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{{For|the regional county municipality in Quebec|Avignon Regional County Municipality}}{{short description|Prefecture and commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France}}{{Use dmy dates|date=July 2017}}

Prefectures of France>Prefecture and communeposition=center| photo1a = Vue aérienne 2 JP Campomar.jpg| photo2a = Park beim Papstpalast in Avignon01 (cropped).jpg| photo2b = Avignon, Palais des Papes depuis Tour Philippe le Bel by JM Rosier (cropped).jpg| photo3a = Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Doms d'Avignon sous l'orage.jpg| photo3b = Avignon festival 2006 asobu popes palace.jpg| photo4a = Le Pont d'Avignon (cropped).jpg
| size = 280
| spacing = 2
| color =
| border = 0
| foot_montage = {{nobreak|From top: Skyline,}}(:fr:Rocher des Doms|Rocher des Doms), Palais des Papes,Avignon Cathedral, Festival d'Avignon,Pont Saint-Bénézet
}}|image coat of arms = Blason ville fr Avignon (Vaucluse).svg43.95format=dms|display=inline,title}}|time zone = CET (GMT +1)|region = Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur|department = Vaucluse|arrondissement = AvignonCanton of Avignon-1>Avignon-1, Canton of Avignon-2, Canton of Avignon-3>Avignon-3|INSEE = 84007|postal code = 84000Socialist Party (France)>PS)|term = 2014–2020Communauté d'agglomération du Grand Avignon>CA Grand Avignon|elevation m = 23|elevation min m = 10|elevation max m = 122|area km2 = 64.78population_total}}population_as_of}}population_footnotes}}| footnotes =

}}Avignon ({{IPAc-en|UK|ˈ|æ|v|ɪ|n|j|ɒ̃}}, {{IPAc-en|US|ˌ|æ|v|ɪ|n|ˈ|j|oʊ|n}},LPD, 3, EPD, 18, "Avignon" (US) and OXFORD DICTIONARIES, Avignon, 16 May 2019, {{IPA-fr|aviɲɔ̃|lang|fr-Avignon.ogg}}; {{small|(Classical norm)}} or {{small|(Mistralian norm)}} {{IPA-oc|aviˈɲun|}}; ) is a commune in south-eastern France in the department of Vaucluse on the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 90,194 inhabitants of the city ({{As of|2011|lc=y}}), about 12,000 live in the ancient town centre enclosed by its medieval ramparts.Between 1309 and 1377, during the Avignon Papacy, seven successive popes resided in Avignon and in 1348 Pope Clement VI bought the town from Joanna I of Naples. Papal control persisted until 1791 when, during the French Revolution, it became part of France. The town is now the capital of the Vaucluse department and one of the few French cities to have preserved its ramparts.The historic centre, which includes the Palais des Papes, the cathedral, and the Pont d'Avignon, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The medieval monuments and the annual Festival d'Avignon have helped to make the town a major centre for tourism.


The earliest forms of the name were reported by the Greeks:{{sfn|Rostaing|1994|p=30}} Aueniṑn (Stephen of Byzantium, Strabo, IV, 1, 11) and Aouenníōn (Ptolemy II, x).The Roman name Avennĭo Cavărum (Mela, II, 575, Pliny III, 36), i.e. "Avignon of Cavares" accurately shows that Avignon was one of the three cities of the Celtic-Ligurian tribe of Cavares, along with Cavaillon and Orange.The current name dates to a pre-Indo-European{{sfn|Rostaing|1994|p=30}} or pre-Latin{{sfn|Dauzat|Rostaing|1963|p=1689}} theme ab-ên with the suffix -i-ōn(e).{{sfn|Rostaing|1994|p=30}}{{sfn|Dauzat|Rostaing|1963|p=1689}} This theme would be a hydronym – i.e. a name linked to the river (Rhône), but perhaps also an oronym of terrain (the Rocher des Doms).The Auenion of the 1st century BC was Latinized to Avennĭo (or Avēnĭo), -ōnis in the 1st century and is written Avinhon in classic Occitan spellingBOOK, Robert Bourret, French-Occitan Dictionary, Éd. Lacour, Nîmes, 1999, 59, fr,oc, or Avignoun in Mistralian spelling.{{sfn|Xavier de Fourvière|Rupert|1902|p=62}} The inhabitants of the commune are called avinhonencs or avignounen in both standard Occitan and Provençal dialect.



Avignon is on the left bank of the Rhône river, a few kilometres above its confluence with the Durance, about {{convert|580|km|mi|0|abbr=on}} south-east of Paris, {{convert|229|km|mi|0|abbr=on}} south of Lyon and {{convert|85|km|mi|0|abbr=on}} north-north-west of Marseille. On the west it shares a border with the department of Gard and the communes of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon and Les Angles and to the south it borders the department of Bouches-du-Rhône and the communes of Barbentane, Rognonas, Châteaurenard, and Noves.The city is in the vicinity of Orange (north), Nîmes, Montpellier (south-west), Arles (to the south), Salon-de-Provence, and Marseille (south-east). Directly contiguous to the east and north are the communes of Caumont-sur-Durance, Morières-lès-Avignon, Le Pontet, and Sorgues.

