Make your own explorations of the past as you take in the sights from your Avignon hotel...
A proud Provence rightly flaunts Avignon as one of the jewels in its mightily impressive crown and first-time visitors are always wowed by the man-made magnificence on show.
Tucked away in the south of France, Avignon and its historic centre are cuddled by the Rhone River and the city enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and cool winters.
The summer months of July and August are the peak times for tourism here, when Avignon accommodation will be in great demand. During both of July’s Festival d'Avignon and Festival Off, demand for hotels in Avignon will be at an annual high; book early to secure accommodation.
It’s wise to book your hotel in Avignon as early as possible at any time of the year, both to secure your stay and to snare the lowest prices.
To see a range of hotel deals for stays in Avignon, use the TravelSupermarket search tool.
Will you stay in the historic centre or go for a modern hotel in the suburbs? Read on to plan your ideal trip…
The finest Avignon hotels are found within the city walls – the medieval stone ramparts that wrap around this graceful and ancient destination. Staying within the walls is the only option if you really want to enjoy the splendour of Avignon's fascinating past. Oases of luxury and calm can be found, though budget hotels are hard to find inside the historic centre. There are some, and many offer basic facilities with charm, flair and hospitality – but book early if you want to secure cheap accommodation.
Many hotels are locally run, however you will find some of the big brands with hotels in the area from chains such as Mercure, Kyriad, Best Western and Novotel.
You can find charming and traditional hotels outside the walls, on the river island Ile de la Barthelasse. There's a slower pace of life than in the historic centre.
Newer hotels are located in the more modern suburbs of Avignon, across the river. You might find more space for your money, though you'll have to travel into the centre to see the best of the city, where car hire is available. As you would expect from a destination so swathed in history, the hotels in Avignon – those found within the walls – are part of the city's past so you won't find cutting edge architecture or space-age buildings.
Of course, that's the charm of Provence. The word “rustic” clings to nearly every description of this region of France. Purple lavender fields, delightfully ramshackle farmhouses, row upon row of lush green vines, cream-coloured hilltop towns and down to the blues of the Cote d'Azur, where the words “sophistication” and “chic” begin to creep into the Provencal vocabulary, this region is a playground for locals and a magnet to tourists.
Don’t expect to rush around at a frenetic pace to see the sights; Avignon’s relaxed vibe will soon slow you down...
Top five attractions
Papal Palace (Palais des Papes)
The undisputed top attraction in Avignon, the world's largest Gothic palace was the seat of papal power for a time in the 14th century. The wealth of the church is still very much evident.
Pont St Benezet
Also known as the Pont d'Avignon, the remains of Avignon's medieval bridge, which was completed in 1185 and rebuilt many times, are nonetheless impressive.
Rocher des Doms
A park, water gardens and a playground only add to the glory of the views afforded from this hilltop space. It's worth the hike.
Ile de la Barthelasse
A river island that attracts dog walkers, campers and holidaymakers – and offers hotels and B&Bs away from the busier city centre. It's a great place to cool off in the heat of summer.
Hop aboard at the Palais des Papes and tour the city with the guidance of a helpful commentary. It's undeniably touristy, but a great way to get your bearings around Avignon.
July’s festivities create a buzz in Avignon, so book hotels early to fully appreciate these summer events...
Festival d'Avignon; July: An internationally renowned event that attracts some of Europe's best performers of theatre, music and dance. Venues around the city host events.
Festival Off; July: A fringe-type event that coincides with the main festival.
Medievales des Carmes; September: Celebrate the medieval majesty of Avignon at this annual event. Markets, banquets, games and music are hosted in the historic centre.