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Top Rated Attractions in Avignon

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Palais du Roure

This building is “the most beautiful example of Gothic architecture in Avignon”, according to Joseph Girard in his Evocation du vieil Avignon (Past Times in Avignon), published by Editions de Minuit. The picturesque façade is decorated with interlacing, stylised branches. Built in 1448 by a Florentine banker, during the 19th century the palace was a place of sanctuary for the félibrige movement, which was created to promote Provençal language and literature. Two famous members of the movement lived here: Roumanille and Frédéric Mistral who wrote the successful novel Mireille in the Provençal dialect. These two authors were the first to render homage to the Provençal language, literature and culture. Today the palace is a museum and a centre for Provençal studies run by the Flandrezy-Espérandieu foundation (named after its founder, Jeanne de Flandreysy 1874-1959). The palace also has a major collection of bells, each one named after one of the region's poets!

Palais des Papes

The Palais des Papes is one of the largest 14th-century Gothic structures in existence today. The massive stone marvel comprises a collection of 50-meter towers covering a total of 15,000 square meters (161,459 square feet). Fulfilling its dual role as both a fortress and palace, it was home to no fewer than seven popes between 1309 and 1377, all of whom were anxious to escape Rome and its political unrest. Commitment to religious life did not stop these popes from surrounding themselves with luxuries like fine artworks, which can still be seen hanging over vast fireplaces, on the walls of bedrooms, and elsewhere around the sizable palace. Roughly 650,000 visitors throng to this magnificent palace each year.

Musée Calvet

Many of Avignon's town houses are in fact museums and Musée Calvet is no exception - apart from the magnificence and richness of its collections! Built in 1740, the Hôtel de Villeneuve-Martignan and its series of splendid apartments is unquestionably the ideal home for such masterpieces. The suites contain very diverse collections, which include pieces dating from prehistoric times right up to works of modern art. From the Cabinet de Curiosités gifted in the 18th century by Esprit Calvet, the Avignon physician who gave his name to the museum, to Egyptian, Greek and Gallo-Roman antiquities, there are many wonderful items on display. The exceptional collection of paintings from the French Schools of the 19th and 20th centuries includes works by well-known artists such as Corot, Daumier, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec and Soutine.

Opéra-théâtre d'Avignon

The statues of seventeenth-century French playwrights, Molière and Racine, invite you to climb the steps of this Italian-style theater. Before the start of the show, don't forget to admire the magnificent ceiling. With its gilded work, balustrades and rich reds, it's beautiful and delightfully kitsch. Ideal for operettas, a genre very much enjoyed in the region and enthusiastically played by the talented orchestra. The excellent acoustics cannot but satisfy lovers of classical music, opera and good variety shows.

Domaine de la Vallongue

Domaine de la Vallongue is a must visit for connoisseurs of wine touring Eygalières. The winery delights visitors with some of the most delicious wines found in the region and complements their wine bliss with spectacular views of the undulating vineyards. The place is also a venue for a series of public events and is an active participant in region's wine tourism.

Site Archéologique de Glanum

Located to the south of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, this site of the ancient town of Glanum is a piece of ancient history. It dates back to the 4th Century when it was constructed as a shrine dedicated to Glanis (a Gaulish god). The site was conquered by the Romans and was built by them around 10-25 BCE. The Romans were eventually defeated by the Alamanni around 260 BCE, which led to the Romans migrating northward and finding the city of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. The mesmerizing site transports visitors into the ancient era with its ancient architectural specimens like the triumphal arch and the cenotaph. Guided tours are arranged by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux.

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