As you can get to Avignon easily by train from Paris, Lyon or Marseille, we have a little adventure for you to go on using the train, bus and bike instead of a car!
Day 1: AVIGNON – CARPENTRAS
When you get to Avignon TGV train station, you just change platform to quickly hop on the TER 9 bis that takes you to Carpentras, at the foot of the Ventoux.
Those who choose the 2-wheeled option will stop after 5 min at Avignon-centre station to hire a bike from Provence Bike or South Spirit Bike. The next train will take them – and their bike – to Carpentras.
Take advantage of staying in Carpentras to visit the old capital of the Comtat Venaissin: its Jewish heritage, with the oldest synagogue still being used in France, which bears witness to the history of the Pope’s Jews, the lovely townhouses, the Inguimbertine, the only library-museum in France, Saint Siffrein cathedral and the Passage Boyer. Spend the night in Carpentras (Hôtel Best Western le Comtadin).
Setting out from Carpentras, take the Via Venaissia to set out to explore the Dentelles de Montmirail (Beaumes-de-Venise, Lafare, Suzette, Le Barroux… www.provence-a-velo.com ).
Night in Carpentras or Beaumes-de-Venise, at the winemakers, at Mas l’Evajade.
Things to see in Carpentras
Day 2: CARPENTRAS – ORANGE
Carpentras-Orange by the no. 10 Zou coach line or the Via Venaissia, the walking and cycling path that also connects the two cities long the old train track.
In Orange, make sure to visit its Roman Theatre, to see its incredibly well-preserved stage wall, the museum facing it, where you find a Roman land register and other remnants of the long Orange history, and the Triumphal Arch.
Day 3: ORANGE – CHATEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE – AVIGNON
New in Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Be sure to visit the brand new Vinothèque (Fr) in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
The best thing here is to bike through the famous vineyards to visit the estate you’d like to see. Grenache is king here, even if up to 18 grape varieties are authorised in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC. Don’t miss out on tasting the designation’s white wines as well, which are more difficult to find when you leave the region. You can enjoy the superb view of the Rhone valley from the old castle in the village, which was a former summer residence for the Avignon Popes. www.chateauneuf-du-pape-tourisme.fr
Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Avignon, by the same no. 23 Zou line or by bike along the Via Rhôna to Sorgues train station, then the Sorgues-Avignon TER on line 9bis (including with your bike, entering Avignon being possible along the signposted Via Rhôna, but it is not very interesting or enjoyable in certain places).
Day 4 – AVIGNON
Before leaving, choose to explore the city of the Popes on foot, or cross the Rhone by bike to discover Villeneuve-les-Avignon, which has a history and monuments that are almost as rich as Avignon.
What to see in Avignon and Villeneuve-lez-Avignon
Pictures© Alain Hocquel, Guénhaël Kessler, Joya Rose, Teddy Verneuil, Lezbroz