Located along the banks of the great Rhone River – the gateway city to Provence, Avignon proudly shares its history and culture with curious visitors. Old, older and oldest are common elements within this city – remarkably inhabited continuously since the stone age. Arguably the most well-known attractions involve two historic sites: one that visitors often start their trip to the city with is the Pont Saint-Bénézet. This bridge ends about half way across the Rhone River and was built in the middle ages – today only 4 of the original 22 arches remain. Popular with those walking to the middle of the Rhone River and also with those taking river cruises to view it from mid river.
And visitors will quickly gravitate towards the worlds largest Gothic building, ‘Le Palais des Papes,’ (palace of popes) built in the 14th century for Popes who left Rome (because of various corruption). This palace is located within the confines of the old city walls – these imposing thick and tall stone walls are best seen from next to the Rhone River. Vehicles are not allowed at times within the walls – very pedestrian friendly inside with plenty of shopping and restaurants to keep one busy for a day.
During much of July Avignon turns into a stage for a series of musical and theatre productions (we heard over 1500 such productions are typically held during this time). Called the Festival d’Avignon this is one of the world’s great performing arts events (founded in 1947). Visitors will see colorful posters advertising specific events plastered on walls, windows, building exteriors and other highly visible places along the sidewalks. This is the only time of the year that such posters are allowed to be posted in public.
Avignon is an easy gateway to the famous lavender fields of Provence located about an hours drive to the tiny town of Sault (arguably the heart of lavender production in Provence).
For more information visit the official visitors site: www.avignon-tourisme.com