Posted Date: March 24, 2021
The medieval city of Avignon is located in Provence, France. Visitors flock here during the summer months for the popular theater festival and to get a taste of the charm of Southern France.
Avignon’s ideal central location makes it convenient to access many other villages and sites within 1 – 2 hours by train or car. If you are looking for the best location to settle in for the week and explore the South of France, then Avignon is the place.
In this guide, I am sharing the best day trips from Avignon. This includes kayaking, exploring small Provencal villages, visiting the world famous lavender fields, and wandering around bigger cities nearby.
Day Trips from Avignon
Pont Du Gard
Distance from Avignon by car: ~ 30 minutes
The Pont Du Gard is a Roman aqueduct that was constructed in the 1st century AD. It was built to supply water to the nearby city of Nîmes from Uzès. Originally 50km long, this aqueduct stands at 50 meters tall and is one of the most well-preserved aqueducts in all of Europe.
Today, you can visit the aqueduct and admire the incredible craftsmanship of the people who built it almost 2,000 years ago.
The Pond Du Gard is open all year round to visitors. You will arrive at the visitor’s center to get your tickets, and it’s just a quick walk down to the aqueduct from there.
Once you arrive at the aqueduct, you can hike up the hill and get a better vantage point or head down to the Gardon river for a swim or picnic under the bridge.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can rent a kayak in a nearby town and boat down the river to the Pont Du Gard. You can find more information about boat rentals and tours here.
Tickets for the Pont Du Gard are available online or upon arrival.
Ticket prices: €9.50 for adults (+€6 if you want a guided tour of the aqueduct)
Distance from Avignon by car: ~ 40 minutes
Uzès is one of the most beautiful towns in the South of France. With its stone facades and cobblestone streets, it’s like stepping into a fairytale.
Uzès is only a 20-minute drive from the Pont Du Gard, so I would recommend combining your day trip to Uzès with the Roman aqueduct.
The Uzès market is a quintessential Southern France market and is a must-see if you can plan your visit on a Wednesday or Saturday. The market is located in the Place-aux-Herbes and has a variety of vendors selling everything from fresh produce to local linens.
Wednesday’s market (8am-12pm) has mainly food vendors and Saturday’s market (8am-1pm) has more of a variety of vendors.
Plan on spending the rest of your time exploring the quaint streets or pay a visit to Castle of Uzès to climb the towers for spectacular views over the city.
Distance from Avignon by car: ~45 minutes
Distance from Avignon by train: ~17-25 minutes
From ancient Roman ruins to the places that inspired many of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings, Arles is the perfect place to spend the day getting lost in art and history.
Arles became an important Roman colony in the 1st century BC. During this time, many Roman structures were built and 6 of them are still standing today, including the Roman amphitheater. All of these monuments are within walking distance around Arles.
To visit these monuments, you can either get a ticket at each site or you can buy a discount pass. The discount pass is only worth it if you plan to at least visit 4 of the monuments. You can buy these passes at the tourist office in Arles when you arrive or you can book tickets online in advance. I would recommend buying the Pass Liberté for your day trip.
Arles is also known as being the home to Vincent Van Gogh for 14 months. He painted over 300 works of art during his time in Arles, including the famous paintings “Le Cafe La Nuit” and “Starry Night Over the Rhone.”
I would recommend the self-guided Van Gogh walking tour. You can download the walking tour guide here.
Feel free to check out our article How To Spend One Day in Arles for more information about your day trip to Arles.
Distance from Avignon by car: ~47 minutes
Distance from Avignon by train: ~25 minutes
Nîmes is known as the “Rome of France” for its incredible history and Roman ruins.
On your day trip from Avignon, start your day off at the Roman amphitheater, which was built in the 2nd century AD. It was one of the largest arenas built during the Roman empire.
Next, make your way to the Maison Carrée to learn about one of the most well-preserved Roman temples.
A few other notable sites to visit include the Temple of Diane, the Jardins des Fontanes, the Carrée d’Art (contemporary art museum), and the Tour Magne for some excellent views of Nîmes.
You can buy a combined discount ticket for the amphitheater, Maison Carrée, and Tour Magne from this website for €13.
Distance from Avignon by car: ~ 1 hour 13 minutes
Distance from Avignon by train: ~35 minutes – 1 hour 20 minutes
Sitting on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Marseille is the second most populated city in France. With a history dating back to 600 BC when the Greeks first landed here, today Marseille is a culturally vibrant city with many incredible sites to see.
Just a quick train ride from Avignon, Marseille is the perfect day trip to escape the countryside and enjoy a day of sun and sea.
There is so much to see in Marseille that you will need to pick and choose what you want to see. Here are a few of my recommendations.
Start your day off by making your way from the Vieux Port (Old Port) to Notre Dame de la Garde. This basilica sits atop a hill with panoramic views of Marseille and the Mediterranean Sea. It’s about a 40-minute walk from the Old Port, so I would suggest taking the tourist train or Bus 60 to save time.
Head back to the Old Port and wander around until eventually making your way to Le Panier (Old Town). While in Le Panier, you can visit the Cathedrale de la Major and MuCEUM – an excellent museum focusing on the history of Mediterranean civilizations. Plus it has a great view of the sea from the top of the building.
For those of you who want to enjoy the Mediterranean sea, I recommend either visiting the Chateau d’If or taking a boat tour to the Calanques.