Geology and terrain

(File:P1280052 - Avignon.JPG|thumb|Aerial view of Avignon)The region around Avignon is very rich in limestone which is used for building material. For example, the current ramparts, measuring 4,330 metres long, were built with the soft limestone abundant in the region called mollasse burdigalienne.weblink" title="">Relief and Geology of the Avignon sector, Agence Rosier website (archived) {{Fr icon}}Enclosed by the ramparts, the Rocher des Doms is a limestone elevation of urgonian type, 35 metres highAvignon Encyclopedia Universalis website {{Fr icon}} (and therefore safe from flooding of the Rhone which it overlooks) and is the original core of the city. Several limestone massifs are present around the commune (the Massif des Angles, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, Alpilles...) and they are partly the result of the oceanisation of the Ligurian-Provençal basin following the migration of the Sardo-Corsican block.The other significant elevation in the commune is the Montfavet Hill – a wooded hill in the east of the commune.The Rhone Valley is an old alluvial zone: loose deposits cover much of the ground. It consists of sandy alluvium more or less coloured with pebbles consisting mainly of siliceous rocks. The islands in the Rhone, such as the Île de la Barthelasse, were created by the accumulation of alluvial deposits and also by the work of man. The relief is quite low despite the creation of mounds allowing local protection from flooding.In the land around the city there are clay, silt, sand, and limestone present.


File:Vue des ponts d'Avignon par JM Rosier.JPG|thumb|Bridges on the Grand RhôneRhôneFile:Pont d'Avignon.jpg|thumb|The Pont d'Avignon on the Petit Rhône. In the background is Mont VentouxMont VentouxThe Rhone passes the western edge of the city but is divided into two branches: the Petit Rhône, or "dead arm", for the part that passes next to Avignon and the Grand Rhône, or "live arm", for the western channel which passes Villeneuve-lès-Avignon in the Gard department. The two branches are separated by an island, the Île de la Barthelasse. The southernmost tip of the Île de la Barthelasse once formed of a separated island, the L'Île de Piot.The banks of the Rhone and the Île de la Barthelasse are often subject to flooding during autumn and March. The publication Floods in France since the 6th century until today – research and documentation{{sfn|Champion|1862}} by Maurice Champion tells about a number of them (until 1862, the flood of 1856 was one of the largest, which destroyed part of the walls). They have never really stopped as shown by the floods in 1943–1944Floods in Avignon, Institut national de l'audiovisuel video document, consulted on 19 July 2014 {{Fr icon}} and again on 23 January 1955Floods in Paris and Avignon, 23 January 1955, Institut national de l'audiovisuel video document JT 20h, ORTF, consulted on 19 July 2014 {{Fr icon}} and remain important today – such as the floods of 2 December 2003.Floods on 2 December 2003, Institut national de l'audiovisuel video document {{Fr icon}} As a result, a new risk mapping has been developed.The Durance flows along the southern boundary of the commune into the Rhone and marks the departmental boundary with Bouches-du-Rhône.Watercourses: The Èze River (X31-0400), Sandre database {{Fr icon}} It is a river that is considered "capricious" and once feared for its floods (it was once called the "3rd scourge of Provence"{{efn|Provençal tradition says that the first two were the mistral and the Parliament of Aix}} as well as for its low water: the Durance has both Alpine and Mediterranean morphology which is unusual.There are many natural and artificial water lakes in the commune such as the Lake of Saint-Chamand east of the city.

Artificial diversions

(File:Moulin Parc chico mendes 6.jpg|thumb|A mill on the Vaucluse Canal in the Pont des 2 eaux district)There have been many diversionsThe Street of Dyers – Avignon, website, consulted on 19 July 2014 throughout the course of history, such as feeding the moat surrounding Avignon or irrigating crops.In the 10th century part of the waters from the Sorgue d'Entraigues were diverted and today pass under the ramparts to enter the city. (See Sorgue). This watercourse is called the Vaucluse Canal but Avignon people still call it the Sorgue or Sorguette. It is visible in the city in the famous Rue des teinturiers (street of dyers). It fed the moat around the first ramparts then fed the moat on the newer eastern city walls (14th century). {{Citation needed|date=July 2017}} In the 13th century (under an Act signed in 1229) part of the waters of the Durance were diverted to increase the water available for the moats starting from Bonpas. This river was later called the Durançole. {{Citation needed|date=July 2017}} The Durançole fed the western moats of the city and was also used to irrigate crops at Montfavet. In the city these streams are often hidden beneath the streets and houses and are currently used to collect sewerage. {{Citation needed|date=July 2017}}The Hospital Canal (joining the Durançole) and the Crillon Canal (1775) were dug to irrigate the territories of Montfavet, Pontet, and Vedène. {{citation needed|date=October 2017}} They were divided into numerous "fioles" or "filioles" (in Provençal filhòlas or fiolo). Similarly, to irrigate the gardens of the wealthy south of Avignon, the Puy Canal was dug (1808). All of these canals took their water from the Durance. These canals were initially used to flood the land, which was very stony, to fertilize them by deposition of silt. {{Citation needed|date=July 2017}}All of these canals have been used to operate many mills.


File:Clocher de l'église des Augustins (Place des Carmes) Avignon, by JM Rosier.JPG|thumb|The leaning bell tower of the Church of the AugustiniansAugustiniansUnder the new seismic zoning of France defined in Decree No. 2010-1255 of 22 October 2010 concerning the delimitation of the seismicity of the French territory and which entered into force on 1 May 2011, Avignon is located in an area of moderate seismicity. The previous zoning is shown below for reference."The cantons of Bonnieux, Apt, Cadenet, Cavaillon, and Pertuis are classified in zone Ib (low risk). All other cantons the Vaucluse department, including Avignon, are classified Ia (very low risk). This zoning is for exceptional seismicity resulting in the destruction of buildings.".Regulatory Seismic Zoning of France, classed by cantons (as at the end of 1989) in the PACA rehion, p. 48. {{Fr icon}}The presence of faults in the limestone substrate shows that significant tectonic shift has caused earthquakes in different geological ages. The last major earthquake of significant magnitude was on 11 June 1909.{{efn|The épicentre was at Lambesc – a village in Bouches-du-Rhône.}} It left a visible trace in the centre of the city since the bell tower of the Augustinians, which is surmounted by an ancient campanile of wrought iron, located in Rue Carreterie, remained slightly leaning as a result of this earthquake.


