I’ve decided to start splitting up my posts into categories one of them now being hidden gems, where I will give some information about, and try to convince you to go to, some cities that I never would have thought to visit off the top of my head.
First up is Avignon, a southeastern French city, set on the Rhone River. A former papal province, the centre of town boasts a large Palais de Papes (Pope’s palace), giving off an extreme medieval feel, with large, stone walls encasing the city and the palace rising up over the other buildings.
Make sure to try and visit in July to see the annual Festival d’Avignon (the 71st this year!), for your fill of street performers, theatre acts, and local culture.
Hotel: Cloitre Saint-Louis Avignon (about 109 euros a night), with a charming “secret garden” alcove for peace and lounging, or the rooftop pool allowing for relaxation after the hot, sultry days.
Budget travel: When I stayed there, I ended up at the YMCA Avignon (for a mere 30-40 euro a night), it was very simple, but cheap and easy walking distance to the town centre.
Highlights and must-do’s:
- The Pope’s Palace
- The gardens surrounding are also beautiful, and great for lounging under the trees to catch some shade while munching on a thick, ice drink (also an awesome vantage point to check out the Rhone River)
- Grab a bottle of wine, some deli meats and freshly baked bread and lounge on the opposite side of the river, eating dinner and getting drunk, while watching the sun set over the city (make sure to try out a Bordeaux wine)
- Go in July to catch the Festival d’Avignon
- Maybe try and catch the piglet circus, held on a boat on the riverbank, featuring some pretty cool acts and acrobats
- Make sure to take a walk on and hear the legend of the arched Saint-Benezet Bridge (pictured as the feature photo):
“But if this bridge is famous, his story is less so.
The first time you discovered, it is surprising that it is truncated …
Only four arches remain on 22 of its origin.
What happened? What is the event that caused this destruction?
Moreover, little is known about the true name of the bridge Saint-Benezet.
Who was this saint and what was his relationship with the bridge?”
(Psst: it has to do with a shepherd and the word of God)
Now I’m sure many people had heard of Avignon and the bridge before, and planned trips to go specifically there. I just know personally, I had never heard of it until I was on my way to France and I am sure that other people knew little or nothing about it as well- but if not, I guess I’m just not as well-versed as the rest of you.
Either way, hope you enjoyed and your week has been kind to you