For several years now, we’ve been going to the Avignon Festival which takes place every year for 3 weeks in July. Normally rather calm, the charming little town of Avignon completely changes during this so special period of the year. The streets are animated, hundreds of colorful posters are hanged all around Avignon and tourists and artists flock from around the world to take part to the biggest theater in the world. During 3 weeks, the city is effervescent and it’s without a doubt our favorite period of the year in Avignon. Over the years, we’ve collected some valuable tips that we’ll share with you here. If you’re planning to visit the city during the Avignon Festival and live this extraordinary experience, this blog post is definitely for you!
Things you have to know before going to the Avignon Festival
First of all, you have to know that there are two Avignon Festivals each year: the IN festival and the OFF festival. The IN is the historical version of the festival, it’s kind of like the “official” version. At the IN, you’ll be able to see classical plays of renown in exceptional places of Avignon such as the Palace of the Popes or the Odeon theater. To be quite honest, we’ve never set foot in it, since we’re not very fond of classical theater. Moreover, the rather stuffy and chic atmosphere that reigns there isn’t really our cup of tea. Instead, we’ll tell you about the OFF festival that suits us more. It’s a version that has developed on the sidelines of the official festival over the years and which today has a far greater scale. The shows there are much more popular, diverse and there are many more choices. No fewer than 1000 performances a day are programmed in such varied disciplines as theater, stand-up comedy, dance or even magic shows. You can check out the OFF festival program here (unfortunately they don’t have an english version but you can Google translate it) to see the full range of programs offered. Most of the shows take place in the city center, inside the battlements, but some of them will be a little further.
If you’re planning to see several shows, it may be interesting for you to order a discount card. For 16€ (18$) full rate (there are other types of rates), it’ll give you 30% discount on all the shows of the OFF festival which may not be negligible. You can easily order it here and simply go to the Village du OFF, which is located in rue Thiers. You’ll also be able to get the program in paper format which will become your Bible during the festival!
Accomodation in Avignon
To get to the Avignon Festival, you’ll need a little preparation. This time of year is the most requested period in Avignon and so prices tend to increase. To save money for your accommodation or transportation, we truly advise you to do it several months in advance … or at the very last minute! We were very surprised to find a nice accommodation in Avignon on Airbnb at 120€ (137$) a night for 4 at the very last minute. Coralie’s apartment is clean, spacious and our host was lovely. Ideally located at the rue des Infirmières, it was the perfect place to stay in order to enjoy the Avignon Festival.Seems everything is possible! You can try to find your rare gem by doing a search below::
120€ (140$)/night, for 4 people
Book your night!
Getting to the Avignon Festival
Regarding transport, if you’re coming from far away in Europe, the most practical solution is certainly the train, if you book your ticket in advance. Know that there are 2 train stations in Avignon, Avignon TGV and Avignon Centre, and that you can easily make the connection between the two in a 5-minute train trip for a little less than 2€ (2.2$). If you go there at the last minute and you come from far, taking a coach or carpooling will certainly be the most economical solutions but depending on the case, your journey can be very long or not very flexible. You can also come with your own vehicle and then you’ll have to find a suitable parking spot. We strongly advise you to start by looking at the parking de l’Oulle or the parking des Italiens which are very large and not too far from the city center, and therefore nearby most of the shows. Otherwise, the parking des Halles is located in the heart of the city but parking there for a whole day can be very expensive and there are also plenty of parking spaces all around the battlements but they are usually packed.
Finally, if you come from abroad, of course you can fly in. Avignon has a small airport that’s about fifteen kilometers from the city center that you can easily reach by taking a cab. You’ll find all the practical information in our sidebar, on the left!
