Every July, the delightful French medieval walled city of Avignon becomes a fabulous theater, and this year, its 68th, is no exception. The Avignon Festival runs from July fourth until the twenty-seventh, and is a do not miss attraction for theater lovers. The new director of the Festival, Olivier Py, hopes to attract returning, new, and younger theatergoers to the Avignon Festival by expanding on its emerging talent offerings (11 of the 36 directors are said to be under 35 years old), and by lowering ticket prices. Off the Beaten Path Note-Not to worry, you will still be able to enjoy the entire Henry VI trilogy performed in an 18 hour block with 7 intermissions. Perfect.
The annual Avignon Festival is world famous, and DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Provence & The Cote D'Azur Top 10 lists the Avignon Festival as the number one Festival in the region: "France's greatest theatre event is really two festivals. The official one takes over the Papal Palace's Courtyard of Honour...but it is the unofficial festival which enlivens the town, with street performers and up to 400 shows a day, from dance to burlesque comedy." Your dance card will be full, and the fringe Off Festival is particularly lively! DK also highlights some other interesting sites for your visit to Avignon, including a few top notch art museums. A favorite is the Musée Angladon-Dubrujeaud, an intimate private collection with works by Degas, Cézanne, Manet, Sisley, Picasso, and Van Gogh. Another favorite is the Musée Calvet. Avignon Wine Tours is also a very relaxing way to spend a day, appreciating (and tasting) the wines of the region.
The festival may be over, but Avignon still has plenty to offer. Not to be missed is the view from the hilltop gardens of Rocher des Doms, a hilly, scenic walk from the Papal Palace. From there, enjoy the fabulous views over the Pont D'Avigon or the Pont Saint-Bénézet, River Rhone and across to Villeneuve-les-Avignon. You can buy a joint ticket for the Papal Palace and this iconic partial bridge. A short suggested side trip from Avignon, is to Orange, which is home arguably to the best-preserved Roman Theater in Europe, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This theater was built during the rule of Augustus in approximately 25 BC in is located in the Par de la Colline St-Eutrope in Orange. Each summer a music festival is also hosted in this Roman theater. Interestingly, the original stage wall ensures pitch perfect acoustics. Those Romans really knew how to build! Orange is also a good launching point for touring the Côtes-du-Rhône vineyards.
A fine hotel recommended by DK Travel is the Hôtel d'Europe, Avignon. "Step back in time as you enter the ornate gates of this beautiful, historic hotel...an elegant atmosphere." Another DK Choice hotel is the family friendly La Bastide de Voulonne, set on an 18th century farm with fantastic view of the Luberon.
For an extra special stay, consider renting a villa through Le Collectionist. “Each residence is carefully chosen; it must not simply meet a series of criteria, but be esthetically pleasing, and attractive by its location, its history: it is a genuine encounter with a place and its owner.” Last week you saw a gorgeous villa from Le Collectionist in Provence. Wearever will feature another LeCollectionist property later this week.
More for you:Dream Villa in St. Tropez