A Provence Vacation: What to See and Do in Avignon
Provence continues to be a top destination in all of France. That's because this piece of southern France exudes a certain beauty with its fields of lavender and charming hilltop villages. It's also rich in gastronomical traditions, including seafood, goat cheese, and honey. When not taking part in a Provencal cooking class or enjoying a traditional meal packed with vegetables, take a look around the very walkable city of Avignon, which features some stunning pieces of architecture, including the infamous Pont D'Avignon, a bridge that has fallen into ruins in the Rhone River.
One of the main attractions in Avignon is the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes), and not just because it's a large imposing structure. Wandering through the largest Gothic palace in the whole world, you'll be awe struck by the expansive rooms. While many remain empty, others hold a history all their own. In one room, you'll see a medieval kitchen chimney, where they used to smoke meat for the palace's residents, including popes. From the palace's rooftop, grab your camera, because you'll be able to see all of Avignon and its distinctive Provencal roofs. During our Provence vacation "Discover Provence," entrance tickets are included both for the Palais des Papes and the Pont d'Avignon.
Back on the ground, visit UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the Avignon Cathedral and the Museum of the Petit Palais, which features artwork from the Renaissance and Middle Ages. Other museums abound as well, and many -- such as the Calvet Museum -- are housed in restored mansions and medieval buildings. Avignon too is known for its theater. With the theater festival in full swing every July, Avignon is often packed with locals and tourists alike.
Last but not least, go for the wine. Since Provence has a plethora of sunny days along with a mild climate, it offers the perfect growing conditions for a number of wines, which you can experience with a "Terroir, Touring, and Tasting" wine vacation that's based in Avignon.
By Liz Hall