Things to do in Avignon
Buy some decent olive oil
For any food with a Franco-Mediterranean bent, olive oil is the golden glue that holds it all together. Guided excursions arranged by the tourist office (www.avignon-tourisme.com) leave Avignon for the area around the pretty village of Les Baux-de-Provence, just to the south. At traditional oil mills you'll be shown how olive oil is made and get to taste plenty.
Cook like a local
The South of France's culinary reputation is unparalleled, so why not use some of your time here trying to cook like them. At Concept Chef (tel: +33 6 2536 1240; www.conceptchef.com) there are courses for adults and children, and anyone who wants insight into the local style of Provençal cuisine will be well pleased (not to mention well fed).
Go horse riding on Barthelasse Island
Horse riding is a highly regarded activity in the western Provence region, and there's no better place to do it than on Barthelasse Island. The Centre Equestre d'Avignon (tel: +33 4 9085 8348; www.cheval-avignon.ffe.com) runs a variety of short riding courses on the river island, which is accessed by a free ten-minute ferry from the Pont d'Avignon.
Haggle in the local flea markets
Nothing quite says immersive holiday like getting into a robust argument about the price of a knackered old Cezanne print. There are two excellent flea markets in Avignon: the Petite Brocante d'Avignon in Place des Corps every Tuesday, and the Puces de Bonpas in Monfavet on a Saturday morning. Arrive early for the best bargains.
Tackle the River Sorgue in a canoe
For the amateur, river canoeing on the Rhône can be a little too challenging. For a gentler canoe outing, head to nearby Fontaine-de-Vaucluse on the pretty River Sorgue with Canoe Evasion (tel: +33 4 90 38 26 22; www.canoe-evasion.net). Two-hour trips go downstream for 8km (5 miles) from Fontaine-de-Vaucluse to l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Groups leave several times daily.