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Hotels of Avignon

A hotel in Avignon is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Avignon hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Avignon are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Avignon hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Avignon hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Avignon have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Avignon
An upscale full service hotel facility in Avignon that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Avignon hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Avignon
Full service Avignon hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Avignon
Boutique hotels of Avignon are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Avignon boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Avignon may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Avignon
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Avignon travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Avignon focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Avignon
Small to medium-sized Avignon hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Avignon traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Avignon hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Avignon
A bed and breakfast in Avignon is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Avignon bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Avignon B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Avignon
Avignon hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Avignon hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Avignon
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Avignon hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Avignon lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Avignon
Avignon timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Avignon often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Avignon on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Avignon
A Avignon motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Avignon for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Avignon motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Avignon

Prefecture and commune
Vue aérienne 2 JP Campomar.jpg
Park beim Papstpalast in Avignon01 (cropped).jpg Avignon, Palais des Papes depuis Tour Philippe le Bel by JM Rosier (cropped).jpg
Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Doms d'Avignon sous l'orage.jpg Avignon festival 2006 asobu popes palace.jpg
Le Pont d'Avignon (cropped).jpg
From top: Skyline,
Rocher des Doms, Palais des Papes,
Avignon Cathedral, Festival d'Avignon,
Pont Saint-Bénézet
Coat of arms of Avignon
Coat of arms
Avignon is located in France
Coordinates:  / 43.95; 4.81  / 43.95; 4.81
Country France
Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Department Vaucluse
Arrondissement Avignon
Canton Avignon-1, 2 and 3
Intercommunality CA Grand Avignon
• Mayor (2014-2020) Cécile Helle (PS)
Area 64.78 km (25.01 sq mi)
Population (2011) 90,194
• Density 1,400/km (3,600/sq mi)
Time zone CET (GMT +1) (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 84007 /84000
Elevation 10–122 m (33–400 ft)
(avg. 23 m or 75 ft)

French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Palais des papes
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Location arrondissement of Avignon, Canton of Avignon-Est, Canton of Avignon-Nord, Canton of Avignon-Ouest, Canton of Avignon-Sud, Vaucluse, Grand Avignon, France Edit this at Wikidata
Coordinates  / 43.9486; 4.8083
Area 64.91 km (698,700,000 sq ft)
Criteria i, ii, iv
Reference 228
Inscription 1995 (19th Session)
Website www.avignon.fr
Avignon is located in France
Location of Avignon
[edit on Wikidata]

Avignon (French pronunciation: ​[a.vi.ɲɔ̃]; Latin: Avenio; Occitan: Avignoun, Occitan: Avinhon pronounced [aviˈɲun]) is a commune in south-eastern France in the department of Vaucluse on the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 90,194 inhabitants of the city (as of 2011), about 12,000 live in the ancient town centre enclosed by its medieval ramparts.

Between 1309 and 1377, during the Avignon Papacy, seven successive popes resided in Avignon and in 1348 Pope Clement VI bought the town from Joanna I of Naples. Papal control persisted until 1791 when, during the French Revolution, it became part of France. The town is now the capital of the Vaucluse department and one of the few French cities to have preserved its ramparts.

The historic centre, which includes the Palais des Papes, the cathedral, and the Pont d'Avignon, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The medieval monuments and the annual Festival d'Avignon have helped to make the town a major centre for tourism.

The commune has been awarded one flower by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom.

Avignon: Toponymy

The earliest forms of the name were reported by the Greeks:

  • Аὐενιὼν = Auenion (Stephen of Byzantium, Strabo, IV, 1, 11)
  • Άουεννίων = Aouennion (Ptolemy II, x).

The Roman name Avennĭo Cavarum (Mela, II, 575, Pliny III, 36), i.e. "Avignon of Cavares" accurately shows that Avignon was one of the three cities of the Celtic-Ligurian tribe of Cavares, along with Cavaillon and Orange.

The current name dates to a pre-Indo-European or pre-Latin theme ab-ên with the suffix -i-ōn(e) This theme would be a hydronym – i.e. a name linked to the river (Rhône), but perhaps also an oronym of terrain (the Rocher des Doms).

The Auenion of the 1st century BC was Latinized to Avennĭo (or Avēnĭo), -ōnis in the 1st century and was written Avinhon in classic Occitan spelling or Avignoun [aviɲũ] in Mistralian spelling The inhabitants of the commune are called avinhonencs or avignounen in both Occitan and Provençal dialect.

Avignon: History

Avignon: Geography

Avignon is situated on the left bank of the Rhône river, a few kilometres above its confluence with the Durance, about 580 km (360 mi) south-east of Paris, 229 km (142 mi) south of Lyon and 85 km (53 mi) north-north-west of Marseille. On the west it shares a border with the department of Gard and the communes of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon and Les Angles and to the south it borders the department of Bouches-du-Rhône and the communes of Barbentane, Rognonas, Châteaurenard, and Noves.

The city is located in the vicinity of Orange (north), Nîmes, Montpellier (south-west), Arles (to the south), Salon-de-Provence, and Marseille (south-east). Directly contiguous to the east and north are the communes of Caumont-sur-Durance, Morières-lès-Avignon, Le Pontet, and Sorgues.

