenure in Avignon. This “small palace” is home to an exquisite collection of Italian paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages, featuring works by renowned Italian artists Botticelli and Carpaccio.

For a comprehensive experience, we suggest visiting the Petit Palais either before or after your visit to the Palais des Papes.

The museum is free to visit. It is open Wednesday – Monday (closed Tuesdays) from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM.

Musée Calvet

The Musée Calvet is Avignon’s fine arts and archaeological museum. The collection spans from prehistoric times to the 20th century.

Highlights include ancient Egyptian sarcophagi and artifacts, as well as impressionist paintings.

The museum is open Wednesday to Monday from 10:00am – 1:00pm and 2:00pm – 6:00pm.

Musée Angladon

The Musée Angladon is a house museum featuring the impressive art collection of French couturier Jacques Doucet. The museum showcases artworks by French masters, such as Degas, Cézanne, Manet, Sisley, and other European artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, and Modigliani in a unique setting.

The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday (closed Mondays) from 1:00pm – 6:00pm. Full price tickets cost €8 per person.

Wander the streets

Avignon is full of charm. Take time to meander slowly through its quaint streets. Discover some of the local boutique shops selling lavender scented soaps and perfume. Pause for a moment at a small cafe and soak up the Provencal sun.

Below, we are sharing some must-visit stops around the city.

Rue des Teinturiers

Translating to “Dyer’s Street,” Rue des Teinturiers was the heart of Avignon’s thriving textile industry between the 14th and 19th centuries. Alongside the historic street runs a small canal, sourced from the Sorgue River, lined with several waterwheels once used to power the factories.

Today, the street is home to a variety of boutique shops and cafes, where you can shop or enjoy a shaded stroll.

Place des Chataignes

A small, narrow street with two connecting squares, shaded by tall plane trees. Historically, the squares were filled with chestnut (chataignes) trees, which inspired its name. It’s a picturesque spot to experience the quieter side of Avignon.

Church of Saint Pierre

The Church of Saint Pierre, a hidden gem dating back to the 14th century, deserves a quick visit. Don’t miss its detailed wooden doors and beautiful interiors.

Place des Corps Saints

Known for being one of the most lively squares in Avignon, Place des Corps Saints offers an idyllic setting with its central water fountain surrounded by tall trees. Here, you can sit, relax, and enjoy the local side of the city.

Afternoon Tea at La Mirande

Hotel La Mirande is a luxurious 5-star hotel located in the heart of Avignon. The hotel is known for its sumptuous decor featuring 18th century fabrics and wall coverings that create an elegant atmosphere all throughout.

Staying at La Mirande is an experience in its own right, so if you have the opportunity to book a room, don’t hesitate. Otherwise, to experience the hotel’s grandeur without paying the pricey nightly rate, you can enjoy afternoon tea in their tea room.

Tea time at La Mirande is from 3pm to 6pm daily without the need for reservations. The menu is a la carte, offering a selection of fine teas and patisseries du jour (daily pastries).

Avignon Festival

Every year in July, Avignon transforms into a grand theater for its beloved performing arts festival. The Avignon Festival features theatrical performances, films, exhibitions, and various other events, all taking place across numerous venues throughout the city.

This popular event attracts thousands of spectators, so be prepared for higher prices and larger crowds during this time.

The 2024 festival dates are set from June 29th to July 21st. To book tickets or to learn more about the Festival d’Avignon, you can visit the official website.

Is one day in Avignon enough time?

One day in Avignon is sufficient to see the city’s main highlights outlined in this itinerary. However, if you plan to explore the broader region to visit other nearby attractions, such as Pont du Gard, Arles, or Aix-en-Provence, Avignon serves as an excellent central base.

Consider staying for a few days, using the city as a starting point for several day trips. The train station in Avignon is also a great hub for access to the major cities in the region.

Map of Avignon

This map includes the best things to do with one day in Avignon.

