A walk through Avignon

Sometimes I wish the South of France was less crowded with tourists.  Which is not the best thing to say, as I am one myself.  Okay, not really.  There must be some difference between a traveller and a tourist, as I see myself as a traveller wanting to experience the essence of my destination rather than snapping pictures of big sights only to say that I was there.  This is why I love walking, wandering and exploring my destination on foot.  Avignon’s old town, in Provence, makes for a lovely walk to see the city’s rustic beauty at a slow pace.

My guest house was close to Porte de la République (Avignon Centre train station side) and this is where I started my walk on the main Rue de la République, turning off in one of the many side streets.

What a pleasant surprise it was finding a life-size version of ‘Pink Blouse Amedeo’ by Modigliani.

Pink Blouse Amedeo by Modigliani

I made a stop at Les Halles for a snack and watched the many locals going about life in Place Pie.

Back on the main tourist path, Place de L’Horloge bustling with restaurants and the famous L’Hôtel de ville d’Avignon greeted me, showing off its impressive build.

Scene from Place de L’Horloge

From here it’s difficult not to find oneself on the way to the Palais des Papes.  It still looms over the town with past authority making it unmissable.

Golden statue of the Virgin Mary
Place in front of the Palais du Papes
Palais du Papes
Palais du Papes

After reveling at its grandeur it’s only a small climb to Rocher des Doms.  The green space surprised me with a special view over the Rhône River and St Bénézet’s Bridge.

View from the top
View from the top

I found a path heading down passing small artisan shops selling handmade products from Provence.  It’s difficult to ignore the many soap vendors and I join in with many others, testing the perfumes of the different soaps.

Soap vendors everywhere

One ice-cream later and the sun is setting over the river.  The riverbank is the perfect place to watch nature (and a wedding photographer in action).

St Bénézet’s bridge
View from the bottom
View from the bottom

I leisurely stroll back, getting slightly lost along the way in the many little streets of Avignon.  In Rue des Lices I (and my friend) come across the charming bistro L’Espice and Love, recommended by the polite guest house owners at Hotel Bouqier (recommended!). *UPDATE 2019: This restaurant has now changed it’s name to La Kase a Rom*

I love the style of the small dimly lit bistro, the pink walls and illustrative posters on the wall.  Starting off with a deep red wine and a starter, then onto braised pork cheek and crème brulee.

It’s only a short walk back to the guest house. With my tummy joyously full, this was a (walking) day well spent in my book.

What to see and do in Avignon, France Short Travel Guide

This post is also part of the City Tripping Linkup.