Avignon: Geology and terrain

Aerial view of Avignon

The region around Avignon is very rich in limestone which is used for building material. For example, the current ramparts, measuring 4,330 metres long, were built with the soft limestone abundant in the region called mollasse burdigalienne.

Enclosed by the ramparts, the Rocher des Doms is a limestone elevation of urgonian type, 35 metres high (and therefore safe from flooding of the Rhone which it overlooks) and is the original core of the city. Several limestone massifs are present around the commune (the Massif des Angles, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, Alpilles...) and they are partly the result of the oceanisation of the Ligurian-Provençal basin following the migration of the Sardo-Corsican block.

The other significant elevation in the commune is the Montfavet Hill – a wooded hill in the east of the commune.

The Rhone Valley is an old alluvial zone: loose deposits cover much of the ground. It consists of sandy alluvium more or less coloured with pebbles consisting mainly of siliceous rocks. The islands in the Rhone, such as the Île de la Barthelasse, were created by the accumulation of alluvial deposits and also by the work of man. The relief is quite low despite the creation of mounds allowing local protection from flooding.

In the land around the city there are clay, silt, sand, and limestone present.

Avignon: Hydrography

Bridges on the Grand Rhône.
The Pont d'Avignon on the Petit Rhône. In the background is Mont Ventoux.

The Rhone passes the western edge of the city but is divided into two branches: the Petit Rhône, or "dead arm", for the part that passes next to Avignon and the Grand Rhône, or "live arm", for the western channel which passes Villeneuve-lès-Avignon in the Gard department. The two branches are separated by an island, the Île de la Barthelasse. The southernmost tip of the Île de la Barthelasse once formed of a separated island, the L'Île de Piot.

The banks of the Rhone and the Île de la Barthelasse are often subject to flooding during autumn and March. The publication Floods in France since the 6th century until today – research and documentation by Maurice Champion tells about a number of them (until 1862, the flood of 1856 was one of the largest, which destroyed part of the walls). They have never really stopped as shown by the floods in 1943–1944 and again on 23 January 1955 and remain important today – such as the floods of 2 December 2003. As a result, a new risk mapping has been developed.

The Durance flows along the southern boundary of the commune into the Rhone and marks the departmental boundary with Bouches-du-Rhône. It is a river that is considered "capricious" and once feared for its floods (it was once called the "3rd scourge of Provence" as well as for its low water: the Durance has both Alpine and Mediterranean morphology which is unusual.

There are many natural and artificial water lakes in the commune such as the Lake of Saint-Chamand east of the city.

Avignon: Artificial diversions

A mill on the Vaucluse Canal in the Pont des 2 eaux district

There have been many diversions throughout the course of history, such as feeding the moat surrounding Avignon or irrigating crops.

In the 10th century part of the waters from the Sorgue d'Entraigues were diverted and today pass under the ramparts to enter the city. (See Sorgue). This watercourse is called the Vaucluse Canal but Avignon people still call it the Sorgue or Sorguette. It is visible in the city in the famous Rue des teinturiers (street of dyers). It fed the moat around the first ramparts then fed the moat on the newer eastern city walls (14th century). In the 13th century (under an Act signed in 1229) part of the waters of the Durance were diverted to increase the water available for the moats starting from Bonpas. This river was later called the Durançole. The Durançole fed the western moats of the city and was also used to irrigate crops at Montfavet. In the city these streams are often hidden beneath the streets and houses and are currently used to collect sewerage.

The Hospital Canal (joining the Durançole) and the Crillon Canal (1775) were dug to irrigate the territories of Montfavet, Pontet, and Vedène. They were divided into numerous "fioles" or "filioles" (in Provençal filhòlas or fiolo). Similarly, to irrigate the gardens of the wealthy south of Avignon, the Puy Canal was dug (1808). All of these canals took their water from the Durance. These canals were initially used to flood the land, which was very stony, to fertilize them by deposition of silt.

All of these canals have been used to operate many mills.

Avignon: Seismicity

The leaning bell tower of the Church of the Augustinians.

Under the new seismic zoning of France defined in Decree No. 2010-1255 of 22 October 2010 concerning the delimitation of the seismicity of the French territory and which entered into force on 1 May 2011, Avignon is located in an area of moderate seismicity. The previous zoning is shown below for reference.

"The cantons of Bonnieux, Apt, Cadenet, Cavaillon, and Pertuis are classified in zone Ib (low risk). All other cantons the Vaucluse department, including Avignon, are classified Ia (very low risk). This zoning is for exceptional seismicity resulting in the destruction of buildings.".

The presence of faults in the limestone substrate shows that significant tectonic shift has caused earthquakes in different geological ages. The last major earthquake of significant magnitude was on 11 June 1909. It left a visible trace in the centre of the city since the bell tower of the Augustinians, which is surmounted by an ancient campanile of wrought iron, located in Rue Carreterie, remained slightly leaning as a result of this earthquake.

