Avignon bus iconAvignon's walled city is compact: the Palais des Papes and Pont d'Avignon can be visited on foot (wear comfortable shoes as streets are cobbled). If you tire of walking, here are some alternatives.

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BALADINE

Baladine, one of Avignon's electric buses, at ChristmasThe Baladines are nimble little seven-seater electric-powered vehicles similar to the Diablines in Aix en Provence: a sort of cross between buses, taxis and milk floats.

Normally a bright, eco-friendly green, they sometimes borrow a red livery, as in the picture, right, to celebrate Christmas.

The Baladines ply one circular route in Avignon and, instead of picking up and dropping passengers only at bus-stops, can be hailed down like taxis.

They run every day throughout July and Mondays to Saturdays for the rest of the year. You can buy a ticket on board from the driver.

BUS

Bus transport throughout "Grand Avignon" (the Greater Avignon Region), including Les Angles, Villeneuve lès Avignon and Le Pontet, is supplied by Transports en Commun de la Région d'Avignon or TCRA, tel: (+33) 4 32 74 18 32. TCRA also looks after the city's bicycle hire scheme Vélopop and the Baladines. Website for TCRA.

The major bus stops in central Avignon are in front of the main post office (La Poste), on the place Pie (by Les Halles, Avignon's covered market) and on the rue de la République.

Inside the city walls the main services are two routes which are plied at regular intervals during the day by 20-seat mini-buses called Cityzens.

All bus stops in Avignon are request stops, so you will need to flag the bus down and, on board, ring the bell when you want to alight at the next stop.

You must punch your ticket upon boarding the bus. You can change buses (including from a regular bus to a Cityzen) for up to one hour from the time stamped on your ticket.

Tickets can be pre-purchased at newsagents, tobacconists and shops displaying the TCRA logo, or at the TCRA Point d'Accueil (Welcome Desk) at avenue de Lattre de Tassigny between Avignon Centre train station and the Tourist Office.

A carnet of 10 tickets represents better value than a single ticket and can be used by several passengers at once.

It is often worth buying a day pass (ticket journée) if you plan to take several bus trips. Monthly and annual season tickets are also available.

Click here for the list of Avignon bus timetables, (type the number of your chosen route in the search box), here for a map of bus routes in and around Central Avignon and here for a plan of the Greater Avignon bus network.

Longer distance buses to regional and international destinations leave from the Gare Routière (Bus Station). Previously dark and gloomy, it was recently completely refurbished and now rejoices in the pretentious official name of Pôle d'échanges multimodal. But it's still basically the bus station.

Click here for the Avignon bus station website, which includes details of available services and routes. 5 avenue Montclar, 84000 Avignon. Tel: (+33) 4 90 82 07 35.

 

 

RAIL

Click here to read our guide to Avignon TGV and Avignon Centre rail stations.

BICYCLE, MOTORCYCLE, SCOOTER

Cycling is one of the best ways to zip around the narrow streets of Avignon's walled city. Launched in 2009, Vélopop is a self-service bicycle hire service run by the local bus company, TCRA, and aimed at short-term tourists paying by credit card as well as at locals and long-term visitors on a subscription basis.

Velopop bicycle hire rack, AvignonAvignon's 200 bikes can be picked up in 19 racks dotted around the walled city and its immediate outskirts.

This interactive online map of Avignon's Vélopop hire bicycle racks gives their location, as well as how many bikes and parking slots are currently available at each rack. Free Smartphone apps are also available to check this while you're out and about.

The procedure to rent a Vélopop as a tourist is somewhat complicated. You will need your credit card and mobile / cell phone. Not all the racks have a credit card reader: check the link above to see which ones do.

If there is no reader, you can book a Vélopop by telephone on 0810 456 456. Press 4 to speak to an agent in English.

After paying with your credit card, you will receive a text message with an eight digit access number. You tap this in at the rack and one of the keys in the grid will light up. It will have a number on it and you need to find the corresponding bike in the rack.

You will also need to tap in this access number when returning your bike before you can insert the bike key back into the slot. You don't need to return the bike to the same rack you took it from.

The Vélopop website is in French only, but the Mode d'Emploi (How to Use) tab has fairly self-explanatory illustrations.

Various private companies offer bicycle, electric bike and Segway rentals and/or guided tours of Avignon on their vehicles. Check with the Tourist Office for what's currently available.

CAR

All the usual car hire companies have offices at Avignon TGV station outside the south exit. At Avignon Centre station, by contrast, there is just one company, Avis, which has a desk in the station concourse, in the office where train tickets are sold.

If you are planning to rent a car in Avignon, please consider our comparison search engine for all grades of hire car from Smarts to 4x4s and limousines.

Powered by our affiliate partner, it will instantly compare the current rates on offer from all major suppliers at your chosen location to ensure you get the best deal.

