We decided to travel and discover Avignon city and its region; therefore, I organized our road trip all around it. Starting our road trip from Toulon, we first stopped in Arles, before continuing our road until the beautiful Camargue. We spent the night 25km away from Nimes, in a perfect guest hotel in Remoulins medieval village. The following day, we went to visit the Pont du Gard (the Gard’s Bridge that was built under Roman Empire) and we finally continued our road until Avignon. Overall, we made 300 km in 2 days and enjoyed seeing different landscapes and visiting famous monuments of the region.

 Arles

Roman treasures, shady squares and plenty of Camarguais culture make Arles a seductive stepping stone into the Camargue. And if its colourful sun-baked houses evoke a sense of déjà vu, it’s because you’ve seen them already on a Van Gogh canvas – the artist painted 200-odd works around town. (LonelyPlanet)

To be honest, I haven’t been really amazed by this city. Of course, its famous arena is beautiful -but they are well more conserved in Nimes in my opinion. There’s not really much to do in this city, except a small walking tour around the old city center. Besides, we didn’t chose the best day to come: it was Sunday (you all have to know that everything is closed on Sundays in France) and it was raining, meaning that we haven’t met even a cat in the streets! All little shops and restaurants in the center were closed. So we decided to keep on going and following the rest of our road trip. The observation point on the Rhone river is however, quite impressive!

Arles arenaArles Amphitheatre, built during the Roman Empire reign
The old city center – totally empty! It might be nice during touristic season though
The Rhone river
Overlooking at the Rhone

Camargue and Saintes Maries de la Mer

Just south of Arles, Provence's rolling landscapes yield to the flat, marshy wilds of the Camargue, famous for teeming birdlife – roughly 500 species, from grey herons and little egrets to avocets and oystercatchers, as well as the candy-pink flamingo, which enjoys the mild winters of these expansive wetlands. Equally famous are the Camargue's small white horses, watched over by local cowboys known as gardians.

We kept driving until the Saintes Maries de la Mer (Saint Marys of the Sea) which is the capital of the Camargue region. Here too, there is not much to see during the winter. We visited the church located on the main center; in the crypt of the church, there is a statue of Ste. Sarah (or “Sara the Black”) who is believed to be the patron saint of the Romani people.

The church
Goddess Sara the Black

There are a few local shops to visit around the church; and after this, I would recommend you to go walk by the beach a few meters away. The view and the atmosphere are quite nice!

Local products (charcuterie is a must in the region!)
Bulls are the symbol of the region 

After this, we decided to keep driving around  the Camargue region. We met a few pink flamingos, birds and horses along the way. It definitely worth a visit! We didn’t had time to stop any longer, but if you plan to come in the area, there are some fun activities to do: fishing, riding horses, Jeeps and 4×4, hiring bicycles.

Pink flamingo


Remoulins

We spent the night in the cutest guesthouse we could find ! The “Bize de la Tour” was located in Remoulins and we fell immediately in love with the medieval village around and the propriety’s owner. We recommend it if you find yourself in the area. We loved everything in this place, the bedroom really looked like we were inside a castle; the bathroom was huge and the homemade breakfast was delicious!

Pont du Gard

Southern France has some fine Roman sites, but nothing can top the Unesco World Heritage–listed Pont du Gard.

After a good night sleep in Remoulins, we continued our road to the Pont du Gard, built by the Romans. This monument is incredible! It has been the peak of our trip. Just to contemplate this huge bridge is beyond amazement.  The visit to this bridge is paying and includes a visit to the Roman museum; for the package, you’ll have to pay 11,50Eur per person. It really worths the price. The museum is quite nice, however not so big. We discover a lot of things about the Roman era and their constructions in the region. After the museum’s visit, you’ll have to walk 10-15min before discovering the aqueduct in front of your eyes.

Avignon

For 70-odd years of the early 1300s, the Provençal town of Avignon served as the centre of the Roman Catholic world, and though its stint as the seat of papal power only lasted a few decades, it's been left with an impressive legacy of ecclesiastical architecture, most notably the soaring, World Heritage–listed fortress-cum-palace known as the Palais des Papes.

We then continued our road to arrive to our final stop, Avignon. If you plan to visit this city with a car, we advise you to park outside the city walls (less expensive and more parkings available than in the center!). This city is built in an original manner: the city is delimited by ancient walls and inside it, you can find all kinds of restaurants, shops, boutiques and of course, the ancient Palace of the Popes. Here again, it’s amazing to see these ancient walls and this big architecture in front of our eyes. The visit inside the Palace is quite nice, you learn a lot about the period when the Popes were leaving here before they returned to Vatican City.

Christian Etienne, a 1* Michelin restaurant located next to the Pope Palace



We didn’t have time to visit more Avignon (or stop at the famous Avignon’s bridge – which was quite a disappointment for me!-, but I can’t wait to come back and visit more the region.

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