8 Best Tours in Avignon

Avignon is a city with a medieval past to discover, and what better way than to take advantage of the full range of tours available.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

8 Best Tours in Avignon

Avignon | ©Patrick

The city of Avignon is a place with many monuments and natural spaces that will captivate you. You will be able to get to know closely all the historical, architectural, artistic, religious and cultural legacy that this French town has managed to preserve over the centuries.

And, to do so, opt for a bike ride along the ramparts, a panoramic walk in the historic center or the thematic tours (gastronomic, photographic...)** that I comment below, as a tour guide will offer you all the details and anecdotes of the main monuments of the city.

1. Explore the Palazzo dei Papi with a guided tour

Papal Palace| ©David Pirmann
Papal Palace| ©David Pirmann

The Palace of the Popes is a must-see destination during your trip, whether you are passing through the city or you wish to stay for 3 days in Avignon, or even longer. If you book tickets for the Papal Palace of Avignon you will learn much of the history of the city and the reason for its splendor in the medieval period.

You will be amazed due to the imposing size of the palace that, according to experts, its volume corresponds to 4 Gothic cathedrals, or about 15,000 m2. Also, you should focus your attention on the architectural details present in the doors, columns, arches and ceiling.

Then, you will have access to a total of 25 rooms, including the Grand Audience, the Cloister of Pope Benedict XII, the banquet hall, the chapel of St. Martial, the rooms of the Popes who lived in the palace throughout the fourteenth century, among others. All of them, with furniture, frescoes and tapestries. In addition, you can access the shop-bookshop with souvenirs and interesting objects, the Pope's private gardens and the terraces with privileged panoramic views.

Interesting details

  • Price: the average cost is 12 € per person; the reduced cost is 10 €, and children pay 6,50 €.
  • Duration: you will need at least half a day to discover and enjoy each of the spaces of this Gothic-medieval palace.
  • Means of transport: on foot.
  • Advantages of this option: you will get to know an important part of Avignon's history.
  • Disadvantages of this option: not suitable for people with reduced mobility.

Book the Avignon tour with guided visit to the Papal Palace

2. Marvel at the scenery on the lavender tour through Sault

One of my favorite options is the lavender tour of Sault, an ideal excursion to visit Provence, although you can only do it during the spring and summer seasons when the lavender blooms and you can take some postcard pictures

In this tour, which lasts about 5 hours and is intended for groups of no more than eight people, you will go in a minivan. And together with an expert guide you will visit:

  • Sault: Protected by UNESCO, in the foothills of this village you will find lavender fields. You will visit a lavender farm where you will learn how essential oils are extracted.
  • Gordes: medieval village where you will visit the Genty Pantaly Square, the Castle, the Church of St. Firmino and some panoramic sites on the Luberon River.
  • Notre-Dame de Sénanque Abbey: Built in the 12th century by Cistercian monks and located in a valley surrounded by lavender fields, it is an architectural jewel preserved to perfection.

Details of interest

  • Price: 60 € per person.
  • Duration: 5 hours.
  • Means of transport: minivan.
  • Advantages of this option: you will witness dreamlike landscapes.
  • Disadvantages of this option: not suitable for people with limited mobility.

Book a lavender tour of Sault from Avignon

3. Get to know the history, culture and architecture with the Avignon street tour

Avignon Bridge| ©Francesco Arecco
Avignon Bridge| ©Francesco Arecco

Among the best Avignon tours is the walking tour of the old town. It is a quick and easy way to see the different architectural monuments of the city, while you immerse yourself in the history and culture of the place.

This type of activity can be done on your own or you have the option of joining a guided experience, in which you will walk through the streets of the city with a local guide, who will tell you the history of each place as you pass by. Whichever option you select, you will walk around the outside of a number of must-see monuments in the city. Some of them are:

  • The Palace of the Popes, which is one of the most important buildings in Avignon and a true example of the Gothic-medieval style.
  • The Cathedral of Notre Dame des Doms, the local Catholic place of worship.
  • The St. Bénézet bridge, considered a medieval ruin of great historical value.

The tour cannot be complete without a walk along the imposing defensive ramparts, which surround Avignon. And, if you want to feel like a local, you will have to go through the Rue des Teinturiers, flanked by stone houses. You will also find the wheel mills that, between the 14th and 19th century, were used to dye silk.

