Getting around Avignon

Public transport

Avignon’s city buses are operated by Transports en Commun de la Région d'Avignon (TCRA) (tel: 04 3274 1832; www.tcra.fr). It serves the whole of 'Grand Avignon' (Greater Avignon), including out-of-town Les Angles, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon and Le Pontet. The main bus interchanges in central Avignon are in front of the main post office (Avignon Poste), in place Pie and on rue de la République.

Most routes run Monday to Saturday 0700-1930, and on Sunday approximately 0800-1800. Tickets can be pre-purchased (and punched when you board), or simply bought on the bus. Information and tickets are available at the Agence TCRA, avenue de Lattre de Tassigny (tel: 04 3274 1832), located between the central rail station and the tourist office. Tickets can also be purchased at newsagents and shops displaying the TCRA logo. If you think you’ll be using the bus a lot, a carnet of 10 tickets works out cheaper than buying them individually. Weekly and monthly passes are also available.

Taxis

To book or phone for a cab, the service is centrally run by Taxi Radio Avignonnais, at Porte de la République (tel: 04 9082 2020).

The major taxi ranks are located in front of the central and TGV rail stations, while others are at Raspail (rue de la République), St Lazare (near the university) and place Pie. Tips are welcome but not expected.

Driving

Avignon's Old Town is compact enough to be covered on foot and parts of it are pedestrianised. However, for visitors who choose to drive, conditions are good, roads rarely traffic-clogged and there is a special pleasure to be gained in driving through the portes (gates) of the ancient city walls.

The main supervised and 24-hour car parks are located at the stations, at 7 avenue Monclar, and underneath the Palais des Papes square. Free, supervised car parks are located at the Ile Piot (about 1,500 spaces), and Parking des Italiens, avenue des Italiens (over 500 spaces), which both have free shuttle buses running to the city centre. In peak season, an additional car park opens at the foot of the Pont St Bénézet. Alternatively, there are good car parks west of the city centre.

Car hire

The minimum age for car hire varies from 21 to 25 years. Drivers must possess a national driving licence, which they must have held for at least one year. Third party insurance is mandatory for driving in France and this should be covered in the hire price. Additional insurance is optional.

Providers include National/Citer, at the airport and Gare TGV (tel: 04 9084 0148 or 9027 3007; www.citer.com); Ucar Location, 160bis avenue Pierre Sémard (tel: 04 9014 0101; www.ucar.fr) and Véo, 151 avenue Pierre Sémard (tel: 04 9087 5343 and 9087 9515; www.veolocation.com).

Bicycle hire

The Avignon municipality has its own self-service bike hire scheme, called Vélopop (www.velopop.fr). The bike stands can be found at 17 locations around the city, including behind the railway station; in Place Pie; in main street Rue de la République; and in the central square Place de l’Hôtel de Ville. Using your credit card, pay a notional registration fee and a returnable deposit. The first 30 minutes is free, after which there’s a very modest charge per additional half-hour.

For longer bike rentals, try Provence Bike, 7 avenue St Ruf, beside Avignon Centre railway station (tel: 04 9027 9261; www.provence-bike.com). They are agents for the French national bike hire chain, Holiday Bikes.

 

Edited by Tina Banerjee
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