Well, it’s decided, on the occasion of a holiday in Provence or your next South of France tour, you are going to visit Avignon in 1 day. And, to make the most of this day, you want to visit all the must-see places in Avignon by doing a small walking tour.
So here is my itinerary which allows you to discover in 1 day the most beautiful places of Avignon and this by following my map of the itinerary in GPS pedestrian mode (see below)!
Where is located Avignon in France?
If, like me, you are not super talented in geography, you need to know that Avignon is located in the South East of France in the heart of Provence.
In the department of Vaucluse, on the left bank of the Rhône, the Cité des Papes as it is called is easily accessible by car from big cities like Marseille (1h30), Montpellier (1h30), Lyon (1h) or Toulouse (3h15).
It is also well served by the train, which takes you there from Marseille in only 30 minutes! Going there by train is very convenient because the station is central and you can do everything on foot without having to rent a car! For those who will go there by plane, the two closest airports are Nîmes (45 minutes by car) and Marseille.
How to visit Avignon?
Visiting Avignon can easily be done in 1 day. Indeed, all the sites of tourist interest are located in the old city inside the ramparts and can be discovered on foot. That’s why, I propose you a tour that you can do in 1 day (without visiting the museums) or in 2 days to have time to visit the museums.
The must-see places of Avignon in 1 day
To determine the stages in my walking tour, here is my list of the 10 must-see sites in Avignon:
- The covered market of Avignon
- The Historic Centre
- The Roure Palace
- Saint Peter’s Church
- The Popes’ Palace
- The Basilica of Our Lady of the Doms
- The Rock of the Doms
- The panoramic viewpoint
- The Avignon Ramparts – The Gateway to the Rock
- The Bridge of Avignon
I would have liked to add a visit to the Petit Palais museum which is located in the Archbishops’ Palace, Place du Palais. But honestly, it’s difficult to visit this museum in only 1 day and doing the tour I propose below. But for those who have a very fast pace of visit, it’s possible…
Avignon in 1 day – Map of my walking itinerary
Click on “More Options” on the map to follow the GPS
Avignon in 1 day – Visits of my walking tour
1) The covered Provencal market halls
My itinerary starts from the Hotel Cloitre Saint Louis that I had chosen because it is ideally placed to do this little tour (see details at the end of this article).
We will start the day with a visit of the covered market of the Halles d’Avignon which forms a gigantic Provencal market with 40 traders proud to exhibit their local products. It is early in the morning that I advise you to visit these halles (open from 6:00 am to 1:30 pm), so you can soak up its effervescent atmosphere, its perfumes and its southern accent!
2) Historic center of Avignon
Now take all the time you need to stroll through the narrow streets of the historic centre as long as they are not yet invaded by tourists…
3) Roure Palace
This magnificent 15th century palace has now become a museum of Provençal culture, history, traditions, language and literature.
4) Saint Pierre Church
St. Peter’s Church, built from 1385, cannot be visited inside. You will only be able to admire its architecture with its Provençal Gothic facade and its large portals.
5) The Popes’ Palace
Here we are in front of the largest Gothic palace in the world! Built in only 70 years, the Palace of the Popes is a fortress + a palace. It is the former residence of many Popes who succeeded each other there during the 14th century.
For this visit rich in historical explanations and anecdotes of all kinds, I advise you to take with your ticket (included in the price), the digital tablet Histopad. Indeed, it will allow you to relive in a playful and interactive way the splendours of the papal court in the 14th century!
6) The Basilica of Notre Dame des Doms
Built in the 12th century, modifications have been made over the centuries, such as the dome in the 14th century, the choir in the 17th century and the golden statue of Mary in the 19th century. This basilica now houses the seat of the archbishopric of Avignon as well as the tombs of various popes. This visit deserves at least 1 hour.
7) The Rocher des Doms
The Rocher des Doms is a beautiful 17th century park of 2.8 hectares situated on a rocky spur above the Palace of the Popes. You have to go there to cool off and enjoy the tranquillity of the gardens, the panoramic terrace and the pond. From the paved terrace, you can enjoy a magnificent panorama of the surroundings of Avignon, the Rhone valley and the castle of Villeneuve Les Avignon.
8) Panoramic viewpoint over the Rhône
Si vous continuez à monter, vous arriverez au Belvédère d’où vous aurez la plus belle vue de tout le parc.
9) The Ramparts of Avignon – Door of the Rock
The Porte du Rocher and the ramparts dating from 1355 form a fortification built against the invaders who threatened the city of Avignon in the Middle Ages. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ramparts encircle the old papal city of Avignon.
10) Avignon Bridge
The Saint Bénézet Bridge or Avignon Bridge became popular thanks to its famous song “Sur le pont d’Avignon”. It has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1995. When the 12th century structure was built, the bridge was 900 meters long and connected the two banks of the Rhone. Today, it comes to a halt before reaching the other bank and remains a key site in the history of the city of Avignon. To visit it, you can enjoy an audio-guided tour (included in the entrance ticket), films and exhibitions that tell the story of the bridge.
Accommodation in Avignon – Which hotel to choose?
For its historic and elegant building (16th century), for its ideal location in the historic centre of Avignon, for its restaurant, for its superb swimming pool and for its green environment in the city centre, it is definitely the Hotel Cloitre Saint Louis Avignon that I have chosen.
The little extra: it is a 5 minute walk from the train station (very convenient when you come by train) and for those who are by car, this hotel also has a private car park.
Still want some sunshine?
Here’s how to visit Nice in 2 days
or a road trip to Provence?