The Chateau d’If is a fortress and former prison on an island just off of the coast. To get there, you can take a ferry from the Old Port.
The Calanques are beautiful bays along the white-cliffed coast. You can take a boat tour of the Calanques – these tours range from private tours, kayaking tours, and ferries.
La Roque-Sur-Cèze + Cascades du Sautadet
Distance from Avignon by car: ~ 1 hour
La Roque-Sur-Cèze is located in the Gard region and has been listed as one of “the most beautiful villages in France.” This small village is perched on a hill surrounded by vineyards and can be explored in less than an hour.
After exploring the La Roque-Sur-Cèze, walk 15-minutes along a path to the Cascades du Sautadet. These cascades have pushed their way through the rock to create a small gorge.
You can swim in the lower part of the cascades, otherwise swimming is prohibited in the more dangerous areas. Although you will still find plenty of people jumping off rocks in these areas anyways.
Once you are done visiting the cascades, I would recommend driving 12-minutes to Goudargues. Another small town with a lovely canal running through the center.
After Goudargues, make your way to Montclus – one of my favorite towns in the region. There aren’t any shops here, but it’s a quiet and peaceful spot to enjoy the afternoon. I like to go here to swim in the Cèze river and read a book.
When I think of Provence, I think of the villages in the Luberon. This region is famous for its charming hilltop villages, vineyards, and provencal cuisine. It is an essential day trip from Avignon.
My favorite way to visit the region is to rent a car, take it slow, and spend the day hopping around to a few of the villages. Keep in mind, there are a lot of villages, so I would recommend choosing 3-4 to spend your day wandering aorund.
A few of the famous villages are Gordes, Roussillon, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, and Bonnieux. I would highly recommend Gordes for the views and food and L’Isle-sur-la-sorgue if you like antique shopping.
I would suggest including one of the less-touristy villages to your itinerary like Apt, Ménerbes, or Lourmarin.
Lavender Fields – Valensole + Abbaye de Sénanque
Distance from Avignon -> Valensole by car: ~1 hour 30 minutes
Distance from Avignon -> Abbaye de Senanque by car: 50 minutes
If you are visiting Southern France between late June to the beginning of July, then make sure to take a day trip to the world famous lavender fields.
The Valensole region is known for lavender fields that turn the countryside a vibrant purple during the summer. Tourists flock from around the world to see this magnificent site. There are many different fields to visit and this blog post provides a map of the best to see.
If you don’t want to drive as far to see the Valensole lavender fields, then you can go to the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque. I’m sure you have seen a photo of it before – the lavender fields in front of the old stone church.
Either way, the lavender fields are a true wonder to see.
Distance from Avignon to the Pont d’Arc: ~ 1 hour 22 minutes
The Ardèche region of France is filled with many natural gems. From caves to the gorges of the Ardèche river, there is so much to love about this region.
There are two ways that you could spend your day in this region: either kayaking down the Ardèche river or visiting a few of the sites.
The kayaking tours take start near the Pont d’Arc and end in Sauze. The tour takes around 5 hours since you cover a total of 24 km. On the tour, plan to spend the day kayaking through the gorge, picnicking on a sandbar, and enjoying the Southern France sunshine.
You will need to get up early for the tour, but it is worth it! Here is another tour company you can look into as well.
If you don’t want to kayak, then I recommend renting a car and driving to a few different sites in the area. Start at the Pont d’Arc – a natural bridge over the Ardèche river. Then make your way to see one or two of the caves in the area – the Grotte Saint Marcel and Grotte Chauvet.
After the caves, I would recommend stopping in Aiguèze for an aperitif and spectacular views overlooking the Ardèche River.
Distance from Avignon by car: ~ 1 hour
Distance from Avignon by train: ~ 2 hours
Aix-En-Provence is a charming provencal city located between Marseille and the Luberon region. It is considered the “gateway to Provence” for its nearby access to many of Provence’s villages.
Aix is also known for its grand markets with several markets each week. You will find the main market filled with food vendors, clothes, French baskets and more on the Cours Mirabeau every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Don’t worry, if you aren’t there on one of the main market days, you can find the daily food market (pictured above) in Place Richelme or the daily flower market at Place de l’Hôtel de Ville.
Getting There from Avignon
If you plan to travel by train for your day trip from Avignon, use the SNCF site to book your tickets online. You can either save the mobile ticket on your phone and use that as your ticket or print it out. You can also get tickets from one of the kiosks at the Avignon train station. For a more user-friendly experience, I suggest downloading the OUI SNCF app.
I recommend buying tickets at least the night before your trip to ensure there are tickets available.
Important: There are two train stations in Avignon – one in the center and one outside of the center called the Avignon TGV station. Tickets are usually cheaper and rides are usually quicker from the TGV station. Search for tickets from both the central station and TGV station just in case.
To get to the TGV station, take the 5-minute train ride from Avignon Centre to Avignon TGV. It costs around €1.60 for the ride and the train runs every 30 minutes.
Renting a car is easy and affordable in Avignon. We rented a car from the Avignon TGV station for our trip around Southern France.
There are two places where you can rent a car in Avignon: the TGV train station or Avignon downtown. There are usually more options at the TGV train station. We booked our car here.
Let us know if you have any questions about day trips from Avignon in the comments section below!