Avignon has a hot-summer mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa), though the dry-summer effect is not as strong as coastal locations like Marseille due to its more sheltered inland location. With mild-cool winters and hot summers, with moderate rainfall year-round. July and August are the hottest months with average daily maximum temperatures of around 28 Â°C, and January and February the coldest with average daily maximum temperatures of around 9 Â°C. The wettest month is September, with a rain average of 102 millimetres, and the driest month is July, when the monthly average rainfall is 37 millimetres. The city is often subject to windy weather; the strongest wind is the mistral. A medieval Latin proverb said of the city: Avenie ventosa, sine vento venenosa, cum vento fastidiosa (Windy Avignon, pest-ridden when there is no wind, wind-pestered when there is).{{sfn|Mistral|1979|p=196}}{{Weather box|location = Avignon (1981–2010 averages, extremes 1958–present)|metric first = yes|single line = yes|Jan record high C = 20.9|Feb record high C = 22.3|Mar record high C = 26.5|Apr record high C = 31.1|May record high C = 34.1|Jun record high C = 42.8|Jul record high C = 39.7|Aug record high C = 40.5|Sep record high C = 35.3|Oct record high C = 30.8|Nov record high C = 24.3|Dec record high C = 21.0|year record high C = 42.8|Jan high C = 10.2|Feb high C = 11.8|Mar high C = 15.6|Apr high C = 18.6|May high C = 23.1|Jun high C = 27.3|Jul high C = 30.7|Aug high C = 30.0|Sep high C = 25.3|Oct high C = 20.2|Nov high C = 14.0|Dec high C = 10.5|year high C = 19.8|Jan mean C = 5.9|Feb mean C = 7.1|Mar mean C = 10.3|Apr mean C = 13.1|May mean C = 17.3|Jun mean C = 21.2|Jul mean C = 24.2|Aug mean C = 23.7|Sep mean C = 19.6|Oct mean C = 15.4|Nov mean C = 9.9|Dec mean C = 6.6|year mean C = 14.6|Jan low C = 1.6|Feb low C = 2.3|Mar low C = 5.1|Apr low C = 7.5|May low C = 11.4|Jun low C = 15.2|Jul low C = 17.8|Aug low C = 17.3|Sep low C = 14.0|Oct low C = 10.5|Nov low C = 5.8|Dec low C = 2.7|year low C = 9.3|Jan record low C = −13.0|Feb record low C = −14.0|Mar record low C = −9.5|Apr record low C = −2.2|May record low C = 1.3|Jun record low C = 4.4|Jul record low C = 8.6|Aug record low C = 8.0|Sep record low C = 3.9|Oct record low C = −2.2|Nov record low C = −7.4|Dec record low C = −14.0|year record low C = −14.0|precipitation colour = green|Jan precipitation mm = 48.7|Feb precipitation mm = 37.6|Mar precipitation mm = 38.6|Apr precipitation mm = 66.1|May precipitation mm = 62.5|Jun precipitation mm = 41.0|Jul precipitation mm = 26.6|Aug precipitation mm = 45.8|Sep precipitation mm = 97.6|Oct precipitation mm = 91.4|Nov precipitation mm = 71.1|Dec precipitation mm = 49.0|year precipitation mm = 676.0|unit precipitation days = 1.0 mm|Jan precipitation days = 5.4|Feb precipitation days = 4.8|Mar precipitation days = 4.4|Apr precipitation days = 7.1|May precipitation days = 6.5|Jun precipitation days = 4.3|Jul precipitation days = 2.4|Aug precipitation days = 3.3|Sep precipitation days = 5.3|Oct precipitation days = 7.2|Nov precipitation days = 6.7|Dec precipitation days = 5.6|year precipitation days = 62.9|source 1 = Météo FranceWEB,weblink 30 March 2018,weblink Avignon–INRA (84), Fiche Climatologique: Statistiques 1981–2010 et records, Meteo France, French, 29 March 2018, }}According to Météo-France the number of days per year with rain above 2.5 litres per square metre is 45 and the amount of water, rain and snow combined is 660 litres per square metre. Average temperatures vary between 0 and 30 Â°C depending on the season. The record temperature record since the existence of the weather station at Orange is 40.7 Â°C on 26 July 1983 and the record lowest was −14.5 Â°C on 2 February 1956.Infoclimat weather station at Orange {{Fr icon}}

The mistral

The prevailing wind is the mistral for which the windspeed can be beyond 110 km/h. It blows between 120 and 160 days per year with an average speed of 90 km/h in gusts.Jean Vialar, Regional and local winds, 1948; reprinted by Météo-France in 2003. {{Fr icon}} The following table shows the different speeds of the mistral recorded by Orange and Carpentras Serres stations in the southern Rhone valley and its frequency in 2006. Normal corresponds to the average of the last 53 years from Orange weather reports and that of the last 42 at Carpentras.Source: Inter Rhône technical services at Avignon Metereological data from 2006 {{webarchive |url= |date=13 November 2008 }} {{Fr icon}}Legend: "=" same as normal; "+" Higher than normal; "-" Lower than normal.{| class="wikitable" width="100%" style="text-align:center;"|+ Speed of Mistral winds| ! scope="col" | Jan.! scope="col" | Feb.! scope="col" | Mar.! scope="col" | Apr.! scope="col" | May.! scope="col" | Jun.! scope="col" | Jul.! scope="col" | Aug.! scope="col" | Sep.! scope="col" | Oct.! scope="col" | Nov.! scope="col" | Dec.! abbr="Max. Speed" scope="col" | Maximum recorded speed by month|106 km/h|127 km/h|119 km/h|97 km/h|94 km/h|144 km/h|90 km/h|90 km/h|90 km/h|87 km/h|91 km/h|118 km/h! abbr="Tendency" scope="col" | Tendency: Days with speed > 16 m/s (58 km/h)-|+++--|++++|++++|=|=|++++|+--|=|++