Skyscanner | Find a cheap flight here
Enjoying the Avignon Festival
What’s really great during the Avignon Festival is that the street comes alive and the atmosphere is very relaxed and friendly. A simple stroll through the streets of Avignon will allow you to feel all this communicative energy and appreciate every moment. The busiest spots are Rue de la République, rue des Teinturiers, Place Pie and Place des Corps Saints, where you’ll surely enjoy free and often breathtaking street shows. Walking through the streets is also a great opportunity to meet more or less known artists with whom you can discuss their show. They’ll promote their show to you, with more or less tact and talent, but it’s always a pleasure to talk with them and sometimes, if things go well, they may offer you free seats to attend their show which is pretty cool. This can be a good opportunity to discover some very talented artists. That’s how we were lucky enough to sympathize with Dedo and Yacine, whom we are fans of, in the street, the most simple way possible. Well, to be perfectly honest, you’ll definitely end your day with dozens of flyers in your possession, sometimes in double, sometimes for shows that you don’t even want to attend but that’s all part of the charm of the Avignon Festival.
Another thing we love about the Avignon Festival is the very relaxed atmosphere that reigns there. We’re a very fond of standup comedy and it’s a great opportunity to see the lastest show of your favorite comedian for no more than 20 bucks. Generally, they come to Avignon to test and improve) theis latest show and they play in very small auditorium which creates unrivaled proximity and a complicity you definitely won’t find in a larger scene. For more complicity, and if you aren’t afraid of being the center of the artist’s digs, we totally advise you to sit at the front row. You’ll have a good chance to make eye contact with the artist or even being made fun of by them which is rather funny. If you’re a more discreet person, you can always meet the artist after the show and have a souvenir shot taken with them. They’re generally very available for their audience and easily play along, it’s a real pleasure to meet them this way. So far we’ve seen a long list of French speaking comedians and we definitely intend to expand our chart this year! And don’t worry, if you don’t understand French, you can still enjoy yourself to dance shows!
Great places to eat and have a drink in Avignon
It’s no secret that Avignon is the epicenter of many good affordable restaurants and after having lived there for a year and a half, we found some pretty nice places we must tell you about. Without any hesitation, the very best place to eat good and cheap food during the Avignon Festival is the charming little tartines bistro, Ginette & Marcel. It’s a cosy, unpretentious restaurant where you eat very well for a very affordable price. It’s simple, it’s our HQ! Ideally located on the lively Place des Corps Saints, in the shade of plane trees, it’s just the perfect spot to enjoy a drink among friends around a good bottle of wine and a delicious herbs saucisson. The tartines are just as delicious and their desserts are to die for. If you’re going there, you really need to try out their lemon pie, it’s a real treat! Other great places to eat at in Avignon are Le Barrio, located in the rue des Infirmières, and La Manutention, rue des Escaliers de Saint-Anne. The former is the perfect place to enjoy a good piece of beef in the city center and the ladder is very charming and its terrace is incredibly romantic. Check out other suggestions in our left sidebar 😋.
And after a long day walking around the streets of Avignon and laughing at shows, the best way to chill is to spend a nice evening tasting good wine in a charming place right? Then, you have to go to the Maison des Vins (Wine house), rue des Trois Faucons, to taste a selection of the best Côtes du Rhône wines. It’s where the Côtes du Rhône Festival takes place during the Avignon Festival. You’ll be able to go there every night and discover a daily selection of the nearby wines in a laid-back atmosphere. For only 10€ (11$), you’ll get a small glass of wine at the entrance and this will give you the opportunity to taste the selected wines of the day. Generally there’s also a concert and you can even snack on charcuterie and cheese to go with your wine. Little tip, go there around 7pm if you want a chance to get a seat, the place can quickly be crowded.
Ginette et Marcel |
25-27 Place des Corps Saints, 84000 Avignon
Le Barrio |
13 rue des Infirmières, 84000 Avignon
La Manutention |
4 rue des Escaliers Saint-Anne, 84000 Avignon
La Vache à Carreaux |
14 rue de la Peyrolerie, 84000 Avignon
4 place de la Principale, 84000 Avignon
Maison des vins |
6 rue des Trois Faucons, 84024 Avignon
Côtes du Rhône festival program
Cave des Pas Sages |
41 rue des Teinturiers, 84000 Avignon
Chez Marie |
4 rue Louis Pasteur, 84000 Avignon
We hope those tips will come in handy for you if you’re planning to go to the Avignon Festival. Feel free to share your very own experience with us in the comments!
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