Bars and Cafés: Avignon

The best areas of Avignon for bars, cafés and brasseries are the place Crillon (by the porte de l'Oulle on the river), the place des Corps saints , pictured, (it's just behind the Tourist Office) and the rue des Teinturiers.

place des corps saintsIn the latter area, try La Tâche d'Encre at 1 rue de la Tauresque or the very reasonably priced L'Offset at 16 bis rue des Teinturiers - and watch out for the huge ancient printing press in the middle of its bar area.

Two oddball venues sit almost opposite each other in the nearby rue des Lices. At La Compagnie des Chats at no.19, you can stroke a furry four-legged friend while sipping your cappuccino - and even adopt one of the cats if the fancy takes you.

At no.30, Épice and Love (sic) is a café-restaurant that doubles as a brocante (bric à brac) shop where all the vintage décor is for sale.

We were hoping to recommend the recently opened Pâtisserie Vernet, at 77 rue Joseph Vernet, a venture by the young, international award-winning pastry chef Yazid Ichemrahen, whose exquisite creations have been the talk of Avignon.

But the cakes we sampled were fine but no more than workmanlike - and we later learned that Ichemrahen is now only involved in a supervisory capacity. Let's hope that he doesn't overstretch himself, like so many other successful chefs before him.

The line in France between bistros and restaurants is a fluid one and many of these addresses also serve light food, sometimes very good food too, though they're famed for their atmosphere more for their cuisine. Stay tuned for new additions!

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Autour d'un The, un Voyage, Avignon: courtyardFor a touch of zen in the heart and heat of Avignon, there can be few nicer spots than this serene and elegant tea room in a chapel within the 15th century Petit Palais, just off the crowded city centre.

Cinema Utopia AvignonHidden away at the back of the Palais des Papes, next to Pope Urban V's private garden, the Bistro d'Utopia is a little away from the main tourist drag and one of the coolest bars in Avignon.

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