What to See in One Day in Avignon France

If you’re travelling to the south of France and wondering which beautiful places to go to…visit Avignon, France!

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 in like visiting its Old Town, strolling its pretty streets, checking out a museum or two and visiting its top landmark, Palais des Papes.
I will share, based on my experience, the very best sightseeing attractions and some hidden gems too so you can build your perfect Avignon itinerary.

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Is Avignon Worth Visiting?

Oh most definitely, a big 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 can also be easily reached from the Luberon department known for its lavender fields and most beautiful villages like Gordes. I took a day trip to Avignon and fell in love with it immediately.

large bridge with multiple arches over water on a day trip from Avignon
Pont du Gard – a day trip from Avignon

Avignon makes for a great home base to explore more of the off-the-beaten-path places in the south of France. Popular Avignon day trips 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 best Avignon 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!

  • 📍Pl. du Palais
  • 🕤Open daily from 9 am to 8 pm
  • 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 on your Avignon things to do list

2. Lunch

One of the fun things to do in Avignon 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.

  • 📍18 Pl. Pie (above the market is a multi-storey parking garage)
  • 🕤Open every morning from Tuesday to Sunday 6 am to 1:30 pm (weekdays) and 6 am to 2 pm (weekends)
  • 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 while admiring 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. No matter the season, this is a pretty city to stroll.

courthouse on 1 day in avignon

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 is 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 is one of my favourite finds on the edge of Old Town. 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 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.

  • 📍Palais des Archevêques, Pl. du Palais
  • 🕤Open daily except closed Tuesdays. November to February 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm, March to May and October 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm, June to September 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 7 pm
  • €8
buidling in avignon with pale blue shutters in old town on 1 day in avignon

Or, pop into any of these FREE museums recommended to me by Avignon Tourism Board:

  • 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 (📍65 Rue Joseph Vernet)
  • Musée Requien: a natural history museum that features a collection of over 2,500 specimens of plants, insects, and fossils from the region. This is a popular museum for families. (📍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 (📍27 Rue de la République)

5. Jardin des Doms

archway with pond in a day in avignon

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

riverbank, river with bridge with 4 arches on one day in avignon sightseeing walk

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 a song taught to every French class in school.

  • 📍 Rhone River
  • 🕤 Open daily: January 10 am to 5 pm, February 10 am to 6 pm, March to October 9 am to 7 pm, November to December 10 am to 5 pm
  • €5
  • Insider’s tip: there is a walking path along the Rhone River where you can take a photo of this Avignon bridge if you want to save time and the entry cost

Best Restaurants in Avignon

pale building with iron balconies and sky in avignon in a day

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.

Visiting Avignon, you’ll be treated to its vibrant food and drink scene, with many excellent restaurants and cafes to choose from. Here are a few suggestions, and if you are staying nearby like I did you might be tempted to return to try more on this list:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

FAQ About a Day in Avignon

palace with tree on a tour one day in avignon

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

I hope this guide has been helpful in determining what to see in Avignon in a day.

Next, why not head to my Travel Guide of France? This page has my full list of articles that cover many amazing destinations in France, including Paris.