In 2010, the commune had 89,683 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger communes that have a sample survey every year.{{Table Population Town}}


Avignon is the prefecture (capital) of Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region. It forms the core of the Grand Avignon metropolitan area (communauté d'agglomération), which comprises 15 communes on both sides of the river:WEB, Les communes,weblink Communauté d'Agglomération du Grand Avignon, 25 March 2014,

List of Mayors

List of Successive MayorsList of Mayors of France {{Fr icon}}{{Hidden beginMayor (France)>Mayors from the French Revolution to 1940|titlestyle = background:palegreen;}}{| class="wikitable"! From !! To !! Name| Jean-Baptiste d'Armand| Antoine Agricol Richard | Levieux-Laverne | Jean-Ettienne Duprat | Jean-André Cartoux| Jean-François ROCHETIN | Guillaume François Ignace Puy | Alexis Bruny | Père Minvielle | Faulcon | Père Minvielle| Cadet Garrigan | Père Niel| Guillaume François Ignace PUY| Agricol Joseph Xavier Bertrand | Guillaume François Ignace Puy| Hippolyte Roque de Saint-Pregnan| Charles de Camis-Lezan | Louis Duplessis de Pouzilhac| Charles Soullier | Louis Pertuis de Montfaucon| François Jillian | Balthazar Delorme | Hippolyte Roque de Saint-Pregnan | Dominique Geoffroy | Albert d'Olivier de Pezet| Eugène Poncet| Hyacinthe Chauffard| Alphonse Gent | Frédéric Granier | Gabriel Vinay| Martial BOSSE | Eugène Poncet | Paul Pamard | Paul Poncet | Paul Bourges | Paul Poncet| Roger du Demaine | Paul Poncet | Eugène Millo| Charles Deville| Paul Poncet | Gaston Pourquery de Boisserin| Alexandre Dibon | Henri Guigou | Louis Valayer | Ferdinand Bec| Louis Gros | Louis Nouveau {{Hidden end}}
Mayors from 1940
{| class="wikitable"! From !! To !! Name !! Party !! Position| | | | | | | Edouard Daladier >| Socialist Party (France)>PS Rally for the Republic>RPR Guy Ravier >Socialist Party (France)>PS Union for a Popular Movement>UMP Socialist Party (France)>PS (Not all data is known)


{{See also|List of twin towns and sister cities in France}}Avignon has twinning associations with:National Commission for Decentralised cooperation {{Fr icon}}
  • {{flagicon|UK}} Colchester (United Kingdom) since 1972.WEB,weblink Twin Town News – Colchester, Avignon, Imola and Wetzlar, 22 July 2013, Francis, Valerie, The Colchester Twinning Society,
  • {{flagicon|MEX}} Guanajuato (Mexico) since 1990.
  • {{flagicon|GRE}} Ioanina (Greece) since 1984.
  • {{flagicon|USA}} New Haven (Connecticut, USA) since 1993.
  • {{flagicon|ITA}} Siena (Italy) since 1981.
  • {{flagicon|ESP}} Tarragona (Spain) since 1968.
  • {{flagicon|GER}} Wetzlar (Germany) since 1960.

Evolution of the borders of the commune

Avignon absorbed Montfavet between 1790 and 1794 then ceded Morières-lès-Avignon in 1870 and Le Pontet in 1925.WEB, Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Avignon, École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS),weblink 26 July 2014, . On 16 May 2007 the commune of Les Angles in Gard ceded 13 hectares to Avignon.Avignon, Town Hall Annual, consulted on 10 September 2010 {{Fr icon}}

Area and population

The city of Avignon has an area of 64.78 km2 and a population of 92,078 inhabitants in 2010 and is ranked as follows:{| class="wikitable centre" style="text-align:center;"! scope="col" | Rank! scope="col" | Land Area! scope="col" | Population! scope="col" | Density! scope="row" | France| 524th| 46th| 632nd! scope="row" | Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur| 105th| 5th| 23rd! scope="row" | Vaucluse| 6th| 1st| 2nd


Avignon is the seat of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vaucluse which manages the Avignon – Caumont Airport and the Avignon-Le Pontet Docks.Avignon has 7,000 businesses, 1,550 associations, 1,764 shops, and 1,305 service providers. The urban area has one of the largest catchment areas in Europe with more than 300,000 square metres of retail space and 469 m2 per thousand population against 270 on average in France.A wall of commercial areas, journal le Ravi, November 2008 {{Fr icon}} The commercial area of Avignon Nord is one of the largest in Europe.It is the zone, article in the Provençal magazine le Ravi, September 2011The tertiary sector is the most dynamic in the department by far on the basis of the significant production of early fruit and vegetables in Vaucluse, The MIN (Market of National Importance) has become the pivotal hub of commercial activity in the department, taking precedence over other local markets (including that of Carpentras).A Sensitive urban zone was created for companies wanting to relocate with exemptions from tax and social issues.The exemptions in the Sensitive urban zone of Avignon {{Fr icon}} It is located south of Avignon between the city walls and the Durance located in the districts of Croix Rouge, Monclar, Saint-Chamand, and La Rocade.Maps and plans of the Sensitive urban zone of Avignon, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vaucluse, consulted on 19 October 2011 {{Fr icon}}

