The fortified city of Avignon is very much a city of history and theatre. Avignon's architecture is marked by papal history. Going through any of the seven doors of the superbly preserved walls one discovers the city of the Popes. The Palace of the Popes built in the 14th century overlooks a lively square of which there are several picturesque ones dotted around the old town such as the Place de L’Horloge and Place du Palais.
Nearby are the museums the Petit Palais and Palais du Roure and not too far away stands the famous Pont d'Avignon. The ancient streets, the courtyards of the private mansions, the renovated facades – it is all charming!
One of the most elegant streets is the rue Joseph Vernet, adjacent to the Calvet museum and the Requiem Museum. A visit to the Antiquaire quarter, the Place de l'Horloge or the Chemin de Ronde will take you to the Rocher des Doms.
From the top of the ramparts you can understand why the site was chosen for a fort: Avignon stands high above the immense plains of the Rhône River and is the strategic point of the whole valley.
The theatre festival has made Avignon important in modern times. Started in 1947 by Jean Vilar, every year between the 10th of July and the 5th of August nearly 120,000 spectators come to discover new talent or admire those actors already known.
These shows (dance, theatre or music) are enhanced by the background of powerful history. The Off Festival is a series of street shows set up by would be actors and is considered to be an excellent work lab for these aspiring young people.
Late at night when the shows are over the terraces fill up with actors and spectators alike all creating a unique atmosphere and helping to fill the many lovely bars, cafes and restaurants.