One Day in Avignon – The Best Avignon Sightseeing Guide
If you’re travelling to the south of France and wondering which beautiful places to go to…visit Avignon! One day in Avignon is enough time to see just how beautiful this town is. It’s a medieval city with a rich cultural heritage prime for those interested in art, architecture, history, or wine.
A day in Avignon will be action-packed with lots of attractions and fun things to do. Let this be your guide to the ultimate Avignon itinerary of the very best sightseeing attractions.
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Where is Avignon in France
Avignon lies in the southeastern part of France, in the Vaucluse department in the beautiful Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region. The city sits on the left bank of the Rhone River and most travellers will come from either Marseille (80 km) or Paris (650 km). Avignon can also be easily reached from the Luberon department known for its lavender fields and most beautiful villages like Gordes.
Is Avignon worth visiting
Oh most definitely, a bit resounding YES, Avignon is worth visiting! It’s the kind of city that if you have more than one day, take it! Visit Avignon and you’ll be treated to a beautiful historic city that appears to be a backdrop of a medieval fairy tale.
You’ll see below that what to do in Avignon for a day is a lot! So much so that you may decide to extend that 1 day in Avignon to 2 days!
Avignon makes for a great home base to explore more of the south of France. Popular day trips from Avignon include:
- Pont du Gard – an ancient Roman aqueduct designated a UNESCO World Heritage site is nothing short of impressive! Visit the museum to learn its fascinating history, and explore the surrounding park where you can hike, swim or go kayaking on the Gargon river
- Arles – a charming town famous for its Roman ruins, including the Amphitheatre and the Alyscamps. It’s where Vincent Van Gogh lived and was inspired to create some of his greatest works
- Nimes – an impressive Roman town home to some of the best-preserved Roman buildings in France, including the Arena, the Maison Carree, and the Tour Magne
- Rhone Valley – Avignon is located in the heart of the Rhone Valley, one of France’s premier wine regions. There are many vineyards and wineries nearby that offer tastings and tours
How to spend one day in Avignon
If you are wondering what to do in Avignon in one day, I’ve got you covered. Here is your Avignon itinerary that includes some of the city’s top attractions.
1. Palais des Papes
Start your day by visiting the Palais des Papes, the largest Gothic palace in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This impressive building was built in 1309 with 3m thick walls – can you imagine that?! Inside is a maze of galleries, chambers and chapels. It’s a bit overwhelming actually. But of all the things to see in Avignon, this is it!
To make the most of your time and experience, take a guided tour. By doing this, you will not only get skip-the-line priority access, but it’s the only way you will hear about the history of the palace and the history of Avignon. This 3-hour tour also brings you to Place de l’Horloge, the town hall with its clock tower and the theatre where you will end your tour with a glass of Côtes du Rhône wine. Check prices and book dates here.
- Address: Pl. du Palais
- Operating hours: open daily from 9am to 8pm
- Cost: adult/child €12/10
- Avignon sightseeing tip: Be sure to include a tour of the Avignon Cathedral – a 12th-century cathedral, with the tombs of Avignon popes
One of the fun things to do in Avigon is to visit its lively covered market at Les Halles d’Avignon. Avignon is famous for its daily market – full of local produce, meat, cheese, and other sweet pastries. There are plenty of market stalls offering everything from fresh sandwiches to seafood – it’s your choice! Pull up a bar stool, order a glass of wine and enjoy a delicious lunch alongside the locals.
- Address: 18 Pl. Pie (above the market is a multi-storey parking garage)
- Operating hours: open every morning from Tuesday to Sunday 6am to 1:30pm (weekdays) and 6am to 2pm (weekends)
- Cost: Free to enter
3. Old Town
Spend your early afternoon walking off your lunch through the maze of narrow streets in Old Town. Let your feet be your guide and admire the historic architecture and pop into any shops or galleries that catch your eye. Avignon is a beautiful medieval city with light-coloured buildings and pale green, cream or light blue shutters adorning every window.
Be sure to check out these two Avignon sights found in Old Town:
- Clock Square or Place de l’Horloge is a pretty square right in the heart of Old Town where a 14th-century historic clock tower sits
- Opéra Grand Avignon – an opera house that has been operating since the early 19th century – even though spending one day in Avignon won’t be enough time to catch a live performance, you’ll still want to admire the architecture of this building
If you like to seek out those secret places that are a bit off the beaten path and under the radar from most travellers head to rue des Teinturiers. This charming street can be found on the edge of Old Town and was one of my favourite finds. It’s a tree-lined street with a pretty canal on one side and buildings on the other. Another hidden gem found on this street is Chapelle des Pénitents Gris, a small chapel featuring 17th-century frescos.
4. Visit a Museum
Avignon is known for its art galleries and museums. Each of them is housed in former mansions which makes them worth visiting just to see the amazing architecture.
Spend your mid-afternoon visiting the most popular museum – the Little Palace Museum or Musée du Petit Palais. This museum features an impressive collection of Italian Renaissance art from the 13th to 16th centuries, including works by Botticelli, Carpaccio, and Bellini.
