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Avignon Hotels

Avignon City Info

Avignon Hotels

Named the City of the Popes or Altera Roma, Avignon retains the indelible mark of the Popes' stay in the city, which was for a while the capital of the Medieval western world. Today, it is a prestigious cultural capital with its world-renowned Theatre Festival. Brief summary of Avignon 's history and the delimitation of its agglomeration is necessary to understand what follows. Over the years, the city's perimeter grew and successive defenses were modified, except for periods of war or plague when the population clustered around the city's original core, the Rocher des Doms. Avignon thus had several different ramparts. The Rocher itself probably only served as refuge and surveillance post.

The Avignon Festival has is very popular one and not-to-be-missed cultural happening. It offers a view of contemporary theatrical creation in France and opens up perspectives towards the future and other theatrical traditions. It has a faithful and constant public, more than 100 000 places are sold each year. If it is no longer a moment of effervescence arousing fervor et passion, it still remains a benchmark, an illuminating testimony to the vitality of the arts and living theatre in these uncertain times when cultural values have been put into question.

Avignon Tourist Attractions

Palais des Papes

Who would have guessed that the austere, crenellated walls of the Palais des Papes (Popes' Palace) enclosed such a rich interior, enlivened with Italian frescoes? Feast your eyes on the Stag Room, where bloodthirsty hunting scenes adorn the walls, the outsized Grand Tinel, where the Pope dined on a raised platform, and the ornate Pope's Bedchamber.

Pont Saint Bénezet

Dance your way down the Pont Saint Bénezet (Avignon Bridge), which inspired that unforgettable 19th-century jingle, "Sur le Pont d'Avignon, L'on y danse..." Legend has it that a humble shepherd built the bridge after a heavenly vision. In its heyday (11th-17th centuries), the bridge spanned the whole River Rhône and river-island Ile de la Barthelasse. Today only four out of 22 arches still stand, the rest have been washed away by the powerful Rhône.

Rocher des Doms

Climb from the Palais des Papes to the hilltop garden of the Rocher des Doms, where the first inhabitants - the Chaseens - settled in 4000 BC. It will remind you of a typical Victorian rock garden, with sculptures of Provencal poets, grottoes and lake. Take in a view of the River Rhône, Avignon's Bridge, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon (over the river) and the gleaming spire of 12th-century Notre-Dame des Doms Cathedral. It's gorgeous at sunset, when the dying sun catches the red brick and turns it to gold.

Rue des Teinturiers

Explore the winding streets of the old city, evocatively named after medieval trades. The rue des Teinturiers, once home to calico printers, is one of the prettiest, dotted with little restaurants, and arts and crafts shops.

Museums

Get into museums set in grand townhouses - from the Musée Calvet's fine art and archaeology collection to contemporary art in the 18th-century Hôtel de Caumont, quirky decorative art in the Musée Louis Vouland and Impressionist art, from Van Gogh to Picasso, at the Musée Angladon.

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