Interesting details

  • Price: from 57 € per person. However, if you do the activity on your own, it will be free.
  • Duration: 2 hours approximately.
  • Means of transport: on foot.
  • Advantages of this option: you will be able to see the highlights of Avignon in a short time.
  • Disadvantages of this option: the activity does not usually include entrance tickets to the attractions.

Book the Avignon tour

4. Join a bike tour of the ramparts of Avignon

Walls of Avignon| ©elena posada sanchez
Walls of Avignon| ©elena posada sanchez

On your trip you will find different ways to explore the city, one of them being the bike tour along its imposing ramparts. This is an activity incorporated among the guided tours of the Roman sites of Avignon, which will allow you to learn about the historical value of these walls built in the fourteenth century. This experience usually starts at the St. Bénézet bridge, a medieval ruin from where you will have a privileged view of Avignon.

The route, circular, has an extension of just over 4.3 kilometers along the ramparts. Along the bike route, you will be able to admire the 3 meters wide and 8 meters high wall that surrounds the city and that today protects it from the occasional floods of the Rhone river.

You will have the opportunity to observe closely a total of 14 gates from the 14th century and the defensive tower system of the walls, composed of 3 semicircular and 36 square structures. Also, some excavations and vestiges. For example, the Plaza del Reloj, which was formerly the Roman forum.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 150 € per person.
  • Duration: about 3 hours.
  • Means of transport: electric bicycle.
  • Advantages of this option: you will know the city from another perspective in addition to the historical value of this defensive wall.
  • Disadvantages of this option: you will have to be in good condition to pedal during the whole tour.

Book the Avignon tour with guided visit to the Papal Palace

5. Take a photo tour of Avignon and take home an everlasting souvenir.

The wheel mills| ©hermann.kl
The wheel mills| ©hermann.kl

Among other tours and day trips in Avignon that might interest you, this photographic activity stands out and will allow you to get beautiful memories of your trip. You will tour some of the city's destinations with a photographer and learn how to take professional quality pictures. For this experience, you will meet the photographer-guide in the center and start the tour through the streets in search of the best scenery for your pictures.

The itinerary of this tour can vary, allowing you to choose between going through natural areas or the facades of the main monuments, among other places of interest. In addition, before setting out you will learn some basic concepts of photography. Some of the most frequent destinations are:

  • The wheel mills, which are located on Rue des Teinturiers.
  • The facade of the Palais des Papes, with its nostalgic style reminiscent of medieval times.
  • The defensive citywall and its square and semicircular towers.
  • The Clock Square or ancient Roman forum.
  • Barthelasse Island, a small natural lung with amazing fauna and flora.

Details of interest

  • Price: 250 € per person.
  • Duration: approximately two hours.
  • Means of transport: on foot.
  • Advantages of this option: you will be able to capture in pictures some memories of your visit to Avignon and, in addition, you will get some basic notions of photography.
  • Disadvantages of this option: it does not include the entrance to the main activities, so you will only take pictures outdoors.

6. Delight your palate with a gastronomic tour of the Les Halle market

Les Halle market in Avignon| ©Jamie Barras
Les Halle market in Avignon| ©Jamie Barras

If you are interested in gastronomy, you cannot miss the Les Halle market where you will find bars, restaurants and food stalls with sweet and savory preparations that will delight your palate. You can taste the famous local cakes, apple sweets, raspberry tart and apricot tart, accompanying any of them with a delicious coffee.

You will find more than 40 food stalls with fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, olives, spices and other products. In addition, there is the wine bar or the oyster bar, where you can have a drink or an aperitif. In fact, you could request a wine tasting and, thus, learn a little about the wine culture of the region.

It is also important to know that if you visit on any Saturday of the year, starting at 11 am, local chefs offer free demonstrations. This way, you will learn how to prepare some dishes using products harvested in Avignon.

Interesting details

  • Price: free of charge.
  • Duration: about 2 hours.
  • Means of transport: on foot.
  • Advantages of this option: you will delight your palate with Avignon's desserts, savory foods and drinks.
  • Disadvantages of this option: free culinary demonstrations only take place on Saturdays.

