Enjoy Medieval Splendor in Avignon Without Paying a King's Ransom

Posted January 4, 2010 by Amy Westervelt

France-_avignon-palaisdespapes-def Many of Avignon's star attractions—the imposing and beautiful Palais des Papes, the medieval St-Benezet bridge, the dozens of historic homes—are affordable, which means you can save your euros for its fantastic restaurants. Spend the day admiring the architecture of the town, then settle in to taste some of the best food Provence has to offer.

Petit Palais: The interior rooms of the 14th-century Palais des Papes, the former home of Pope Clement V, has long since been stripped of the furniture and trappings that once made them shine. However, just across the cobblestone Palais des Papes, the smaller Petit Palais once housed the archbishop and has since been transformed into a museum that's well worth a visit for a peek at its stunning collection of Italian Renaissance paintings. Admission costs €6 (about $9; see XE.com for current exchange rates).

Restaurant Brunel: Christian Etienne may have cornered the market on special occasion multi-course gourmet meals (costing $100 and up), but for delicious regional favorites at a great value, Avignon locals head to Restaurant Brunel (46 rue de La Balance). Simply decorated and filled with fresh local flowers, the family-run bistro serves an assortment of fresh fish and lamb dishes, and is the embodiment of all things Provencal. Grab an outdoor table on a sunny day or moonlit night to truly enjoy the setting. 

Le Clos du Rempart: Built around a charming courtyard overflowing with the herbs and flowers Provence is famous for, Le Clos du Rempart is the ideal home base from which to explore Avignon. Rooms are large, spotless, and well turned out with a pleasant blend of antiques and modern touches. Aida, the lady of the house, offers fantastic advice on restaurants, local markets, and activities. Room rates start at €100 per night and include continental breakfast.

To search for flights and compare prices to Paris, which is home to Avignon’s nearest major airport, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: iStockPhoto.com/Fanelie Rosier)

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