Avignon: Climate

Avignon has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa in the Köppen climate classification), with mild-cool winters and hot summers, with moderate rainfall year-round. July and August are the hottest months with average daily maximum temperatures of around 28 °C, and January and February the coldest with average daily maximum temperatures of around 9 °C. The wettest month is September, with a rain average of 102 millimetres, and the driest month is July, when the monthly average rainfall is 37 millimetres. The city is often subject to windy weather; the strongest wind is the mistral. A medieval Latin proverb said of the city: Avenie ventosa, sine vento venenosa, cum vento fastidiosa (Windy Avignon, pest-ridden when there is no wind, wind-pestered when there is).

Town Sunshine





National Average 1,973 770 14 22 40
Avignon 2,596 709 4 23 31
Paris 1,661 637 12 18 10
Nice 2,724 767 1 29 1
Strasbourg 1,693 665 29 29 56
Brest 1,605 1,211 7 12 75
Climate data for Orange
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 9.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.8
Average low °C (°F) 1.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 51.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 5.7 4.9 4.9 7.2 6.3 4.7 3.0 3.5 5.5 7.2 6.6 6.4 65.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 132 137 193 230 265 299 345 311 238 187 135 124 2,596
Source: Meteorological data for Orange – 53m altitude, from 1981 to 2010 January 2015 (in French)

According to Météo-France the number of days per year with rain above 2.5 litres per square metre is 45 and the amount of water, rain and snow combined is 660 litres per square metre. Average temperatures vary between 0 and 30 °C depending on the season. The record temperature record since the existence of the weather station at Orange is 40.7 °C on 26 July 1983 and the record lowest was −14.5 °C on 2 February 1956.

Avignon: The mistral

The prevailing wind is the mistral for which the windspeed can be beyond 110 km/h. It blows between 120 and 160 days per year with an average speed of 90 km/h in gusts. The following table shows the different speeds of the mistral recorded by Orange and Carpentras Serres stations in the southern Rhone valley and its frequency in 2006. Normal corresponds to the average of the last 53 years from Orange weather reports and that of the last 42 at Carpentras.

Legend: "=" same as normal; "+" Higher than normal; "-" Lower than normal.

Speed of Mistral winds
Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May. Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
Maximum recorded speed by month 106 km/h 127 km/h 119 km/h 97 km/h 94 km/h 144 km/h 90 km/h 90 km/h 90 km/h 87 km/h 91 km/h 118 km/h
Tendency: Days with speed
> 16 m/s (58 km/h)
-- +++ --- ++++ ++++ = = ++++ + --- = ++

Avignon: Demographics

In 2010 the commune had 89,683 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger communes that have a sample survey every year.

Population change (See database)
1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851
24,000 21,412 23,789 29,407 29,889 31,786 33,844 35,169 35,890
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
37,077 36,081 36,427 38,196 38,008 37,657 41,007 43,453 45,107
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
46,896 48,312 49,304 48,177 51,685 57,228 59,472 60,053 62,768
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2010 -
72,717 86,096 90,786 89,132 86,939 85,935 90,800 89,683 -

Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)

Avignon: Administration

Avignon is the prefecture (capital) of Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region. It forms the core of the Grand Avignon metropolitan area (communauté d'agglomération), which comprises 15 communes on both sides of the river:

  • Les Angles, Pujaut, Rochefort-du-Gard, Sauveterre, Saze and Villeneuve-lès-Avignon in the Gard département;
  • Avignon, Caumont-sur-Durance, Entraigues-sur-la-Sorgue, Jonquerettes, Morières-lès-Avignon, Le Pontet, Saint-Saturnin-lès-Avignon, Vedène and Velleron in the Vaucluse département.

Avignon: List of Mayors

List of Successive Mayors

Mayors from 1940
From To Name Party Position
1940 1942 Jean Gauger
1942 1944 Edmond Pailheret
1944 1945 Louis Gros
1945 1947 Georges Pons
1947 1948 Paul Rouvier
1948 1950 Henri Mazo
1950 1953 Noël Hermitte
1953 1958 Edouard Daladier
1958 1983 Henri Duffaut PS
1983 1989 Jean-Pierre Roux RPR
1989 1995 Guy Ravier PS
1995 2014 Marie-José ROIG UMP
2014 2020 Cécile HELLE PS

(Not all data is known)

Avignon: Twinning

Avignon has twinning associations with:

  • United Kingdom Colchester (United Kingdom) since 1972.
  • Mexico Guanajuato (Mexico) since 1990.
  • Greece Ioanina (Greece) since 1984.
  • United States New Haven (USA) since 1993.
  • Italy Siena (Italy) since 1981.
  • Spain Tarragona (Spain) since 1968.
  • Germany Wetzlar (Germany) since 1960.

Avignon: Evolution of the borders of the commune

Avignon absorbed Montfavet between 1790 and 1794 then ceded Morières-lès-Avignon in 1870 and Le Pontet in 1925. On 16 May 2007 the commune of Les Angles in Gard ceded 13 hectares to Avignon.

Avignon: Area and population

The city of Avignon has an area of 64.78 km and a population of 92,078 inhabitants in 2010 and is ranked as follows:

Rank Land Area Population Density
France 524th 46th 632nd
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur 105th 5th 23rd
Vaucluse 6th 1st 2nd

Avignon: Economy

Avignon is the seat of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vaucluse which manages the Avignon – Caumont Airport and the Avignon-Le Pontet Docks.

