Top 10 Things for Artists to See and Do in Avignon
If you’re an artist, sometimes a vacation is just what you need to recharge and get inspired. Our upcoming 5-day vacation workshop in Provence will be an unforgettable exploration of the hilltop villages with Avignon as our home base for the week.
Here are our top 10 things that we will see and do in Avignon during our small group artists' retreat taught by super talented American (living in Paris) urban sketcher, Alex Hillkurtz. Get ready to be inspired!
10. Tour the Palais des Papes
The Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) was once a fortress, palace, and the papal residence during the 14th century. Seven popes lived here before the return of the papacy to Rome. It is the largest Gothic palace in Europe and visitors can't help but be impressed by it's huge cavernous interior spaces, maze of galleries, chambers, and chapels.
9. Ride the Carrousel
Located in the Place de l'Horloge, the Carrousel d’ Avignon la belle époque, designed by an Italian company, was meant to be temporary at Christmas time in 1980 but was so appreciated by locals and tourists that it is now a permanent feature in this space. Take if for a spin or sit back and people-watch in this beautiful open square.
8. Dance on the Pont Saint-Bénézet
7. Eat in a Michelin Star Restaurant
If you're visiting Avignon for the first time, why not make a reservation at Au Jardin des Carmes, a cozy little eatery with a garden patio enclosed by ancient stone walls. Prices are surprisingly reasonable for a Michelin starred restaurant and the presentation and taste--outstanding.
6. Walk the length of the Ramparts
Construction began in 1355 during the Papacy of Pope Innocent VI on the ramparts that encircle old Avignon. Built to protect the city from assaults by roving bands of mercenaries, the ramparts were finished in 1370. On a beautiful day a walk along the 4.3 km length of these UNESCO World Heritage ramparts is time well spent.
5. Check out Les Halles
Les Halles d'Avignon is a covered market located in the heart of the city. It hosts 40 Provençal vendors and features a "green wall". More than just a vegetable market, Les Halles is a meeting place that hosts various events throughout the year such as wine tastings, parades, demonstrations and festivals.
4. Look Up in the Ceccano Library
Pop in to the Ceccano Library to see the remarkable painted ceilings. Built between 1329 and 1350, the building was originally the Ceccano Cardinal's Palace. In the 16th century it became a Jesuit School. In 1960, after many different uses, it was restored and became a public library. But the medieval painted ceiling beams can still be seen if you climb the stairs to the second floor and look up.
3. People watch in a quiet patio
Grab some lunch at one of several bistro patios located in the shadow of the Basilique Saint-Pierre and watch the world stroll by. Located just off the main street, this area is considerably quieter and entirely pleasant.
2. Cool off in the Jardin des Doms
Located 30m above the Rhône River and overlooking the Palais des Papes, this leafy garden offers a magnificent panoramic view of the old town, the monuments and the landscapes of the Rhône plain up to Mont-Ventoux. It features a pond complete with swans and geese and a restaurant-bar.
1. Take 5 art classes with amazing urban sketcher and watercolor artist, Alex Hillkurtz
The number one top thing for artists to see and do in Avignon is to take an art class every morning of our 5-day retreat with super talented Alex Hillkurtz. Alex will guide us through his process for creating gorgeous watercolour paintings. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish with Alex as your instructor. The group is limited to 10-15 participants coming from all over the world all at various skill levels. We’re all there for the same reason—to have fun and learn new skills in good company.
The Perfect Artist Vacation
Doesn't this sound like the perfect artist vacation? This vacation workshop in the Hilltop Villages of Provence, France taught by Alex Hillkurtz is organized by Studio 56 Boutique.