Areas of economic activity

There are nine main areas of economic activity in Avignon.Principal areas of activity in the department, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vaucluse, consulted on 19 October 2011 {{Fr icon}}The Courtine area is the largest with nearly 300 businesses (of which roughly half are service establishments, one third are shops, and the rest related to industry) and more than 3,600 jobs. The site covers an area of 300 hectares and is located south-west of the city at the TGV railway station.Then comes the Fontcouverte area with a hundred establishments representing a thousand jobs. It is, however, more oriented towards shops than the Courtine area.The MIN area of Avignon is the Agroparc area{{efn|This area has had the INRA Centre which carries out scientific research in engineering environmental management for cultivated land and forests since 1953.}} (or "Technopole Agroparc"). The Cristole area is contiguous and both have a little less than a hundred establishments.Finally, the areas of Castelette, Croix de Noves, Realpanier, and the airport each have fewer than 25 establishments spread between service activities and shops. The area of the Castelette alone represents more than 600 jobs – i.e. 100 more than Cristole.


Four million visitors come annually to visit the city and the region and also for its festival. In 2011 the most popular tourist attraction was the Palais des Papes with 572,972 paying visitors. The annual Festival d'Avignon is the most important cultural event in the city. The official festival attracted 135,800 people in 2012.(File:Viking Burgundy (ship, 2000) 001.jpg|thumb|A cruise boat at the quay at Avignon.)River tourism began in 1994 with three river boat-hotels. {{Citation needed|date=July 2017}} In 2011 there is a fleet of 21 river boat-hotel vessels, including six sight-seeing boats which are anchored on the quay along the Oulle walkways. In addition, a free shuttle boat connects Avignon to the ÃŽle de la Barthelasse and, as of 1987, a harbor master has managed all river traffic.The commune has been awarded one flower by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom.Avignon in the Competition for Towns and Villages in Bloom {{webarchive |url= |date=10 December 2014 }} {{Fr icon}}


(File:Fruits et légumes aux Halles.jpg|thumb|Fruit and Vegetables at the Markets of Avignon)The city is the headquarters of the International Association of the Mediterranean tomato, the World Council of the tomato industry, and the Inter-Rhône organisation.


Only EDF (Grand Delta) with about 850 employees and Onet Propreté{{efn|Cleaning company.}} with just over 300 exceed 100 employees.South INSEE the highest 10, October 1998, INSEE, consulted on 18 October 2011 {{Fr icon}}

Public sector (excluding government)

The Henri Duffaut hospital, the City of Avignon, and the CHS of Montfavet are the largest employers in the town with about 2,000 employees each. Then comes the General Council of Vaucluse with about 1,300 employees.


In 2011 the unemployment rate was 15.6% while it was 13.7% in 2006.Key Employment data, INSEE There are 39,100 people in the Avignon workforce: 78 (0.2%) agricultural workers, 2,191 (5.6%) tradesmen, shopkeepers, and business managers, 4,945 (12.6%) managers and intellectuals, 8,875 (22.6%) middle managers, 12,257 (31.3%) employees, and 9,603 (24.6%) workers.



Avignon is close to two highways:
  • the A7 autoroute (E714) is a north-south axis on which there are two exits: {{Motorway exit|23}} Avignon-Nord (Northern districts of Avignon, Le Pontet, Carpentras) and {{Motorway exit|24}} Avignon-Sud (Southern districts of Avignon, Avignon-Caumont Airport);
  • the A9 autoroute (E15) which branches from the A7 near Orange along a north-east south-west axis towards Spain.
The main roads are: The city has nine paid parking buildings with a total of 7,100 parking spaces, parking buildings under surveillance with a capacity for 2,050 cars with a free shuttle to the city centre, as well as five other free parking areas with a capacity of 900 cars.


Avignon is served by two railway stations: the historic train station built in 1860, the Gare d'Avignon-Centre, located just outside the city walls, which can accommodate any type of train and, since 2001, the Gare d'Avignon TGV in the "Courtine" district south of the city, on the LGV Méditerranée line. Since December 2013 the two stations have been connected by a link line – the Virgule. The Montfavet district, which was formerly a separate commune, also has a station.


The Avignon - Caumont Airport on the south-eastern commune border has several international routes to England. The major airport in the region with domestic and international scheduled passenger service is the Marseille Provence Airport.

Water transport

(File:Avignon - Navette Fluviale.JPG|thumb|A Water taxi departing from its berth)The Rhône has for many centuries been an important means of transportation for the city. River traffic in Avignon has two commercial ports, docking stations for boat cruises, and various riverfront developments. A free shuttle boat has been established between the quay near the ramparts and the opposite bank (the île de la Barthelasse).(File:StationVelopop.JPG|thumb|A vélopop cycle station next to the city walls)

Public transport

The {{interlanguage link|Transports en Commun Région d'Avignon|fr|lt=Transports en Commun de la Région d'Avignon}}, also known by the acronym TCRA, is the public transport operator for the commune of Avignon and its surrounding suburbs. TCRA operates bus services, as well as bike sharing and car pooling services. Two tram lines are under construction and projected to open in 2016.WEB, TCRA Transports en Commun Région d'Avignon: Page d'accueil,weblink Transports en Commun de la Région d'Avignon, 26 July 2014, WEB,weblink Le tramway: Un projet optimisé pour 2016, Communauté d'Agglomération du Grand Avignon, 12 March 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2 July 2013, dmy,