Avignon has 7,000 businesses, 1,550 associations, 1,764 shops, and 1,305 service providers. The urban area has one of the largest catchment areas in Europe with more than 300,000 square metres of retail space and 469 m per thousand population against 270 on average in France. The commercial area of Avignon Nord is one of the largest in Europe.

The tertiary sector is the most dynamic in the department by far on the basis of the significant production of early fruit and vegetables in Vaucluse, The MIN (Market of National Importance) has become the pivotal hub of commercial activity in the department, taking precedence over other local markets (including that of Carpentras).

A Sensitive urban zone was created for companies wanting to relocate with exemptions from tax and social issues. It is located south of Avignon between the city walls and the Durance located in the districts of Croix Rouge, Monclar, Saint-Chamand, and La Rocade.

Avignon: Areas of economic activity

There are nine main areas of economic activity in Avignon.

The Courtine area is the largest with nearly 300 businesses (of which roughly half are service establishments, one third are shops, and the rest related to industry) and more than 3,600 jobs. The site covers an area of 300 hectares and is located south-west of the city at the TGV railway station.

Then comes the Fontcouverte area with a hundred establishments representing a thousand jobs. It is, however, more oriented towards shops than the Courtine area.

The MIN area of Avignon is the Agroparc area (or "Technopole Agroparc"). The Cristole area is contiguous and both have a little less than a hundred establishments.

Finally, the areas of Castelette, Croix de Noves, Realpanier, and the airport each have fewer than 25 establishments spread between service activities and shops. The area of the Castelette alone represents more than 600 jobs – i.e. 100 more than Cristole.

Avignon: Tourism

Four million visitors come annually to visit the city and the region and also for its festival. In 2011 the most popular tourist attraction was the Palais des Papes with 572,972 paying visitors. The annual Festival d'Avignon is the most important cultural event in the city. The official festival attracted 135,800 people in 2012.

A cruise boat at the quay at Avignon.

River tourism began in 1994 with three river boat-hotels. In 2011 there is a fleet of 21 river boat-hotelsbuildings, including six sight-seeing boats which are anchored on the quay along the Oulle walkways. Attendance during the 2000s was increased with nearly 50,000 tourists coming mostly from Northern Europe and North America. In addition a free shuttle boat connects Avignon to the Île de la Barthelasse and, since 1987, a harbor master has managed all river traffic.

Avignon: Agriculture

Fruit and Vegetables at the Markets of Avignon

The city is the headquarters of the International Association of the Mediterranean tomato, the World Council of the tomato industry, and the Inter-Rhône organisation.

Avignon: Industry

Only EDF (Grand Delta) with about 850 employees and Onet Propreté with just over 300 exceed 100 employees.

Avignon: Public sector (excluding government)

The Henri Duffaut hospital, the City of Avignon, and the CHS of Montfavet are the largest employers in the town with about 2,000 employees each. Then comes the General Council of Vaucluse with about 1,300 employees.

Avignon: Employment

In 2011 the unemployment rate was 15.6% while it was 13.7% in 2006. There are 39,100 people in the Avignon workforce: 78 (0.2%) agricultural workers, 2,191 (5.6%) tradesmen, shopkeepers, and business managers, 4,945 (12.6%) managers and intellectuals, 8,875 (22.6%) middle managers, 12,257 (31.3%) employees, and 9,603 (24.6%) workers.

Avignon: Transport

Avignon: Roads

Avignon is close to two highways:

  • the A7 autoroute (E714) is a north-south axis on which there are two exits: Sinnbild Autobahnausfahrt.svg 23 Avignon-Nord (Northern districts of Avignon, Le Pontet, Carpentras) and Sinnbild Autobahnausfahrt.svg 24 Avignon-Sud (Southern districts of Avignon, Avignon-Caumont Airport);
  • the A9 autoroute (E15) which branches from the A7 near Orange along a north-east south-west axis towards Spain.

The main roads are:

  • Route nationale N100 which goes west to Remoulins
  • The D225 which goes north towards Entraigues-sur-la-Sorgue
  • The D62 which goes north-east to Vedène
  • The D28 which goes east to Saint-Saturnin-lès-Avignon
  • The D901 which goes south-east to Morières-lès-Avignon
  • Route nationale N570 which goes south to Rognonas

The city has nine paid parking buildings with a total of 7,100 parking spaces, parking buildings under surveillance with a capacity for 2,050 cars with a free shuttle to the city centre, as well as five other free parking areas with a capacity of 900 cars.

Avignon: Railways

Avignon is served by two railway stations: the historic train station built in 1860, the Gare d'Avignon-Centre, located just outside the city walls, which can accommodate any type of train and, since 2001, the Gare d'Avignon TGV in the "Courtine" district south of the city, on the LGV Méditerranée line. Since December 2013 the two stations have been connected by a link line – the Virgule. The Montfavet district, which was formerly a separate commune, also has a station.

