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Avignon is a charming town on the South bank of the Rhône River in the Provence region, and also's a UNESCO World heritage site. Within the city's still fully intact ramparts, monuments and edifices from a culturally rich past sprawl into the historic city centre. As everything is within walking distance, you can easily explore the city while strolling through its small cobblestone lanes. If you ever get lost, just look for the Papal Palace that is visible from almost anywhere in the city.
Beware: Avignon's climate is pleasant, but don't get fooled by the sunshine, as the mistral wind can blow surprisingly hard.
Palais des Papes
For a brief moment in time, Avignon was the center of the catholic world, as the popes left Rome and came to live in the Papal Palace, the world's largest gothic edifice. Seven popes have resided here. You can enter and visit, but the 20 rooms open for visitors are empty as most of the furniture got lost during the French revolution.
More info on the offical website.
Parc Rocher des Doms
Possibly more interesting is the garden next to the Papal palace. Make your way up the hill behind the main building for a view over the entire city. You'll see a sea of red roofs, the Rhône river, the Pont d'Avignon and in the distance even the Mont Ventoux, the highest mountain in the Provence region.
This large, modern building with a lush garden facade houses a colourful indoor food market. Here you can purchase all kinds of products from the Provence area: local vegetables, herbs, meats, olives and oil, and anything lavender-related. Locals chefs come here to buy fresh ingredients which they prepare later in the day. You could buy a baguette, some cheese and ham, a bottle of wine and go and you're all set for a picknick on the banks of the Rhone. Be sure to check the opening times, as it closes early in the afternoon.
Place de l'Horloge
As all roads lead to this place, it's impossible to miss. It's bursting with life and full of children begging for a ride on the carrousel. The square is also home to the city's 19th century city
Not much is left from the famous Pont d'Avignon from the nursery rhyme. The bridge, offically the Pont St. Bénézet, was constantly damaged by flood waters and repaired, until it was abandoned in the 17th century. You can still go on the bridge, to walk, or dance, but you have to pay a fee. We didn't do it, but apparently the view of the papal palace is very nice from there and the audioguides give a clear explanation of the history of the bridge.
If you want to see the bridge from another point of view, hop on the free ferry to the other side of the Rhone. This grass-covered river bank is also a lovely spot for a picknick or a short nap.city hall and opera house. It's touristy, but it's a great place to sit, have a drink and spend some time watching people
Rue des Teinturiers
This old cobbled street is known as the prettiest of Avignon. It has a river running down one side, with a few water wheels which were used to power the medieval cloth industry (hence the name: Street of the Dyers). The cobbled street is now home to a number of small shops, galleries, and outdoor cafes shaded by the ubiquitous plane trees.
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