To save the map to Google Maps on your phone or computer, click on the star next to the title. Once you do this, you’ll be able to find the map in your “saved maps” list on your phone.

To see a list of all the items on the map, click the box with arrow on the left. To enlarge the map, click the box on the right.

Where to eat in Avignon

La Mirande: Enjoy a taste of Provence at this 1 star Michelin restaurant located inside of the luxury hotel, La Mirande. The food is sourced locally and is based on seasonal ingredients.

La Fourchette: A charming bistro serving a menu with a twist on traditional French classics.

Fou de Fafa: A cozy restaurant with a deliciously classic menu at an affordable price point.

Acte 2: A Michelin recommended restaurant with a fresh and seasonal fixed menu.

Numero 75: A lovely restaurant with outdoor seating and a fantastic selection of French Provencal dishes.

Restaurant Sevin: A high-end restaurant serving impeccable dishes with both an a la carte and set course menu.

Patisserie Vernet: Our favorite pastry shop in Avignon with a wonderful selection of delicacies.

Where to stay in Avignon

Luxury HotelLa Mirande | A beautiful 5-star hotel with stunning 18th century decor located next to the Palais des Papes.

Boutique HotelHotel De L’Atelier | A wonderful boutique hotel with affordable rooms located in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, just across the river.

Mid-range HotelLes Jardins de Baracane | A fantastic Provencal hotel located in the center of Avignon with a lovely pool and garden.

Bed & Breakfast: Face Au Palais | Enjoy a quiet oasis in the heart of Avignon at this charming family-run hotel with a beautiful garden and charming rooms.

Budget HotelHotel Boquier | A budget-friendly hotel located near the center with charming rooms.

How to get to Avignon

By Train

There are 2 train stations in Avignon: Avignon Centre and Avignon TGV. High-speed trains stop at the TGV station and regional trains stop at the Centre station.

  • Avignon TGV Train Station: Located a few kilometers outside of the center of Avignon, you can either take a local shuttle bus, or hop on the train that connects the TGV and Centre-Ville station. The ride is only 5 minutes by train and departs once every 30 minutes. Tickets to the center from this station cost around €2.30 one-way.
  • Avignon Centre Station: This station is located right outside of the city walls. From the Centre-Ville station, it’s a short 5-minute walk to the center of Avignon and a 12-minute walk to the Palais des Papes.

By Car

We recommend renting a car for your trip to Provence, as it’s the easiest way to explore some of the smaller towns.

You can rent a car from the Avignon TGV station. Several rental car companies are located in the parking lot just outside of the station. We’ve rented a car from here a few times, and it’s quick and convenient.

There is plenty of parking available in Avignon. You can either pay to park underground at Parking Palais des Papes, this is the most central parking lot and is closest to the main sights.

Otherwise, you can find free parking at an outdoor lot outside of the city walls. We usually park in one of the free lots – look out for P Gratuit signs – and it’s just a short walk to the center.

We recommend booking your rental car through Discover Cars, or go-to rental car website for Europe.

By Bus

Avignon’s bus station is located next to the Avignon Centre-Ville train station. From here, you can get to and from the Pont du Gard and many other towns around Provence, such as Aix and Arles.

More Information for your trip to Provence


France Travel Insurance – Should you get travel insurance for France? YES! We always get travel insurance before all of our trips for peace of mind. Check out Travel Insurance Master to find the best plan for you.

France Rental Cars – We’ve rented a car in France many times, and it’s definitely the most convenient way to get around the countryside. We rented our car through Discover Cars (our go-to rental agency), which helps you find the best rates no matter where you are traveling.

France Phone Plans – If your phone plan does not offer free coverage in France, then we suggest getting an eSIM. We used Airalo during our trip to France, and we had fantastic coverage the entire time. It’s easy to download and you can even top up via the app if needed.

France Hotels – Wondering where to book your accommodations for France? We’ve been reserving all of our hotels through Booking for years. Their messaging tool makes it easy to communicate with the hotels, and there are endless options to choose from.

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