Avignon has {{convert|110|km|mi|0|abbr=on}} of bicycle paths. In 2009 the TCRA introduced a bicycle sharing system called the Vélopop'.WEB, Vélopop,weblink Transports en Commun de la Région d'Avignon, 26 July 2014, French,

Cultural heritage

Avignon has a very large number of sites and buildings (173) that are registered as historical monuments.WEB, Search for "Avignon" in Mérimée database,weblink Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, French, 26 July 2014, (File:Avignon shops.jpg|thumb|upright = 0.6 |Rue de la République, the city's central boulevard)In the part of the city within the walls the buildings are old but in most areas they have been restored or reconstructed (such as the post office and the Lycée Frédéric Mistral).WEB, L'extension du XXe siècle,weblink Archives Municipales Avignon, French, 26 July 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 17 January 2012, dead, dmy-all, The buildings along the main street, Rue de la République, date from the Second Empire (1852–70) with Haussmann façades and amenities around Place de l'Horloge (the central square), the neoclassical city hall, and the theatre district.(File:Avignon statues.jpg|thumb|Statues gaze over the Place de l'Horloge in the town centre)(File:Avignon facades.jpg|thumb|Paintings on the façades of buildings in the town centre)(File:Avignon Clock Tower - L'horloge.jpg|thumb|Avignon France Clock Tower landscape photo)Listed below are the major sites of interest with those sites registered as historical monuments indicated:
  • Notre Dame des Doms (12th century),{{Mérimée Icon}}Ministry of Culture, Mérimée {{Mérimée|PA00081814|PA00081814 Notre Dame des Doms}} {{Fr icon}}{{Camera}} the cathedral, is a Romanesque building, mainly built during the 12th century; the most prominent feature of the cathedral is the 19th century gilded statue of the Virgin which surmounts the western tower. The mausoleum of Pope John XXII (1334){{Palissy Icon}}Ministry of Culture, Palissy {{Palissy|PM84000105|PM84000105 Tomb of Pope John XXII}} {{Fr icon}}{{Camera}} is one of the most beautiful works within the cathedral, and is a noteworthy example of 14th-century Gothic carving.
  • Palais des Papes ("Papal Palace") (14th century){{Mérimée Icon}}Ministry of Culture, Mérimée {{Mérimée|PA00081941|PA00081941 Palais des Papes}} {{Fr icon}}{{Camera}} almost dwarfs the cathedral. The palace is an impressive monument and sits within a square of the same name. The palace was begun in 1316 by John XXII and continued by succeeding popes through the 14th century, until 1370 when it was finished.
  • Minor churches of the town include, among others, three churches which were built in the Gothic architectural style:
    • Church of Saint-Pierre (14th century){{Mérimée Icon}}Ministry of Culture, Mérimée {{Mérimée|PA00081834|PA00081834 Church of Saint-Pierre}} {{Fr icon}}{{Camera}} which has a graceful façade and richly carved doors;
    • Church of Saint-Didier (14th century);{{Mérimée Icon}}Ministry of Culture, Mérimée {{Mérimée|PA00081832|PA00081832 Church of Saint-Didier}} {{Fr icon}}{{Camera}} and
    • Church of Saint-Agricol (14th century).{{Mérimée Icon}}Ministry of Culture, Mérimée {{Mérimée|PA00081831|PA00081831 Church of Saint-Agricol}} {{Fr icon}}{{Camera}}
  • Civic buildings are represented most notably by:
    • the Hôtel de Ville (city hall) (1846),{{Mérimée Icon}}Ministry of Culture, Mérimée {{Mérimée|PA00081880|PA00081880 Hôtel de Ville}} {{Fr icon}}{{Camera}} a relatively modern building with a bell tower from the 14th century,
    • the old Hôtel des Monnaies{{Mérimée Icon}},Ministry of Culture, Mérimée {{Mérimée|PA00081864|PA00081864 Hôtel des Monnaies}} {{Fr icon}}{{Camera}} the papal mint which was built in 1610 and became a music-school.
  • The Ramparts,{{Mérimée Icon}}Ministry of Culture, Mérimée {{Mérimée|PA00081943|PA00081943 Ramparts}} {{Fr icon}}{{Camera}} built by the popes in the 14th century and still encircle Avignon. They are one of the finest examples of medieval fortification in existence. The walls are of great strength and are surmounted by machicolated battlements flanked at intervals by 39 massive towers and pierced by several gateways, three of which date from the 14th century. The walls were restored under the direction of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc
  • Bridges include:
  • Calvet Museum, so named after Esprit Calvet, a physician who in 1810 left his collections to the town. It has a large collection of paintings, metalwork and other objects. The library has over 140,000 volumes.{{sfn|Vingtain|Aujard-Catot|2001|pp=84–87}}
  • The town has a Statue of Jean Althen, who migrated from Persia and in 1765 introduced the culture of the madder plant, which long formed the staple—and is still an important tool—of the local cloth trade in the area.
  • Musée du Petit Palais (opened 1976) at the end of the square overlooked by the Palais des Papes, has an exceptional collection of Renaissance paintings of the Avignon school as well as from Italy, which reunites many "primitives" from the collection of Giampietro Campana.
  • The Hotel d'Europe, one of the oldest hotels in France, in business since 1799.
  • The Collection Lambert, houses contemporary art exhibitions
  • The Musée Angladon exhibits the paintings of a private collector who created the museum
  • Musée Lapidaire, with collections of archaeological and medieval sculptures from the Fondation Calvet in the old chapel of the Jesuit College.
  • Musée Louis-Vouland
  • Musée Requien
  • Palais du Roure{{Mérimée Icon}}Ministry of Culture, Mérimée {{Mérimée|PA00081942|PA00081942 Palais du Roure}} {{Fr icon}}{{Camera}}
  • Les Halles is a large indoor market that offers fresh produce, meats, and fish along with a variety of other goods.
  • The Place Pie is a small square near Place de l'Horloge where you can partake in an afternoon coffee on the outdoor terraces or enjoy a night on the town later in the evening as the square fills with young people.
  • Note: the name of Pablo Picasso's 1907 painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon) is misleading; Picasso's models for this painting were in fact not women of the city of Avignon, but rather of the Carrer d'Avinyó (Avignon Street) in Barcelona.

