Enjoy experiencing the slow-paced Provencal atmosphere of Avignon while checking out the ancient Palace of the Popes, taking in views of the Thone River from the Pont D'Avignon, and indulging in unmatched Provencal cuisine. After indulging in a tour of the Camargue to view its black bulls, pink flamingos, and white horses that are born black at birth, sign up for a tour of the historic hilltop villages throughout Provence. Feel like you are part of one of Van Gogh’s paintings as you pass by fields overflowing with sunflowers, golden rolling wheat fields and lavender fields spanning for as far as the eye can see. Here’s our rundown of the 10 best day trips from Avignon, France.
On a sunny provencal day, enjoy strolling through the cobbled streets of medieval Venasque to explore the Notre Dame de Vanasque Church. Peering through the colourful stain glass windows, visitors will be able to behold the panoramic views of Mount Vaucluse. Wander through the centuries-old streets admiring the stone Roman-built fortified walls while stepping into local artist studios to check out pottery, colourful canvases, and ceramics. If you happen to be in the town during June, attend the cherry festival wherein you can indulge in cherry-themed products, such as tarts, amarena cherry ice cream, cherry clafoutis, and more.
Make certain to stop by a patisserie to indulge in a flavourful, juicy seasonal apricot tart before making your way through the narrow, winding streets of charming Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. After exploring the Vincent Van Gogh International Centre that features the modern-day artwork by this exceptional artist, visit Musée Estrine to admire the expansive collection of paintings and graphic art. Stroll the sun-soaked streets of the charming Provencal markets to sample honey, lavender products, creamy cheeses, and olive oil. History lovers will enjoy visiting ancient Roman archaeological sites, such as Glanum. It is an ancient city with remnants of public bathhouses, temples, and the forum.
Provence Sightseeing Tour: Pont du Gard and More from Avignon
Duration: 9 hours
Sign up for a day trip to explore the Mediterranean fishing village of Cassis. Here, you experience the stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea from the Calanque of Cassis, and wander along the Calanque of Port Miou to soak in rich picturesque views of the azure waters bordered by steep rock cliffs and dotted with countless marine vessels. Experience the refreshing sea breeze while strolling past the vibrant coloured stone homes and buildings along the marina front. After spending time on the beach, take a shuttle for La Ciotat, an industrial port town that is home to historic buildings and natural features. Make sure to visit La Calanque de Figuerolles, Parc du Mugel botanical garden, Musee Ciotaden, Chapelle des Penitents Bleus and Eden Theatre, which is perhaps one of the oldest operating theatres in the world.
Cassis: Full-Day Calanques & Amazing Vistas Guided Tour
Duration: 5 hour
Embark on a bus tour from the Avignon tour office to explore the numerous medieval villages of Luberon. En route to Luberon, wander through the steep hillside cobblestone streets of Gordes, stop at Fontaine de Vaucluse and rest your weary feet in the chilly waters of the River Sorgues. After a brief visit to Gordes, take in the breathtaking views of the expansive lush valley and Luberon Mountains, and then carry on to Roussillon. Stop for an ice-cream break at Chez Nino, which also offers striking views of the rich copper ochre hillsides from its terrace, before travelling to Bonnieux to admire the Roman stone bridge, Pont Julien, and end your trip at the historic walled village of Menerbes.
From Avignon: Market Tour & Luberon Villages Tour
Duration: 9 hour
5. Le Barroux
Visiting the medieval Le Barroux mountaintop village is like stepping back to the 12th century, with its Renaissance styled, stoned walled citadel, Castle of Le Barroux. As you wander through the narrow streets that are dotted with stone homes and numerous gurgling fountains, make sure to stop at the Church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste. While walking through the charming centuries-old village, visitors will find the remnants of a Roman aqueduct, an oil mill, and impressive Hotel Dieu. Enjoy the eagle-eye views of Mont Ventoux and the surrounding valley filled with plane trees, olive trees, and sprawling vineyards and fruit orchards.
Sit back and enjoy being bathed in the summer Provencal sunshine while indulging in a crisp Nicoise salad and people watching on wicker chairs at a street-side cafe in charming Lourmarin. As you stroll leisurely through the streets, take time to admire the Mediterranean architecture, the Romanesque Church, and the numerous ornately decorated water fountains. During the spring to autumn months, Lourmarin hosts a night market filled with regionally and locally produced products, artwork, and fresh produce harvested from surrounding farms.
Wander the streets of Vaison-la-Romaine and get lost among the many charming stone houses and ancient structures. Stop by the boulangerie to pick up a baguette, cross the Roman bridge and have lunch at a terraced restaurant overlooking the Ouvèze River. Then, explore the Roman ruins of La Villasse before heading over to attend a cultural event at the former Roman amphitheatre. Nature lovers will enjoy rock-climbing, cycling, hiking, or skiing the snowcapped peaks of Mount Ventoux while taking in the picturesque views of the Rhone Valley below.
Uzes is a small town with ancient cobblestone streets peppered with limestone houses, complete with pastel-coloured wood shutters. While you’re here, make sure to check out the Place aux Herbes market that is known for its locally grown fresh produces, and visit the medieval Ducal Palace and admire its stunning architecture. Take time to satisfy your sweet tooth by visiting the Haribo Candy Museum, where staff will educate visitors about candy production. Enjoy roaming freely through the narrow streets, passing by the fountains and the Italianesque enclosed spiral staircase inspired by Venice’s Bovolo Staircase.
Half-Day Nimes, Uzes, and Pont du Gard from Avignon
Duration: 5 hours
As you climb the winding streets of Ménerbes, savour the breathtaking views of the Luberon mountains and the valley below dotted with vineyards and orchards filled with olive and fruit trees. Visit Dora Maar studio to participate in one of the workshops hosted by local artists. Don’t forget to stop by the local corkscrew museum that is created by former mayor and House of Truffles and Wine founder, Messieur Rousset-Rouard. Enjoy the la vie en rose slower-paced lifestyle while wandering through the quaint shops and artist studios, before indulging in a delicious meal overlooking the verdant Luberon Valley.
Get ice cream at one of the nearby shops to enjoy as you wander through the beautiful hilltop village of Gordes. Wander through the maze of winding streets and admire the white stone buildings accented with terracotta tile rooftops, before arriving at a lookout point to indulge in sweeping views of the lush valley below. Make certain to visit the fortified Saint Firmin Palace, and do sample and purchase some of the wine produced in its medieval cellars. After checking out the Romanesque Saint-Firmin Church’s stunning interior, venture over to Abbaye de Sénanque to chase butterflies enthusiastically through the sprawling perfume-filled lavender fields.
Voyaging through Van Gogh's Provence
There are numerous medieval villages located around Avignon. You can explore the colourful seaside village of Cassis, trace the Roman ruins at Vaison-la-Romaine, marvel at the stunning ochre hills of Roussillon, visit the ancient Roman city of Nimes that is known for its amphitheatre and Jardin de la Fontaine - all these places are just a short train ride away from Avignon, France.
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