France: Homestyle Inc
Stay in style, rent with confidence
Distinctive homes, exceptional service
Email Phone

Avignon:  Papal Palaces in Provence

City of Avignon Provence France Island Rhone River

Avignon is a medium-sized city in southeastern France in the region of Provence in the department of Vaucluse. Two rivers, the Rhone and the Durance, flow though the city, making Avignon a strategic natural stop along trade routes throughout history. A convenient elongated island in the Rhone made it possible to construct a bridge across the river, one of few bridges at the time and an important transport link.

Avignon can be reached via the Avignon Airport or Marseille Provence Airport, or by TGV high-speed train (less than a three-hour ride from Paris). During the summer there is a Saturday Eurostar service from London St. Pancras International to Avignon which takes 6 hours. If you are driving into Avignon you'll enter from the A7 highway. Once in the city you'll be able to get around to all the sites on foot or rental bike and your first stop should be at the Office de Tourisme.

Avignon's greatest claim to fame is as the "City of Popes". When the Popes abandoned Rome in the 14th century and sought more ethical surroundings, they made Avignon their capital and built Le Palais des Papes, the world's largest Gothic edifice. Today the cavernous rooms stand empty but visitors can see the frescos in several rooms and admire the stunning architecture. Under the papacy the city was encircled by ramparts protecting it from the plague and unwanted visitors. The city's location made it easy to travel to many of the larger cities in Europe and under the papacy Avignon grew in political power and economic strength. With its rise, many wealthy and important people settled there, building luxurious palaces on both sides of the River Rhone. This period left Avignon with stunning architecture, hundreds of churches and decorative buildings.
Palace of Pope Avignon St.-Benezet Bridge


Today visitors can enjoy Avignon's historic buildings, the curving street where the ramparts were located and still encircle the city center remains as well as the modern city which has built up around the ramparts. Le Pont Saint-Benezet predates the papacy and only part of the medieval bridge remains. You can tour the bridge with an audio guide and see the 4 remaining arches and the chapel on the bridge dedicated to the shepherd who inspired the bridge's construction. Avignon has a fair number of good museums, both art museums and museums displaying archaeological findings from the region and artifacts from the early inhabitants.
Wander the cobbled streets and enjoy the many tree lined squares and the central square Place de l'Horloge. Take a cruise down the River Rhone and Les Train Touristiques d'Avignon, a minitrain that makes a 40 minute circuit of the city.

If you're in Avignon in July you can attend the Festival d'Avignon, a performing arts festival where the whole city comes alive with street performers, theatre and even performances in private homes and the Palais des Papes.
Avignon is one of France's leading gastronomical cities and you'll find quaint cafes, and elegant restaurants serving regional specialties. Avignon cuisine includes a deep love for all things chocolate, try their chocolate truffles and nougat treats. Les papalines d'Avignon is a blend of Mont Ventoux liqueur and chocolate. For fresh food products there is a daily covered market in Place Pie, here you can also find some of the traditionally made cheeses and wines of the region. Other interesting markets in Avignon include the Sunday flea market in Place des Carmes and the food market in Les Halles d'Avignon.

For the ultimate Avignon experience, plan your stay in one of the many vacation rental options in the Avignon area available from France Homestyle.  Eygalières Luxury is a stunning Provencal villa located in the middle of three forested acres of green oaks, olive trees and vineyards that has has been featured in several popular international design and travel magazines as a beautiful example of the merging of Provençal wilderness with exquisite design, rugged simplicity with understated elegance. La Reynaude provides the rustic farmhouse experience with style and elegance that includes panoramic views and a pool with a shaded patio. Another luxury rental home in Provence, Saint Rémy Luxury is a dreamlike estate built in 2007 in a secluded location surronded by gardens and birch trees yet only minutes drive away from the town of St. Remy where Van Gogh spent his last years and painted some of his most intense works.

Close to Avignon are other popular areas such as Languedoc-Roussillon, Aix en Provence, and the Lubéron valley. France Homestyle has numerous vacation rental properties in the areas surrounding Avignon. Lourmarin carries the official title as one of the "most beautiful villages in France".  There are several vacation houses in Lourmarin such as the Lourmarin Cottage nestled on forested grounds within walking distance to the village. Vacation rentals in Aix vary from apartments and garden studios to Maison de Village Provencal with 5 bedrooms and 5 baths located in the heart of the picturesque village of Ansouis. Both Lourmarin and Aix en Provence are easy day trips to or from Avignon where one can experience the delightful sights and cuisine of Southeastern France.