Within its medieval walls (it’s apparently one of just a few French cities to have preserved its city walls), Avignon is a relatively small town. You can cross from one end to the other in less than half an hour, so within a couple of days, I knew my way around pretty well. But there’s plenty to see and enjoy.
There are the most visited sites, such as the famous “Pont d’Avignon” (Pont Saint-Bénézet), which ends in the middle of the Rhône River. I love the color of the stone, especially in the Provençal light and against the surrounding green and fall colors. I found myself looking for different angles from which to photograph it.
The Palais des Papes is one of the most visited monuments in France. It’s classified, along with Avignon’s historic center, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding architecture and historical importance for the Papacy.
There’s the indoor market, Les Halles—full of every kind of local food you can imagine and covered on its north side by a living wall. And there’s simply wandering around the narrow, winding streets and sitting in the many small squares, people-watching.
But I think my favorite thing to do was walk along the river—particularly along the towpath of the Île de la Barthelasse (one of the largest river islands in Europe)—looking back across at the palace and the bridge. One of the best times is in the late afternoon, when the sun hits the light stone of the palace and the bridge.
Another great view of the river is from high up in the palace gardens. From there, you can look down and across the river at Villeneuve-lès-Avignon and Fort Saint-André. In October, the fall colors throughout the countryside and the vineyards are really beautiful.