Avignon tours and excursions

Avignon tours

Boat tours

It’s atmospheric to see Avignon’s medieval fortifications and landmarks from the River Rhône. Grands Bateaux de Provence offers a several river excursions, including trips between Avignon and Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, and dinner cruises. In addition, there’s a frequent ferry from Pont St Bénezet to the Ile de la Barthelasse. Visitors can take a bicycle and ride the paths or just stroll, with magnificent views of the Palais des Papes and city ramparts.

Telephone: 04 9085 6225.
Bus tours

One-day or half-day bus tours into the Provence countryside, with shopping and sightseeing breaks, depart daily throughout the summer from Avignon Central Station. Choose between the Roman towns of Vaison-la-Romaine, Orange, Nîmes and Arles; or the spectacular Pont du Gard viaduct, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards, the landscapes of the Luberon hills or wild Camargue wetlands, or a trip to a Provençal country market. Private tours with English-speaking guides can be arranged. Two recommended bus tour companies include Cars Lieutaud and Self Voyage Provence.

Telephone: 04 9086 3675 ; 04 9014 7000.
Walking tours

The Avignon Tourist Office has information on a choice of guided city walks in French and English, and can book them for you. Tours are based on specific themes and cover the major sights. The tourist office also has a details of a useful suggested self-guided route along the picturesque pedestrianised streets and up to the Rocher des Doms or along the city's ramparts, taking in all the key attractions.

Telephone: 04 3274 3274.

Excursions from Avignon

Arles

The charming city of Arles, closely associated with Van Gogh, makes a perfect day trip. It’s 40km (24 miles) south of Avignon, at the gateway to the Camargue wetland wilderness. The town’s Roman Amphitheatre is among the finest surviving anywhere, and still in use for bullfights - as well as plays and concerts in summer. There’s a Roman theatre too, the strange Alyscamps necropolis, and some good art galleries.

Telephone: 04 9018 4120.
Gordes

The pretty Provençal village of Gordes lies atop the Vaucluse Plateau, about 40km (24 miles) east of Avignon. Artists' galleries and restaurants line the sloping streets, leading up to a medieval château. Just outside the village are the curious beehive-like stone “bories”, first built in the Bronze Age but occupied until the 18th century. To the north, the 12th-century Cistercian monastery of Abbaye de Sénanque is surrounded by fields of lavender.

Telephone: 04 9072 0275.
Vaison-la-Romaine

For lovers of history, the pleasant country town of Vaison-la-Romaine, with its two large Roman archaeological sites and high Roman bridge, is spectacular. The remains are in exceptionally good condition. There’s a big, colourful traditional street market too, every Tuesday morning. Vaison is located some 40km (25 miles) north of Avignon. If travelling by car, on the way there’s a chance to pause at picturesque wine villages such as Gigondas.

Telephone: 04 9036 0211.
Edited by Tina Banerjee
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