Visually charming and historically enthralling, the town of Avignon bursts with culture, art, beauty and life; foreboding Medieval fortresses rub shoulders with pristine papal palaces, while gently winding cobbled streets lead visitors to glittering riverbanks or fashionable boutiques. Rich historical heritage and cosmopolitan culture amalgamate in this Medieval metropolis, which is undoubtedly a unique place that oozes an air of magical mystery.
Wandering the enchanting Old Town is like being transported back into a provincial fairy tale, with its crooked cobbles, handsome houses and gently turning waterwheels. The most staggering sight is undoubtedly the Palais des Papes, the world’s largest Gothic palace; a mesmerising myriad of thick stone walls, imposing watchtowers and rusting gates, the palace also features some internal aesthetic marvels that include chapel frescos by prominent Italian artist Giovennetti and panoramic Medieval hunting scenes. Pont d’Avignon is another alluring attraction due to its stunning solid extension into the deep and dazzling river.
Housed in the affluent and austere Hotel de Villeneuve Martignan, a stunning example of neo-classical architecture, the Musee Calvet is the artistic equivalent to a bounteous bowl of ripe fruit; high ceilinged rooms are filled with everything from classic 20th century masterpieces to prehistoric pieces, enormous depictions of stormy landscapes to sinewy sculptures twisted from wrought iron. The divinely decadent structure of the Opera Grand will make visitors loathe to step within due to its breath-taking beauty, however the world class ballets and operas performed here are worth it.
Occupying an enviable location beside the regal Palais de Papes, the Restaurant Christian Etienne is housed within an atmospheric 12th century stone building and boasts an esteemed Michelin star. Delectable dishes subvert classic French dishes in order produce innovate meals such as black tomato cappuccino with garlic foam, truffle infused roast meats and tomato and mustard sorbet` for desert. Presentation is picture perfect and meals are guaranteed to surprise, shock and satisfy.(10 rue de Mons, 84000 Avignon. France)