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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We always seem to end up here at some point when we're in town. The beauty of the Bistro d'Utopia is that it's just a few minutes' walk from the tourist hub of Avignon but has an intimate and relaxed local vibe.

You'll find it off the lobby of the Utopia La Manutention, a lively arthouse repertory cinema that's the only one in town - along with its sister, Utopia République - to show films in their subtitled, rather than dubbed versions. Website for the Utopia cinemas, Avignon

The decor, with its mix of gilded cherubs and funky Sixties kitsch, could almost be a film set itself, but the clientele isn't limited to movie buffs.

Avignon's bo-bo (bourgeois-bohemian) crowd hangs out here too, in a long, thin room opened up by huge mirrors all along one wall and floor-to-ceiling windows along the other. They look on to an outdoor terrace that gets packed in summer.

In winter the Bistro d'Utopia is just as welcoming, and you can linger over coffee at one of the round café tables, chat to the (plaster) cherub at the bar (pictured) or retreat to the cosy nook behind it.

bar utopia avignonThe house tipple, served by the glass, is a good wine from the region. And, when hunger strikes, the hot open sandwiches, which come with or without mountains of salad, make for a satisfying light meal. Note that the bar does not accept credit cards.

If something more substantial is required, you can always wander across the courtyard to Le Grand Café for a full three course meal, though it doesn't have the same buzzing atmosphere.

Where: Bistro d'Utopia, La Manutention, 4 rue des escaliers Sainte Anne, Avignon 84000. Tel: (+33) 4 90 27 04 96

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