7. Delve into the ecclesiastical architecture with a free tour of the religious temples

Avignon Cathedral| ©JCM Photo
Avignon Cathedral| ©JCM Photo

You may not be a religious person, but this is not a disadvantage for you to incorporate in your itinerary of at least 2 days in Avignon a free tour of the temples of this historic city. You will have the opportunity to discover the hidden gems inside the Cathedral and the Saint Didier Church.

  • Avignon Cathedral or Notre-Dame-des-Doms: it is a religious site with a history dating back to the 12th century. Upon arrival you will see the sculpture of St. John and the Virgin Mary. In addition, on the western tower you will find a 6-meter golden Virgin that crowns the building. Once inside, you will see several architectural samples: the mausoleum of Pope John XXII, the Gothic naves, the choir, the altarpiece of the crucifix from 1520, the baroque tribunes, etc.
  • Saint Didier Church: a religious building more than 600 years old and an example of Gothic architecture in the city. You will see its facade of assembled stones, triple arch with columns topped by anthropomorphic and vegetal capitals. Meanwhile, inside you will find paintings from the late fifteenth century, such as the bas-relief of the Ascent to Calvary by Francesco Laurana, among others.

Interesting details

  • Price: the entrance to the Avignon Cathedral and the Saint Didier Church is free.
  • Duration: you will have no time restrictions to enjoy each site. However, it is estimated that one hour is enough to visit each destination.
  • Means of transportation: on foot.
  • Advantages of this option: you will get to know an important part of the city's architecture and the preserved sacred art.
  • Disadvantages of this option: the sites to be visited do not include the option of a guide or audio guide.

8. Tour Avignon with a tourist train tour

Tourist train through Avignon| ©jean-louis Zimmermann
Tourist train through Avignon| ©jean-louis Zimmermann

A different way to tour Avignon is to take part in a tour on the small tourist train. You will travel through the streets of the city, while contemplating the facades of its monuments, museums and other attractions. All this, while listening to an audio guide that tells you the destinations you are observing.

To enjoy this circuit, you will have to go to the Papal Palace Square. There, you will board the small train and start a 45-minute panoramic ride. You will walk through 11 different destinations with free stops. Among some of the places incorporated into the train route are the following:

  • Rocher des Doms Garden, a garden laid out on a monumental rock.
  • St-Bénézet Bridge, considered the first bridge of the Romanesque period.
  • Place des Saints Corps, former convent of the Celestines (14th century).
  • Angladon Museum, with important art collections of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century.

Details of interest

  • Price: 9,50 ¤ for adults, about 6 ¤ for children from 4 to 12 years old and free for children under 4 years old.
  • Duration: 45 minutes. Each train usually departs every 30 minutes from the Papal Palace Square.
  • Means of transport: small tourist train.
  • Advantages of this option: you will take a panoramic ride through the heart of the city, allowing you to see the main attractions of Avignon.
  • Disadvantages of this option: although the tour has free stops at several attractions, it does not offer entrance to these.

Why is it advisable to take a tour in Avignon?

Streets of Avignon| ©Karoly Lorentey
Streets of Avignon| ©Karoly Lorentey

Taking a tour of Avignon during your visit is the best way to make the most of your time, because it is a city with many destinations to discover: monuments, museums, religious sites, natural areas and other places of cultural and historical interest.

Basically, by joining one of the Avignon tours, you will have the opportunity to focus the tour on the aspects that are really to your liking (architecture, archeology, history of the city, photography, art preserved over the years, etc.). This way, you will explore each place in more detail.

Book the wine tour of Catheauneuf du Pape

Duration of the Avignon tours

Clock| ©Cats Coming
Clock| ©Cats Coming

A tour is one of the best things to do in Avignon. On your trip you will find a great offer that will allow you to discover the city. The duration of such tours can vary from one to four hours. You may even find activities with a longer time span.

For example, the guided tours through the old town usually last a couple of hours approximately. However, if you do the route on your own, you will be able to stroll through the streets of Avignon with no time limit. In addition, there are places like the Palace of the Popes, which due to their large size require at least half a day to enjoy them.

Book the Avignon tour with guided visit to the Papal Palace