You can easily circumnavigate the walled city of Avignon on its ring road. Inside the walls, the numerous pedestrian areas (with retractable bollards) make driving more of a challenge. Note that in previous years the inner city has been completely closed to traffic during the Avignon Theatre Festival in July.

Parking on the street is not advised as car thefts are common. Inside and just outside the centre, there are around a dozen pay-for car-parks. Click here for a list of Avignon's main inner-city car parks, with links to their location on Google Maps.

To reduce congestion, Avignon also has a parc relais - park-and-ride - scheme. Free, guarded car-parks outside the city are linked to the centre by regular shuttle buses every five or ten minutes.

The two largest are the Parking de l'Ile Piot with 1100 spaces and the Parking Les Italiens with 1400 spaces. Both are actually within walking distance of the centre if you're feeling energetic. Click here for a city plan showing the parcs relais and inner city car parks.

The bus shuttle from L'Ile Piot car-park will drop you at the Porte de l'Oulle, five minutes' walk from the place de l'Horloge.

The bus shuttle from the Les Italiens also passes close to the place de l'Horloge as well as the place Pie, by Les Halles food market.

The shuttle buses from the parcs relais to the city centre are also free but you will have to pay for any further bus rides you take during the day.

Click on the P+R / Car Park Facilities in the top menu bar here for the maps and timetables of the park-and-ride car-park and shuttle bus.

TAXI

Insider tip Avignon taxisExercise caution when picking up a taxi in Avignon. In early 2014 a public investigation found that, in spot checks, 18 out of 19 taxis taken at one of the city's two train stations had overcharged passengers.

Watch out for the illuminated letter "D" on the meter: it indicates you are being charged a higher, night-time tariff which should only apply between 7pm and 7am. Other popular scams are surcharges for non-existent extra baggage or pets.

If you must take a taxi in Avignon, the company below has an English-language website. Or book one ahead with our affiliate partner, Holiday Taxis. The low-cost peer-to-peer car-sharing service UberPOP is now banned in France though it continues to operate under a slightly different branding.

Taxis Avignon, 1 boulevard Saint Roch, 84000 Avignon. Tel: (+33) 4 90 82 20 20. Website for Taxis Avignon.

As in other cities, you will also increasingly find "alternative" taxi and tour operators in Avignon offering cycle taxis, tuk-tuks and horse-drawn carriages. Check at the Tourist Office for what's currently available.

BOAT

Barthelasse boat shuttle, AvignonThe 700 hectare / 1730 acre Barthelasse Island in the middle of the Rhône is one of the largest river islands in Europe.

You can get there from central Avignon by a free boat shuttle (navette fluviale). It departs from a point about 500 metres east of the Saint Bénézet Bridge, better known as the famous Pont d'Avignon.

Also sometimes called the Bac du Rocher des Doms, it runs for most of the year apart from in late winter, and on days of high winds.

Barthelasse Island is also accessible on foot via the Daladier bridge. Once there, you will find a footpath and cycle path with beautiful views across to Avignon plus numerous B&Bs and campsites.

Over the last 15 years, Avignon has also made great efforts to develop river tourism in the form of cruise ships and day trips by boat.

These range from lunch and dinner cruises to a one hour trip around Bartelasse Island as far as the Tour Philippe Le Bel in Villeneuve lès Avignon. This is a very nice way to view both cities from a different vantage point. Click here for the current list of cruises and excursions from Avignon.

PETIT TRAIN

The petit train, or little tourist train, traces one circuit, accompanied by a recorded earphone commentary in a choice of French, English, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, Dutch or Russian.

Petit Train, AvignonIt leaves from the place du Palais des Papes and lasts around 40 minutes, taking in the Musée du Petit Palais, the Rocher des Doms, the Pont Saint Bénézet and other sights in the walled city.

The commentary also gives you an interesting insight into the history of Avignon beyond these main attractions.

It's quite good fun. The nippy little train squeezes down the narrowest of alleyways past shops whose merchandise you could reach out and grab as you go past. Then it will chug slowly along the busy riverside road, much to the annoyance of coach drivers and other traffic!

Trains run every half hour into the early evening every day in the high season and on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons in the winter.

Payment in cash or by French bank cheque only. The petit train claims to be fully accessible for wheelchairs.

Reservations: Autocars Lieutaud - 36 boulevard Saint Roch, 84000 Avignon. Tel: (+33) 4 90 86 36 75. Fax: (+33) 4 90 85 57 07. email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website for Avignon's petit train. Or book at the Tourist Office, 41 cours Jean Jaurès, 84000 Avignon. Tel: (+33) 4 32 74 32 74. Fax: (+33) 4 90 82 95 03. Website for the Avignon Tourist Office.

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