I could tell you that Avignon is the heart of Provence – it is. I could tell you that it’s a place of history and culture – it is. But what you might not know is that Avignon is a place to savour – quite literally I mean, because this is a town that’s full of fabulous restaurants, cosy bistros, captivating cafés and brilliant bars.
Avignon’s foodie scene
When I go to a town I like to know where the locals eat and I’m sure you do too. I want to know the bars where those in the know go for an aperitif for the perfect sundowner. I’m keen to find out the places where the locals go for a snack, for lunch with friends, dinner with a loved one. And as I am a sharing person, I like to tell you about them too.
So here are my top tips on the best places to eat and drink in Avignon, that you may not find otherwise. And click here for my top ten restaurant recommendations in Avignon
Restaurants the locals love in Avignon
Most people make a beeline for the Place de l’Horloge, I did too and absolutely loved it. After all this lovely square with its plane trees and terraces just before you reach the Palais des Papes is truly divine
However, it can get busy in the square and if you crave somewhere a little bit less touristy then go where the locals go. If you’re happy to walk until you find something that takes your fancy then you’ll love all the little streets and side roads in Avignon and you’ll discover loads and loads of gorgeous places to stop and enjoy a bite to eat or something to sip, such as rue du Lima (above). Or how about Restauant La Violette which is located in an 18th century mansion house which has a fabulous art collection you can view. In the summer months, you can sit in the courtyard under a century old plane tree and enjoy a meal or cocktail at this sumptuous contemporary art museum. And don’t miss the tea room at the Musée du Petit Palais, the tranquil gardens of the 15th century mansion house now museum make for a unique setting to enjoy a refreshing cup of tea.
Rue des Teinturiers Avignon
It’s one of the prettiest streets in the old city. The name means road of the dyers; they used the water from the little stream that originates at the fabulous Fontaine-du-Vaucluse not far away and runs down one side of the road for dying textiles in the middle ages. There’s still a few mill wheels and some gorgeous old buildings lining the cobble stone road and the plane trees offer shade and somewhere to hang fairy lights. This place is great for both lunch and dinner as there are numerous bars, cafés and restaurants lining the street, with terraces galore. The trickling stream gives you a feeling of coolness on a hot day and the vintage street is oh so pretty.
Place des Corps-Saints Avignon
This shady square is encircled by restaurants, bars and bistros and most tourists are completely unaware of its existence. Table and chairs spill out onto the pavement and it has an air of countryside in the heart of the city. It’s English translation is the Square of the Holy Bodies and you’ll find a church there but it’s the restaurants that are the attraction. On summer nights when the lights are glowing, candles flicker, and when laughter fills the air, this is without a doubt one of the finest places to be with friends or with a plate of delicious food and a glass of rosé, the favourite tipple of the south.
Ice Ice Baby
When the sun is hot and you want to cool down – an ice cream is what you need! For the best ice creams in town, according to Sylvie Joly who works at the tourist office close by, the locals swear by La Princière in Place des Corps-Saints (above). They do fabulous flavours and old school sorbets – totally yum!
Pick up a map and gets loads of info from the tourist office in Avignon: www.avignon-tourisme.com; www.provenceguide.com