Religious historical objects

The commune houses an extremely large number of religious items which are listed as historical objects. To see a comprehensive list of objects in each location click on the numbers in the table below:Locations of Historical Objects{| class="wikitable"! Location !! No. of Objects| 268 objects| 1 object| 5 objects | 3 objects| 9 objects| 1 object | 3 objects | 1 object | 26 objects| 27 objects| 1 object| 3 objects | 1 object| 3 objects | 4 objects| 43 objects | 21 objects| 23 objects | 12 objects| 4 objectsTotal Objects >| 459

Picture gallery

File:Avignon, Palais des Papes by JM Rosier.jpg|View of the Palais des papes from the square on the western side.File:Abbaye Saint-Ruf d'Avignon 01.JPG| The Abbey of Saint-Ruf.File:Avignon bridge by Rosier.jpg|The Pont d'Avignon famous from the song Sur le Pont d'Avignon.File:Pont_Saint-Benezet_(nuit).jpg|The Pont Saint-Bénézet, illuminated at night.File:Remparts d'Avignon.jpg|The Ramparts of Avignon.File:Hotel de la monnaie.JPG|The Hôtel des Monnaies.


Avignon Festival

A famous theatre festival is held annually in Avignon. Founded in 1947, the Avignon Festival comprises traditional theatrical events as well as other art forms such as dance, music, and cinema, making good use of the town's historical monuments. Every summer approximately 100,000 people attend the festival.WEB, Festival 2014,weblink 6 November 2013, There are really two festivals that take place: the more formal "Festival In", which presents plays inside the Palace of the Popes and the more bohemian "Festival Off", which is known for its presentation of largely undiscovered plays and street performances.

The International Congress Centre

The centre was created in 1976 within the premises of the Palace of the Popes and hosts many events throughout the entire year. The Congress Centre, designed for conventions, seminars, and meetings for 10 to 550 persons, now occupies two wings of the Popes' Palace.WEB,weblink Popes' Palace,, 17 January 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 7 January 2010, live,

"Sur le Pont d'Avignon"

{{Wide image|Avignon Panorama.jpg|900px|View over the Rhône looking northeast, with the Pont Saint-Bénézet or "Pont d'Avignon" at left}}Avignon is commemorated by the French song, "Sur le Pont d'Avignon" ("On the bridge of Avignon"), which describes folk dancing. The song dates from the mid-19th century when Adolphe Adam included it in the Opéra comique Le Sourd ou l'Auberge Pleine which was first performed in Paris in 1853. The opera was an adaptation of the 1790 comedy by Desforges.{{citation | last=Anonymous | title=Théatre Impérial de l'Opéra-Comique, Le Sourd ou l'Auberge pleine: Comédie en trois actes de Desforges, mélée de musique par Ad. Adam | journal=Revue et gazette musicale de Paris: journal des artistes, des amateurs et des théâtres | volume=20 | issue=6 | date=6 February 1853| page=42 | place=Paris | url= | language=French }}.The bridge of the song is the Saint-Bénézet bridge over the Rhône of which only four arches (out of the initial 22) now remain. A bridge across the Rhone was built between 1171 and 1185, with a length of some 900 m (2950 ft), but was destroyed during the siege of Avignon by Louis VIII of France in 1226. It was rebuilt but suffered frequent collapses during floods and had to be continually repaired. Several arches were already missing (and spanned by wooden sections) before the remainder was abandoned in 1669.{{sfn|Rouquette|1974|pp=219–229}}


Sporting Olympique Avignon is the local rugby league football team. During the 20th century it produced a number of French international representative players.AC Arles-Avignon was a professional association football team. They competed in Ligue 2, after a season 2010–2011 competing in Ligue 1 and being relegated back down the following season and ultimately folding in 2016. They played at the Parc des Sports, which has a capacity of just over 17,000.

Nuclear pollution

On 8 July 2008 waste containing unenriched uranium leaked into two rivers from Tricastin nuclear plant in southern France. Some 30,000 litres (7,925 gallons) of solution containing 12g of uranium per litre spilled from an overflowing reservoir at the facility – which handles liquids contaminated by uranium – into the ground and into the Gaffiere and Lauzon rivers. The authorities kept this a secret from the public for 12 hours then issued a statement prohibiting swimming and fishing in the Gaffiere and Lauzon rivers.NEWS,weblink Europe, Warning over French uranium leak, BBC News, 9 July 2008, 7 July 2009,


The schools within the commune of Avignon are administered by the Académie d'Aix-Marseille. There are 26 state nursery schools (Écoles maternelles) for children up to 6, and 32 state primary schools (Écoles élémentaires) up to 11. There are also 4 private schools.WEB, Liste des écoles maternelles et primaires,weblink Le Marie d'Avignon, 2 August 2014,

University of Avignon

{{See also|Medieval university|List of medieval universities}}(File:UniversiteAvignon-Entree.jpg|right|thumb|Entrance to the main university building. This 18th century portico was once the entrance to the Hôpital Sainte-Marthe.)

