Avignon French Commune – A French Provencal Pleasureful Commune
Avignon French commune is in southeastern France in the department of the Vaucluse bordered by the left bank of the Rhône river. There were 94,787 inhabitants as of January 1, 2010 with about 12,000 living in the ancient town center surrounded by its medieval ramparts.
Provence, in the South of France will leave anyone dazed with the number of things to see and do. It is one of those holiday destinations that keep drawing people in because of its seemingly inexhaustible offerings.
Home to the world’s greatest chefs, it also a region that nestles spectacular landscapes, great attractions, and a profusion of cultural attractions and festivities. As a showcase of arts and culture, the fame of its annual theater festival, known as the Festival d’Avignon, has far exceeded the French borders.
If you are not on an extended vacation, it be difficult to decide where to start and where to go given a limited time. Of about six departments in the region, Avignon is the easy pick as it is considered Provence’s crown jewel. Dubbed as a cultural universe, Avignon is a pleasurably engaging destination within the city walls or outside.
Avignon has a Mediterranean climate characterized by relatively dry summers and cool, damp winters. The city is often subject to windy weather; the strongest wind is the mistral. The popular proverb is, however, somewhat exaggerated, Avenie ventosa, sine vento venenosa, cum vento fastidiosa (windy Avignon, pest-ridden when there is no wind, wind-pestered when there is).
A Few Attractions
As there is no end to the wonderful sights to behold, begin with the most compelling:
Palais de Papes (Palace of the Popes )
Perhaps it has catapulted Avignon to such a persuasive cultural importance, Palais de Papes or Palace of the Popes is so named because the popes chose Avignon as their home in the 1300s. This imposing palace is one of Europe’s largest gothic edifices. In 1906, Palais de Papes was converted into a national museum and approximately a hundred years later it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When touring the palace, you will be greeted by a lavish facade and be offered an wonderful opportunity to explore a rich and luxurious interior. The papacy’s particularity with opulent details earned the palace expensive frescoes, sculptures and paintings, magnificent draperies and the ceilings, which you will really enjoy experiencing. Within the palace, you can also find a convention center and the department du Vaucluse archives.
One of the two world-famous towns frequently visited in Avignon, Les Baux-de-Provence is a picturesque, well positioned town which is proud of it’s long history and has earned recognition as France’s most beautiful village. The town sits on a U-shaped rock formation and within the town are castle ruins, cathedrals, museums and well-preserved medieval homes.
While one of the greatest views you can have of this town on a hill is from afar, you should certainly not pass up the chance to explore Les Baux-de-Provence up close and within to examine its long feudal history, religious struggles, and of course, enjoy the locals’ unparalleled hospitality. If you are in on sampling Provencal flavors, there are many good offerings to satisfy your craving.
The Musee De La Lavande (The Lavander Museum )
Located between Avignon and Apt in the village of Cousellet, the Musee De la Lavande or the Lavander Museum is a must-see, must-experience, must-photograph destination. The best time to visit is between the months of June and July when lavanders are in full bloom blanketing the fields in soft purple.
A lot of tours are arranged to visit the Musee De la Lavande from Avignon as it has become a favorite destination for visitors from all over the world. Provence has other wonderful lavader fields in other districts and departments.
However, Musee De La Lavande offers something extra because it’s a museum that provides you the privilege of being educated about the history of lavander production. The displays of artifacts used in actual lavander production are also highlights of the visit.
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