Avignon: Airports

The Avignon - Caumont Airport on the south-eastern commune border has several international routes to England. The major airport in the region with domestic and international scheduled passenger service is the Marseille Provence Airport.

Avignon: Water transport

A Water taxi departing from its berth

The Rhône has for many centuries been an important means of transportation for the city. River traffic in Avignon has two commercial ports, docking stations for boat cruises, and various riverfront developments. A free shuttle boat has been established between the quay near the ramparts and the opposite bank (the île de la Barthelasse).

A vélopop cycle station next to the city walls

Avignon: Public transport

The Transports en Commun de la Région d'Avignon, also known by the acronym TCRA, is the public transport network for the commune of Avignon.

Two tram lines are projected to open in 2016 with works expected to begin in late 2013.

Avignon: Bicycles

Avignon has 110 km (68 mi) of bicycle paths. In 2009 the TCRA introduced a bicycle sharing system called the Vélopop'.

Avignon: Cultural heritage

Avignon has a very large number of sites and buildings (173) that are registered as historical monuments.

Rue de la République, the city's central boulevard

In the part of the city within the walls the buildings are old but in most areas they have been restored or reconstructed (such as the post office and the Lycée Frédéric Mistral). The buildings along the main street, Rue de la République, date from the Second Empire (1852–70) with Haussmann façades and amenities around Place de l'Horloge (the central square), the neoclassical city hall, and the theatre district.

Statues gaze over the Place de l'Horloge in the town centre
Paintings on the façades of buildings in the town centre
Avignon France Clock Tower landscape photo

Listed below are the major sites of interest with those sites registered as historical monuments indicated:

  • Notre Dame des Doms (12th century),Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg the cathedral, is a Romanesque building, mainly built during the 12th century, the most prominent feature of the cathedral is the 19th century gilded statue of the Virgin which surmounts the western tower. The mausoleum of Pope John XXII (1334)Logo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg is one of the most beautiful works within the cathedral, it is a noteworthy example of 14th-century Gothic carving.
  • Palais des Papes ("Papal Palace") (14th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg almost dwarfs the cathedral. The palace is an impressive monument and sits within a square of the same name. The palace was begun in 1316 by John XXII and continued by succeeding popes through the 14th century, until 1370 when it was finished.
  • Minor churches of the town include, among others, three churches which were built in the Gothic architectural style:
    • Church of Saint-Pierre (1840)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg which has a graceful façade and richly carved doors;
    • Church of Saint-Didier (14th century);Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg and
    • Church of Saint-Agricol (14th century).Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg
  • Civic buildings are represented most notably by:
    • the Hôtel de Ville (city hall) (1846),Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg a relatively modern building with a bell tower from the 14th century,
    • the old Hôtel des MonnaiesLogo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg, the papal mint which was built in 1610 and became a music-school.
  • The Ramparts,Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg built by the popes in the 14th century and still encircle Avignon. They are one of the finest examples of medieval fortification in existence. The walls are of great strength and are surmounted by machicolated battlements flanked at intervals by 39 massive towers and pierced by several gateways, three of which date from the 14th century. The walls were restored under the direction of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc
  • Bridges include:
    • a little bridge which leads over the river to Villeneuve-les-Avignon
    • Pont d'Avignon (the Pont Saint-Bénézet). Only four of the twenty one piers are left; on one of them stands the small Romanesque chapel of Saint-Bénézet. But the bridge is best known for the famous French song Sur le pont d'Avignon.
  • Calvet Museum, so named after Esprit Calvet, a physician who in 1810 left his collections to the town. It has a large collection of paintings, metalwork and other objects. The library has over 140,000 volumes.
  • The town has a Statue of Jean Althen, who migrated from Persia and in 1765 introduced the culture of the madder plant, which long formed the staple-and is still an important tool-of the local cloth trade in the area.
  • Musée du Petit Palais (opened 1976) at the end of the square overlooked by the Palais des Papes, has an exceptional collection of Renaissance paintings of the Avignon school as well as from Italy, which reunites many "primitives" from the collection of Giampietro Campana.
  • The Hotel d'Europe, one of the oldest hotels in France, in business since 1799.
  • The Collection Lambert, houses contemporary art exhibitions
  • The Musée Angladon exhibits the paintings of a private collector who created the museum
  • Musée Lapidaire, with collections of archaeological and medieval sculptures from the Fondation Calvet in the old chapel of the Jesuit College.
  • Musée Louis-Vouland
  • Musée Requien
  • Palais du RoureLogo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg
  • Les Halles is a large indoor market that offers fresh produce, meats, and fish along with a variety of other goods.
  • The Place Pie is a small square near Place de l'Horloge where you can partake in an afternoon coffee on the outdoor terraces or enjoy a night on the town later in the evening as the square fills with young people.