- Address: Palais des archevêques, Pl. du Palais
- Operating hours: Closed Tuesdays. November to February 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm, March to May and October 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm, June to September 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 7pm
- Cost: €8
Or, pop into any of these FREE museums:
- Musée Calvet – this art museum is located in a historic mansion and features an impressive collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the 15th to the 20th century (Address: 65 Rue Joseph Vernet)
- Musée Requien – a natural history museum features a collection of over 2,500 specimens of plants, insects, and fossils from the region. This is a popular museum for families. (Address: 67 Rue Joseph Vernet)
- Musée Lapidaire – This museum is dedicated to the ancient art of lapidary and showcases a collection of Roman, Greek, and Egyptian sculptures and inscriptions (Address: 27 Rue de la République)
5. Jardin des Doms
Now it’s time to climb to Avignon’s hilltop park – Jardin des Doms. This lovely park is located behind Palais des Papes. Not only is this a beautiful park where the former popes used to stroll, but it also offers the city’s best view. Meander your way to the viewing platform for a panoramic view of the Rhone River.
It also is the most scenic way to get to the last thing to see in Avignon.
6. Pont Saint-Bénézet
The Pont Saint-Bénézet, also known as the Pont d’Avignon, is a famous, UNESCO-status, medieval bridge that spans the Rhone River. It was originally built in the 12th century, and after several floods of the Rhone, only four of its original 22 arches remain today.
Fun fact: most have heard about Pont d’Avignon from the popular children’s song “Sur le pont d’Avignon”. Growing up in Canada, this was definitely a song taught to every French class in school.
- Address: Rhone River
- Operating hours: open daily – January 10am to 5pm, February 10am to 6pm, March to October 9am to 7pm, November to December 10am to 5pm
- Cost: €5
- Insider’s tip: there is a walking path along the Rhone river where you can take a photo of this bridge if you want to save time and the entry cost
Best Restaurants in Avignon
End your 1 day in Avignon by heading to one of the city’s amazing restaurants. After dinner, take a stroll back through Old Town under the glow of the lanterns where the streets take on an even more magical atmosphere.
Avignon has a vibrant food and drink scene, with many excellent restaurants and cafes to choose from. Here are a few suggestions:
- La Mirande: This Michelin-starred restaurant is located in a beautiful 18th-century mansion and features a gourmet menu that changes with the seasons. The setting is elegant and refined, and the food is a true culinary experience.
- L’Agape: This cozy restaurant is tucked away in the heart of the old town and features a menu of creative, modern French cuisine. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming.
- L’Epicerie: This charming cafe is located in the old town and features a menu of fresh, simple dishes made with local ingredients. It’s a great place to stop for a light lunch or a coffee and a pastry.
- La Cuisine du Dimanche: This casual restaurant is located just outside the old town and features a rotating menu of home-style French cooking. The atmosphere is friendly and laid-back, and the food is hearty and delicious.
- Le Goût du Jour: This Michelin-starred restaurant focuses on simplicity. Both the plating of food and ingredients mirror the same ambience in the all-white, modern decor. Let the food stand on its own.
Whether you’re looking for gourmet cuisine or simple, home-style cooking, there’s something for everyone in Avignon.
Is one day in Avignon enough?
Visiting one day in Avignon is enough time to tour Palais des Papes, stroll the Old Town, enjoy lunch at Les Halles d’Avignon and admire Pont d’Avignon.
Is Avignon a walkable city?
Yes, Avignon is a walkable, compact city. The Old Town is pedestrian-only. The best city parking can be found along the river near Pont Saint Benezet.
What is Avignon best known for?
Avignon is best known for its 12th-bridge and 14th-century papal palace. Beyond its long history, this medieval town is also known for its amazing museums and art.
France Travel Resources
For your France trip planning and inspiration, check out these other articles. If your itinerary has you going from Paris to Avignon, be sure to check out Paris articles too.
South of France
- Guide to Luberon villages in Provence
- 7 of the most beautiful villages in Provence
- The best markets in Provence – a daily guide
- Things to do in Nice (Avignon to Nice – 260 km)
- 5 hilltop villages close to Nice that are worth visiting
- Visiting the most beautiful village in France – Gassin (Avignon to Gassin – 200 km)
- The 21 best streets in Paris by arrondissement
- If you love pretty parks and hidden gardens you’ll want to know where to find them in Paris
- Where to find the secret covered passages throughout Paris
- One of Paris’ favourite neighbourhoods and what to do in Le Marais in the 3rd and 4th arrondissement
- The chicest neighbourhood in Paris – 6th Arrondissement with 19 things to do in Saint Germain Paris
- How to make the most of your visit to Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement
- Escape to one of two islands in Paris – Ile Saint-Louis in the 4th arrondissement
- Visiting the Champagne region in France – the capital city of Reims
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As a holidaymaker
Is Avignon worth visiting? Absolutely it is! Even if you can only spend one day in Avignon, it’s definitely the kind of medieval town full of history, charm and art that is well worth visiting.