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Getting around Avignon

Public transport

Avignon’s city buses are operated by Transports en Commun de la Région d'Avignon (TCRA) (tel: +33 4 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.

You can pre-purchase tickets (and punch them when you board), or simply buy them on the bus. Information and tickets are available at the Agence TCRA, avenue de Lattre de Tassigny, located between the central railway station and the tourist office. Tickets are also sold 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. Monthly passes are also available.

Taxis

To book or phone for a cab, the service is centrally run by Les Taxis d'Avignon, at Porte de la République (tel: +33 4 9082 2020).

The major taxi ranks are located in front of the central and TGV railway 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, and Parking des Italiens, avenue des Italiens, 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 Enterprise (tel: +33 4 9084 0148 or 9027 3007; www.enterprise.fr), Sixt (tel: +33 8 2000 7498; www.sixt.fr) and Véo (tel: +33 4 9087 5343 or 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 a couple of dozen locations around the city, including behind the railway station, in place Pie, on rue de la République, and in place de l’Hôtel de Ville. Using your credit card, you pay a notional registration fee and a returnable deposit. You can pay for one-day, seven-day or monthly access and then pay per half hour of use.

For longer bike rentals, try Provence Bike, 7 avenue St Ruf, beside Avignon Centre railway station (tel: +33 4 9027 9261; www.provence-bike.com). They are agents for the French national bike hire chain, Holiday Bikes. 

Featured Hotels

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Hotel Splendid

The Splendid offers six simple, well-kept, brightly decorated little rooms. It occupies an ordinary terraced house in a quiet residential street within the city walls, opposite the garden of an old cloister. It's well placed for anyone arriving by train, as it's just a few minutes' walk up the street from the station.

Hotel Colbert

The Colbert's arty style, with bright decor, pictures on the walls and unusual breakfast plates, are all the product of the creative and generous spirit of hosts Patrice and Annie. Rooms are tiny but adequately equipped. Access is very convenient, and all the sights and city centre are just minutes away.

La Mirande

Opposite the Palais des Papes, this former cardinal's palace from the 14th-century is all sophistication and attention to detail. The rooms are delightful, and the hotel's restaurant is one of the best in town. The sumptuous décor has been chosen with flair and imagination. Expensive, but this is luxury with charm and personality.

Hotel de l'Horloge

Well placed on the main square, this handsome old 4-star hotel is in the midst of all the life of the town. Noise is not usually a problem, but if you're concerned, ask for one of the quieter rooms at the side. Rooms are small but comfortable and attractively decorated.

Novotel Avignon Centre

Well positioned just outside the gateway into the walled city, the Novotel has easy road and rail access, an underground car park, a decent restaurant, swimming pool and spa, as well as bright, spacious, comfortable bedrooms. And it is only 10 minutes' walk to all the attractions of the city.

Hotel de Blauvac

This small, inexpensive hotel is just off the place de l'Horloge in a sensitively converted 17th-century mansion. It feels redolent with history, especially in the rooms with mezzanines and walls of massive exposed stone blocks. A warm welcome and 16 very basic but comfortable rooms make this a fine, well-placed budget choice.