Avignon: Religious historical objects

The commune houses an extremely large number of religious items which are listed as historical objects. To see a comprehensive list of objects in each location click on the numbers in the table below:

Locations of Historical Objects

Location No. of Objects
Cathedral of Notre-Dame des Doms 268 objects
Chapel of the Oratory 1 object
Chapel of the White penitents 5 objects
Chapel of the Grey penitents 3 objects
Chapel of the Black penitents 9 objects
Chapel of the Grand Seminary 1 object
College of Saint-Joseph 3 objects
Hospice of Saint-Louis 1 object
Hospital Sainte-Marthe 26 objects
Hotel of Saint-Priest d'Urgel (Hotel de Monery) 27 objects
House of King René 1 object
Calvet Museum 3 objects
Arch-episcopal Palace 1 object
Palais des Papes 3 objects
Synagogue 4 objects
Church of Saint-Agricol 43 objects
Church of Saint-Didier 21 objects
Church of Saint-Pierre 23 objects
Church of Saint-Symphorien 12 objects
Church of Montfavet 4 objects
Total Objects 459

Avignon: Culture

Avignon: Avignon Festival

A famous theatre festival is held annually in Avignon. Founded in 1947, the Avignon Festival comprises traditional theatrical events as well as other art forms such as dance, music, and cinema, making good use of the town's historical monuments. Every summer approximately 100,000 people attend the festival. There are really two festivals that take place: the more formal "Festival In", which presents plays inside the Palace of the Popes and the more bohemian "Festival Off", which is known for its presentation of largely undiscovered plays and street performances.

Avignon: The International Congress Centre

The Centre was created in 1976 within the premises of the Palace of the Popes and hosts many events throughout the entire year. The Congress Centre, designed for conventions, seminars, and meetings for 10 to 550 persons, now occupies two wings of the Popes' Palace.

Avignon: Sport

Sporting Olympique Avignon is the local rugby league football team. During the 20th century it produced a number of French international representative players.

AC Arles-Avignon is a professional French football team. They compete in Ligue 2, having gained promotion from Ligue 3 in June 2009. After a season 2010–2011 competing in Ligue 1, the Arles-Avignon team came back in Ligue 2. They play at the Parc des Sports, which has a capacity of just over 17,000.

Avignon: Nuclear pollution

On 8 July 2008 waste containing unenriched uranium leaked into two rivers from a nuclear plant in southern France. Some 30,000 litres (7,925 gallons) of solution containing 12g of uranium per litre spilled from an overflowing reservoir at the facility – which handles liquids contaminated by uranium – into the ground and into the Gaffiere and Lauzon rivers. The authorities kept this a secret from the public for 12 hours then issued a statement prohibiting swimming and fishing in the Gaffiere and Lauzon rivers.

Avignon: "Sur le Pont d'Avignon"

View over the Rhône looking northeast, with the Pont Saint-Bénézet or "Pont d'Avignon" at left

Avignon is commemorated by the French song, "Sur le Pont d'Avignon" ("On the bridge of Avignon"), which describes folk dancing. The song dates from the mid-19th century when Adolphe Adam included it in the Opéra comique Le Sourd ou l'Auberge Pleine which was first performed in Paris in 1853. The opera was an adaptation of the 1790 comedy by Desforges.

The bridge of the song is the Saint-Bénézet bridge over the Rhône of which only four arches (out of the initial 22) now remain. A bridge across the Rhone was built between 1171 and 1185, with a length of some 900 m (2950 ft), but was destroyed during the siege of Avignon by Louis VIII of France in 1226. It was rebuilt but suffered frequent collapses during floods and had to be continually repaired. Several arches were already missing (and spanned by wooden sections) before the remainder was abandoned in 1669.

Avignon: Education

The schools within the commune of Avignon are administered by the Académie d'Aix-Marseille. There are 26 state nursery schools (Écoles maternelles) for children up to 6, and 32 state primary schools (Écoles élémentaires) up to 11. There are also 4 private schools.

Avignon: University of Avignon

Entrance to the main university building. This 18th century portico was once the entrance to the Hôpital Sainte-Marthe.

Avignon: University before the Revolution

The medieval University of Avignon, formed from the existing schools of the city, was formally constituted in 1303 by Boniface VIII in a Papal Bull. Boniface VIII and King Charles II of Naples were the first great protectors and benefactors to the university. The Law department was the most important department covering both civil and ecclesiastical law. The law department existed nearly exclusively for some time after the university's formation and remained its most important department throughout its existence.

In 1413 Antipope John XXIII founded the University's department of theology, which for quite some time had only a few students. It was not until the 16th and 17th centuries that the school developed a department of medicine. The Bishop of Avignon was chancellor of the university from 1303 to 1475. After 1475 the bishop became an Archbishop but remained chancellor of the university. The papal vice-legate, generally a bishop, represented the civil power (in this case the pope) and was chiefly a judicial officer who ranked higher than the Primicerius (Rector).

The Primicerius was elected by the Doctors of Law. In 1503 the Doctors of Law had 4 Theologians and in 1784 two Doctors of Medicine added to their ranks. Since the Pope was the spiritual head and, after 1348, the temporal ruler of Avignon, he was able to have a great deal of influence in all university affairs. In 1413 John XXIII granted the university extensive special privileges, such as university jurisdiction and tax exempt status. Political, geographical, and educational circumstances in the latter part of the university's existence caused it to seek favour from Paris rather than Rome for protection. During the chaos of the French Revolution the university started to gradually disappear and, in 1792, the university was abandoned and closed.

