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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 09 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Founded in 1947 by theatre director Jean Vilar, this festival was France’s answer to the UK’s Edinburgh Festival. It’s since evolved into a mass celebration of drama, music and dance, concentrating on edgy and avant-garde performances and companies from around Europe.

Nowadays, nearly a thousand shows and exhibitions take place over three weeks in July, both in Avignon and across the river in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. The Off Festival, a completely independent fringe event, runs alongside, attracting 1,000+ independent companies.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
Frequency: annually
When: July
Duration: 3 weeks

Getting there & doing it

Events take place in 24 venues across Avignon. A downloadable map is available on the festival website – but the main events take place in the Cour d’Honneur (courtyard) of the Popes’ Palace.

Final programmes are released in May – from then tickets may be purchased online, or over the phone, or at FNAC outlets, as well as at the festival’s main ticket office at 20 Rue du Portail Boquier. For Off Festival information, check its own separate website.

The main performances have ticketed seating; for others, it’s a good idea to arrive early – especially if they’re free. Book the better restaurants well in advance during the festival to avoid disappointment. Or head to the festival’s main hub, Place de l’Horloge, with its cafés, restaurants and non-stop street performances.

During the festival, parking is at a premium; only drive into Avignon’s centre if you have a garage space booked. The city puts on extra buses.

When to do it

The festival takes place during the last three weeks of July.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

La Mirande Hotel

Avignon, Provence, France[0.1 miles]

A magnificent, evocative and aristocratic luxury hotel, right next to Avignon’s Palace of the Popes.

Official star rating:

Hotel d’Europe

Avignon, Provence, France[0.4 miles]

An uber-luxury, boutique hotel set in a 16th-century mansion right in Avignon’s medieval centre. The city’s oldest hotel oozes elegance and class.

Official star rating:

Hotel Le Colbert

Avignon, Provence, France[0.8 miles]

Quirky, bohemian and great value boutique hotel conveniently located within easy walking distance of Avignon’s attractions. One for the budget-conscious traveller.

Official star rating:

Chateau des Alpilles

Saint-Remy, Provence, France[18 miles]

An elegant, historic 19th-century chateau hotel just outside historic Saint-Remy, set in glorious grounds.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Provence, France

Gorgeous landscapes peppered with beautiful villages, sunflowers and lavender, art-filled towns, lively cultural festivals and exquisite food and wine. Provence is everything you imagined it would be.

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