Avignon is one of the major cities of Provence, in Southern France. It is the main city in the very popular Vaucluse region and is set on banks of the Rhône river. The city is steeped in history, painted with brilliant light, and crowned with gorgeous, Provençal blue skies. Avignon is simply lovely.
This ancient city has been continuously inhabited since the stone age. Settlements were built into and on top of the Rocher des Dames, a massive outcropping of rock rising over the banks of the Rhône. In antiquity, both the Greeks and the Romans built cities here. In the middle ages, Avignon became one of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in Europe when Pope Clement V made it seat of the papacy.
We spent a month in Avignon and were lucky enough to celebrate both Christmas and New Years there. Our delightful 2-bedroom apartment rental, which worked out to roughly $42/nt, was located on the Rue du Petit Change, which is in the very heart of the city’s pedestrian precinct. We could not have been more perfectly positioned.
Within a 5 minute walk we could reach the Christmas Market at Place de l’Horloge, the fantastic Les Halles food market, and any number of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and boutiques. All of the major monuments and attractions were just slightly farther afield, as were the city walls and the TGV station. Everything within a leisurely stroll. It was pretty much perfect.
The apartment was located in a typical older Provençal building with plenty of character, but had recently undergone a marvelous renovation, so it had all of the modern conveniences we could hope for. We loved shopping for groceries and cooking in our kitchen.
Avignon is both laid-back and sophisticated. For all its historical significance, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is full of life and activity. The city boasts sites such as the Palais des Papes and the famous Pont d’Avignon, but it also serves as an excellent headquarters for exploring the region. The beauty of the architecture and the natural light and warmth of the city makes it a joy to explore on foot. And, not surprisingly, it’s beautifully decorated at Christmas.
The photos below present a snapshot of our life in Avignon.