Avignon: Modern university

A university annex of the Faculté des Sciences d'Aix-Marseille was opened in Avignon in 1963. Over the next 20 years various changes were made to the provision of tertiary education in the town until finally in 1984 the Université d'Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse was created. This was nearly 200 years after the demise of the original Avignon university. The main campus lies to the east of the city centre within the city ramparts. The university occupies the 18th century buildings of the Hôpital Sainte-Marthe. The main building has an elegant façade with a central portico. The right hand side was designed by Jean-Baptiste Franque and built between 1743 and 1745. Franque was assisted by his son François in the design of the portico. The hospital moved out in the 1980s and, after major works, the building opened for students in 1997. In 2009–2010 there were 7,125 students registered at the university.

Avignon: People who were born or died in Avignon

  • Trophime Bigot, French painter, died in Avignon, 1650.
  • Jean Alesi, racing car driver, born in Avignon, 1964
  • Henri Bosco, writer, born in Avignon, 1888.
  • Pierre Boulle, author of The Bridge over the River Kwai and Planet of the Apes, born in Avignon, 1912
  • Alexandre de Rhodes (1591–1664), Jesuit missionary, born in Avignon.
  • Pierre-Esprit Radisson, fur trader and explorer, born in Avignon, 1636 or 1640
  • Bernard Kouchner, politician, born in Avignon, 1936
  • Mireille Mathieu, singer, born in Avignon, 1946
  • Olivier Messiaen, composer, born in Avignon, 1908
  • Joseph Vernet, painter, born in Avignon, 1714.
  • John Stuart Mill, liberal philosopher, died at Avignon in 1873 and is buried in the cemetery.
  • Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer, artist and scholar, died in Avignon in 1825
  • Michel Trinquier, painter, born in Avignon, 1930
  • René Girard, historian, literary critic, philosopher, and author, born in Avignon, 1923
  • Daniel Arsand, writer and publisher, born in Avignon, 1950
  • Vincent Almendros, writer, winner of the 2015 prix Françoise Sagan, born in Avignon, 1978
  • Cédric Carrasso, footballer, born in Avignon, 1981

Avignon: See also

  • Avenir Club Avignonnais, a French association football team
  • Battle of Avignon (737)
  • Councils of Avignon, councils of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Pont Saint-Bénézet (bridge at Avignon)

Avignon: Notes

  1. Provençal tradition says that the first two were the mistral and the Parliament of Aix
  2. The épicentre was at Lambesc – a village in Bouches-du-Rhône.
  3. This area has had the INRA Centre which carries out scientific research in engineering environmental management for cultivated land and forests since 1953.
  4. Cleaning company.

