All our Hotels in Avignon
Points of interest
In the 14th century, seven consecutive popes abandoned the Eternal City in favour of Avignon's liberal cultural atmosphere and idyllic location on the river banks. The rich legacy of the Avignon Papacy can still be seen at top Avignon attractions such as the medieval defence walls and the Palais des Papes – edifices for which the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. These days, the capital of the Vaucluse département is just as famous for Provençal fine wines and dining, plus a wealth of cultural venues and events, including a renowned annual theatre festival held at locations across the city. Ranging from affordable options for family getaways to luxury accommodation in the city centre, our wide selection of Avignon hotels provide the perfect base for exploring all that this top French travel destination has to offer.
Visiting Avignon, Centre of Provençal Culture
During the 14th-century heyday of the Avignon Papacy, Europe's finest artists, architects, performers and musicians flocked to the city and Avignon's reputation as a centre for the arts was sealed. Today, tens of thousands of visitors arrive every July for the Avignon Festival. As one of the most important performing-arts celebrations in the world – and by far the biggest in France – it sees hundreds of plays take place in historic, open-air venues including the sprawling and ornate Palais des Papes, the largest Gothic-style palace in the world. As well as serving as a papal seat, over the centuries it has been a French Revolution barracks and now, it is a museum and fabulous location for Avignon concerts, plays and art exhibitions. Even if there's nothing on, you can wander through sculpture-filled, vaulted chambers and suites impressively frescoed by Italian master Matteo Giovannetti. Some of our finest Avignon accommodation choices are within easy walking distance of this museum-cum-palace, giving our guests a front-row seat for the action.
A Walker's Travel Guide to Avignon
Avignon's compact medieval centre lends itself to exploring on foot. For most visitors, the obvious place to start is in Place de l'Horloge, the city's main square and atmospheric, charming heart. Overlooked by the monumental clock that gives the square its name, plus the impressive, 19th-century façades of the town hall and opera house, this is an ideal spot for a leisurely lunch at a pavement bistro beneath the plane trees. From there, stroll northwards through winding streets to the Palais des Papes and Avignon Cathedral. The latter is well worth a visit for its stunning, 12th-century basilica filled with paintings, its papal tombs and the bell tower topped with a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary. Beyond the cathedral is the Jardin des Doms, perched atop the Rocher des Doms and offering mesmerising views across the city, the river and the surrounding countryside. It is one of the most peaceful spots in Avignon, with paths wandering among English-style landscaped flower beds and water features. From the gardens, it's a short step to the Rhône, spanned by a legendary crossing – the medieval bridge forever immortalised in the famous French song "Sur le Pont d'Avignon" – or as it is more properly known, the Pont Saint Bénezet. This was once the only place to cross the river between Lyon and the Mediterranean Sea, and although it was repeatedly damaged by floods over the centuries, it remains one of the best-known sights in Avignon, beloved for its historic chapel and graceful Romanesque arches. For an antidote to the city's medieval culture, turn south to the Collection Lambert, a magnificent display of contemporary art from big names including Cy Twombly and Jean-Michel Basquiat, housed in two elegant mansions.
Wining and Dining in Avignon's Restaurants
Of course, there's more to Avignon than its UNESCO-recognised architecture. It is also known for the diversity and quality of its cuisine, with dining establishments throughout the city ranging from casual streetside brasseries in spectacularly beautiful settings to multiple-Michelin-starred, fine-dining destinations. In particular, Avignon's culinary scene focuses on the traditional cuisine of Provence, with its reputation for making sun-ripened herbs, vegetables and olive oils the stars of the show. Unmissable dishes include bouillabaisse (a rich fish stew that originated in nearby Marseille), daube (braised beef stew) and ratatouille (a vegetable casserole that sees tomatoes, courgettes and aubergines take centre stage). Want to try preparing some Provençal classics for yourself? Head to Les Halles d'Avignon, a grand covered market where you can shop as the locals have done for two centuries, checking out stalls piled high with fresh fish and charcuterie, artisan cheeses and oven-fresh baguettes. Sometimes, you can catch pop-up cooking demonstrations by local Avignon bar-restaurants as you are browsing. Whatever you eat, don't forget to pair your choices with the fine wines for which the Rhône valley is so famous. The renowned Carré du Palais is an embassy of sorts for Côtes du Rhône wines, featuring a wine school, restaurant and bar, plus a magnificent cellar filled with more than 10,000 bottles. It's also your go-to establishment for sommelier-led wine tastings. If you tire of wine (is such a thing possible?), there are plenty of wonderful alternatives to sample across the city. Our favourite is pastis, an aniseed-flavoured liqueur that doubles as the unofficial apéritif of Provence.
The Best Hotels in Avignon, South of France
With so many Avignon activities to occupy your time, you'll need a comfortable place to rest your head each evening. There are many options available for the discerning traveller – from bed and breakfasts in Avignon, Provence, to spectacular 5-star hotels. For a charming Avignon hotel with views of the landmark Pont d'Avignon, try the Mercure Pont d'Avignon Centre Hotel. Ideally located within easy walking distance of big-hitting attractions like the Palais des Papes, the Musée du Petit Palais and its religious treasures, or the Rhône-side views from Jardin des Doms, it stands out for its tranquil garden setting and regional restaurant. Not quite what you're looking for? We also have Avignon hotels with a pool, luxury hotels in central Avignon and coworking facilities in Avignon business hotels.
How to Get to Avignon
Getting to Avignon is easy, thanks to the historic Gare d'Avignon-Centre and more modern Gare d'Avignon TGV. Together, these two train stations make travel from Avignon across Provence and France a breeze, with convenient connections to top destinations including Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Lyon and Paris. The closest airport with regular international arrivals and departures is Marseille Provence Airport, located an hour away by car.
When to Visit Avignon
With a blissful Mediterranean climate that allows for mild winters and hot summers, Avignon is a true year-round destination. Nevertheless, it has a reputation for being a bit blustery, thanks to the strong Mistral wind that often blows in winter, so it's always a good idea to bring an extra layer or two just in case. And of course, the city gets very busy in July over the course of the Avignon Festival.