It was June 2019, where there was a long weekend holiday, that I decided spontaneously about going somewhere else. My colleagues had plans already, and I thought why not do something on my own?
So, I decided, on a Thursday that I will go to Avignon. I have a Michelin travel book of France, and I have been browsing that day where in the country should I go next and saw the beautiful photo of an unfinished bridge, hahaha!
Avignon is located in the southeast of France, particularly in the Provence region and set on the Rhône River. A seat of the Catholic popes in the early 14th century, the most recognized place in the city centre is the Palais des Papes. I admit, I do not have enough time to stay and go around since I don’t have a car, but an overnight stay was enough for me.
Going there. My mode of transportation is commuting most of the time. Going to Avignon, I took the Oui train that travels directly from Antibes to Paris’ Gare de Lyon. There is no train traveling directly to Avignon, but you have several options, such as transferring to a different train in Marseille or in Aix, whichever you are familiar with. If you are coming from Nice-Ville, I recommend either of these options.
Since the travel time will take half of your day, my only advise is to take the early morning trip. This will give you more time to go around the place you want to visit, and relax when you are done. This has always been my philosophy. I don’t want to waste my time especially if I am going to visit a new place.
It was challenging for a foreigner like me to travel around France, especially when I am not yet well-versed to the French language. There were lots of delays with the train from Antibes to Aix, so I was praying so hard that I would make it to the next train. Luckily, when I transferred trains in the train station in Aix going to Avignon, there was a very helpful staff in the platform who can speak English and helped me where to go. The same thing happened when I was in the Avignon central station, transferring to another train going to the city centre.
The hotel I took was a charming one just near the train station, Hôtel Le Colbert, to which I foind in Booking.Com. The elderly couple were warm and accommodating, and I recommend this one for an overnight stay. The hotel is also near the main road and the restaurants. Up ahead in the main boulevard are the main attractions that can be reached by foot. It was June and the start of summer, so there were lots of people coming in already.
I was in the hotel early and since I would only be there for an overnight, I left my backpack in the reception and started to go around. The museums and other attractions are within walking distance. Since this was a spontaneous trip and I did not really plan for anything else, I walked around the narrow streets to explore, visited Palais des Papes, Avignon Cathedral, Musee du Petite Palais and the Pont d’Avignon. The centre is surrounded by medieval stone ramparts and when I entered the Palais des Papes, there was a feeling as if I was transported back in time. It helped that the audio guide also had a simulation on what it looked like back then.
After exploring the centre and sampled some good food while people watching, I went back to my hotel to rest. I was so tired because I was able to cover a lot of areas in about three hours’ time, so I took a rest then went out at around past 4 in the afternoon to take another nap in the park on the other side of the river! Hahaha!
I will definitely go back to Avignon with more time to spare. Hopefully, with someone. I felt that there are so much more I should experience and visit here. Have you been here? If you do, drop in some recommendations for me. If you have also other questions, feel free to write on something in the comments! 🙂