Avignon: References

  1. "84007-Avignon: Legal Population of the commune 2011". Insee (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques). Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  2. répertoire géographique des communes; retrieved: 26 October 2015.
  3. Avignon in the Competition for Towns and Villages in Bloom Archived 10 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine. (in French)
  4. , p. 30.
  5. , p. 1689.
  6. Robert Bourret, French-Occitan Dictionary, Éd. Lacour, Nîmes, 1999, p. 59. (in French)
  7. , p. 62.
  8. Relief and Geology of the Avignon sector, Agence Rosier website (archived) (in French)
  9. Avignon Encyclopedia Universalis website (in French)
  10. "Cassini map circa 1750: Avignon". David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  11. .
  12. Floods in Avignon, Institut national de l'audiovisuel video document, consulted on 19 July 2014 (in French)
  13. Floods in Paris and Avignon, 23 January 1955, Institut national de l'audiovisuel video document JT 20h, ORTF, consulted on 19 July 2014 (in French)
  14. Floods on 2 December 2003, Institut national de l'audiovisuel video document (in French)
  15. Watercourses: The Èze River (X31-0400), Sandre database (in French)
  16. The Street of Dyers – Avignon, avignon-et-provence.com website, consulted on 19 July 2014
  17. Regulatory Seismic Zoning of France, classed by cantons (as at the end of 1989) in the PACA rehion, p. 48. (in French)
  18. , p. 196.
  19. Paris, Nice, Strasbourg, Brest
  20. Data from the Station at Orange from 1981 to 2010 (in French)
  21. Infoclimat weather station at Orange (in French)
  22. Jean Vialar, Regional and local winds, 1948; reprinted by Météo-France in 2003. (in French)
  23. Source: Inter Rhône technical services at Avignon Metereological data from 2006 Archived 13 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine. (in French)
  24. "Les communes". Communauté d'Agglomération du Grand Avignon. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  25. List of Mayors of France (in French)
  26. National Commission for Decentralised cooperation (in French)
  27. Francis, Valerie. "Twin Town News – Colchester, Avignon, Imola and Wetzlar" (PDF). The Colchester Twinning Society. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  28. "Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Avignon". École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS). Retrieved 26 July 2014. .
  29. Avignon, Town Hall Annual, consulted on 10 September 2010 (in French)
  30. "Contexte économique: Carte d'identité d'Avignon" (in French). Le Marie, Avignon.
  31. A wall of commercial areas, journal le Ravi, November 2008 (in French)
  32. It is the zone, article in the Provençal magazine le Ravi, September 2011
  33. The exemptions in the Sensitive urban zone of Avignon (in French)
  34. Maps and plans of the Sensitive urban zone of Avignon, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vaucluse, consulted on 19 October 2011 (in French)
  35. Principal areas of activity in the department, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vaucluse, consulted on 19 October 2011 (in French)
  36. Joly, Sylvie. "Avignon 2013: Dossier de Presse" (PDF) (in French). Office de Tourisme, Avignon. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  37. South INSEE the highest 10, October 1998, INSEE, consulted on 18 October 2011 (in French)
  38. Key Employment data, INSEE
  39. "Transport: Parking" (in French). La Marie d'Avignon. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  40. "Transport: Le train". La Marie d'Avignon. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  41. "TCRA Transports en Commun Région d'Avignon: Page d'accueil". Transports en Commun de la Région d'Avignon. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  42. "Le tramway: Un projet optimisé pour 2016". Communauté d'Agglomération du Grand Avignon. Archived from the original on 2 July 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  43. "Vélopop" (in French). Transports en Commun de la Région d'Avignon. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  44. "Search for "Avignon" in Mérimée database" (in French). Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  45. "L'extension du XX siècle" (in French). Archives Municipales Avignon. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  46. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00081814 Notre Dame des Doms (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  47. Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM84000105 Tomb of Pope John XXII (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  48. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00081941 Palais des Papes (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  49. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00081834 Church of Saint-Pierre (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  50. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00081832 Church of Saint-Didier (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  51. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00081831 Church of Saint-Agricol (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  52. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00081880 Hôtel de Ville (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  53. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00081864 Hôtel des Monnaies (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  54. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00081943 Ramparts (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  55. .
  56. , pp. 84–87.
  57. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00081942 Palais du Roure (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  58. "Festival 2014". Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  59. "Popes' Palace". Palais-des-papes.com. Archived from the original on 7 January 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  60. "Europe, Warning over French uranium leak". BBC News. 9 July 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  61. Anonymous (6 February 1853), "Théatre Impérial de l'Opéra-Comique, Le Sourd ou l'Auberge pleine: Comédie en trois actes de Desforges, mélée de musique par Ad. Adam", Revue et gazette musicale de Paris: journal des artistes, des amateurs et des théâtres (in French), Paris, 20 (6): 42 .
  62. , pp. 219–229.
  63. "Liste des écoles maternelles et primaires". Le Marie d'Avignon. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  64. Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "University of Avignon". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  65. "Présentation: Histoire". Université d'Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  66. , pp. 123–124.
  67. , pp. 306–307.
  68. "Présentation: Chiffres clés". Université d'Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  69. , p. 356.
  70. , p. 63.
  71. Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Alexandre De Rhodes". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  72. "Claude-Joseph Vernet". National Gallery, London. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  73. , p. 356.

Avignon: Sources

  • Boyer, Jean (1988). "The one and only Trophime Bigot". The Burlington Magazine. 130 (1022): 355–357. JSTOR 883417.
  • Champion, Maurice (1862). Les inondations en France depuis le VIe siècle jusqu'a nos jours (Volume 4) (in French). Paris: V. Dalmont.
  • Dauzat, Albert; Rostaing, Charles (1963). Dictionnaire étymologique des noms de lieux en France (in French). Paris: Larousse.
  • Girard, Joseph (1958). Évocation du Vieil Avignon (in French). Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit. OCLC 5391399.
  • Mistral, Frédéric (1979) [1879]. Lou Trésor dou Félibrige ou Dictionnaire provençal-français (Volume 1: A-F ) (in French and Provencal). Raphèle-lès-Arles: M. Petit.
  • Rouquette, Jean-Maurice (1974). Provence Romane: La Provence Rhodanienne (in French, English, and German). Paris: Zodiaque. OCLC 1036957.
  • Rostaing, Charles (1994) [1950]. Essai sur la toponymie de la Provence : depuis les origines jusqu'aux invasions barbares (in French). Marseille: Jeanne Laffitte. ISBN 978-273480676-9.
  • Vella, Marc-Antoine; et al. (2013). "Géoarchéologie du Rhône dans le secteur du pont Saint-Bénézet (Avignon, Provence, France) au cours de la seconde moitié du deuxième millénaire apr. J.-C. : étude croisée de géographie historique et des paléoenvironnements" (PDF). Géomorphologie : relief, processus, environnement (in French and English). 3: 287–310. doi:10.4000/geomorphologie.10300.
  • Vingtain, Dominique; Aujard-Catot, Roland, eds. (2001). Avignon: Musées, Monuments, Promenades (in French). Paris: Éditions du patrimoine. ISBN 2-85822-555-9.
  • Vitaglione, Daniel (2000). The Literature of Provence: An Introduction. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 9780786408436.
  • Xavier de Fourvière, R.P.; Rupert, R.P. (1902). Lou pichot tresor, dictionnaire provençal-français et français-provençal. Avignon: Aubanel.
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Avignon". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Councils of Avignon". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "University of Avignon". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Avignon". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  • Tourist office website
  • City council website
  • Avignon greater metropolitan area website (in French)
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