University before the Revolution

The medieval University of Avignon, formed from the existing schools of the city, was formally constituted in 1303 by Boniface VIII in a Papal Bull. Boniface VIII and King Charles II of Naples were the first great protectors and benefactors to the university. The Law department was the most important department covering both civil and ecclesiastical law. The law department existed nearly exclusively for some time after the university's formation and remained its most important department throughout its existence.{{CathEncy|wstitle=University of Avignon|noicon=x}}In 1413 Antipope John XXIII founded the university's department of theology, which for quite some time had only a few students. It was not until the 16th and 17th centuries that the school developed a department of medicine. The bishop of Avignon was chancellor of the university from 1303 to 1475. After 1475 the bishop became an archbishop but remained chancellor of the university. The papal vice-legate, generally a bishop, represented the civil power (in this case the pope) and was chiefly a judicial officer who ranked higher than the Primicerius (Rector).The Primicerius was elected by the Doctors of Law. In 1503 the Doctors of Law had 4 Theologians and in 1784 two Doctors of Medicine added to their ranks. Since the Pope was the spiritual head and, after 1348, the temporal ruler of Avignon, he was able to have a great deal of influence in all university affairs. In 1413 John XXIII granted the university extensive special privileges, such as university jurisdiction and tax exempt status. Political, geographical, and educational circumstances in the latter part of the university's existence caused it to seek favour from Paris rather than Rome for protection. During the chaos of the French Revolution the university started to gradually disappear and, in 1792, the university was abandoned and closed.

Modern university

A university annex of the Faculté des Sciences d'Aix-Marseille was opened in Avignon in 1963. Over the next 20 years various changes were made to the provision of tertiary education in the town until finally in 1984 the Université d'Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse was created. This was nearly 200 years after the demise of the original Avignon university.WEB, Présentation: Histoire, Université d'Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse,weblink 5 April 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 7 April 2014, dmy-all, The main campus lies to the east of the city centre within the city ramparts. The university occupies the 18th century buildings of the Hôpital Sainte-Marthe. The main building has an elegant façade with a central portico. The right hand side was designed by Jean-Baptiste Franque and built between 1743 and 1745. Franque was assisted by his son François in the design of the portico. The hospital moved out in the 1980s and, after major works, the building opened for students in 1997.{{sfn|Vingtain|Aujard-Catot|2001|pp=123–124}}{{sfn|Girard|1958|pp=306–307}} In 2009–2010 there were 7,125 students registered at the university.WEB, Présentation: Chiffres clés, Université d'Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 24 October 2007, 5 April 2014,

Notable people

See also






  • JOURNAL, Boyer, Jean, 1988, The one and only Trophime Bigot, The Burlington Magazine, 130, 1022, 355–357, 883417, harv,
  • BOOK, Champion, Maurice, 1862, Les inondations en France depuis le VIe siècle jusqu'a nos jours (Volume 4), V. Dalmont, Paris, French,weblink harv,
  • BOOK, Dauzat, Albert, Rostaing, Charles, 1963, Dictionnaire étymologique des noms de lieux en France, Larousse, Paris, French, harv,
  • BOOK, Girard, Joseph, 1958, Évocation du Vieil Avignon, Les Éditions de Minuit, Paris, 5391399, French, harv,
  • BOOK, Mistral, Frédéric, 1979, 1879, Lou Trésor dou Félibrige ou Dictionnaire provençal-français (Volume 1: A-F ), M. Petit, Raphèle-lès-Arles, French, Provencal,weblink harv,
  • BOOK, Rouquette, Jean-Maurice, 1974, Provence Romane: La Provence Rhodanienne, Zodiaque, Paris, French, English, German, 1036957, harv,
    • JOURNAL, Vella, Marc-Antoine, 2013, Géoarchéologie du Rhône dans le secteur du pont Saint-Bénézet (Avignon, Provence, France) au cours de la seconde moitié du deuxième millénaire apr. J.-C. : étude croisée de géographie historique et des paléoenvironnements, (Géomorphologie, Géomorphologie : relief, processus, environnement), 3, 287–310,weblink French, English, {{sfnref, Vella et al., 2013, | doi=10.4000/geomorphologie.10300|display-authors=etal}}
  • BOOK, Vingtain, Dominique, Aujard-Catot, Roland, 2001, Avignon: Musées, Monuments, Promenades, Éditions du patrimoine, Paris, 2-85822-555-9, French, harv,
  • BOOK, Vitaglione, Daniel, 2000, The Literature of Provence: An Introduction, McFarland, Jefferson, North Carolina, 9780786408436, harv,
  • BOOK, Xavier de Fourvière, R.P., Rupert, R.P., 1902, Lou pichot tresor, dictionnaire provençal-français et français-provençal, Aubanel, Avignon,weblink harv,
  • {{CathEncy|wstitle=Avignon}}
  • {{CathEncy|wstitle=Councils of Avignon}}
  • {{CathEncy|wstitle=University of Avignon}}
  • EB1911, Avignon,

External links

{{commons category|Avignon}}{{Wikivoyage|Avignon}} {{Geographic location|Centre = AvignonSauveterre, Gard>SauveterreLe Pontet, Vaucluse>Le Pontet|East = Morières-lès-Avignon|Southeast = Caumont-sur-Durance|South = Rognonas|Southwest = BarbentaneLes Angles, Gard>Les Angles|Northwest = Villeneuve-les-Avignon}}{{World Heritage Sites in France}}{{Prefectures of departments of France}}{{European Capital of Culture}}{{Vaucluse communes}}{{Historic Provinces of France}}{{Authority control}}

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