Villeneuve-les-Avignon, Gard: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Villeneuve-les-Avignon (Languedoc-Roussillon, France)
Villeneuve-les-Avignon is in the Gard department at the eastern edge of Languedoc-Roussillon, on the border with Provence. Although most visitors are in this region for the famous sights at Avignon just across the river, you should also allow time to explore here when you visit.
The town originally developed around the 11th century Abbey of Saint-André, which is now included within the fortifications of Saint-André Fort, the castle that stands above Villeneuve-les-Avignon and was built in part to protect the abbey. When you visit the fort you can see various towers and the chapel of Notre-Dame de Belvezet, but the highlight is perhaps the very far-reaching views. The fort is inscribed on the list of French National Monuments.
Also within the fort the terraced abbey gardens are very lovely and contain numerous statues and other ornaments as well as a very wide range of plants. The original abbey was rebuilt and the building we see today was largely built in the 18th century.
Although only a portion of the bridge now remains the town was once connected to Avignon by the famous pont d'Avignon (Pont St-Bénézet). You can climb the 14th century tower - the Tour Philippe le Bel - that once protected the bridge and get more good views across to the papal buildings of Avignon. This tower is the only remaining part of the fortifications that once surrounded the historic town.
The town itself also merits to be explored as you climb to the castle. One particular highlight is the Chartreuse du Val-de-Benediction, constructed by Pope Innocent IV in the middle of the 14th century and featuring a church, some attractive (three!) cloisters, renowned frescoes by Matteo Giovannetti, and gardens. The mausoleum of Innocent IV is in the church at what was once one of the most grand chartreuse ensembles ever to be built.
The 14th century gothic Collegial Notre-Dame Church in Villeneuve-lez-Avignon also has a cloister and some noteworthy art works.
There are various other medieval properties sprinkled through the town to admire as you pass, some of them originally the palaces for the cardinals of Avignon. The main square in Villeneuve-les-Avignon has plenty of places where you can stop at a cafe or restaurant.
At the Pierre de Luxembourg Museum (in a grand townhouse on Rue de la Rebublique) the speciality is sacred art. It is a highly regarded museum, with some interesting early works such as the 'Crowning of the Virgin' (see picture) by Enguerrand Quarton.
A couple of guided walks are recommended - the first around the fort and old town, the second along the Rhone - see the tourist office for a map.
The weekly markets in Villeneuve-les-Avignon take place on thursday and saturday mornings.
Visitors will of course want to visit Avignon and perhaps the roman ruins at nearby Orange. For somewhere a little more away from the main tourist attractions we recommend the historic village of Les Angles, in the south-western part of Villeneuve-les-Avignon, to see the village centre huddled around a pretty little gothic style church.
Map of Villeneuve-les-Avignon and places nearby
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Tourist classifications for Villeneuve-les-Avignon
Villeneuve-les-Avignon is classified as a historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé)
Address: Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, Nîmes, Languedoc-Roussillon, 30400, France || GPS: latitude 43.9672, longitude 4.79667
Plan your visit to Villeneuve-les-Avignon, Gard
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Fort Saint-Andre: national monument
- Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Repos de Montfavet (Avignon): religious monument (2 km)
- Avignon Centre: heritage site (2 km)
- Avignon: secteur sauvegarde (3 km)
- Jardin du château de Brantes: remarkable garden (8 km)
- Jardin aquatique « Aux fleurs de l'eau: remarkable garden (13 km)
- Orange Roman Theatre: heritage site (19 km)
- Glanum: national monument (20 km)
- Pont du Gard: grand site of france (21 km)
- Pernes-les-Fontaines: recommended detour (21 km)
- Beaucaire: recommended detour (22 km)
- Carpentras: town of art and history (22 km)
Market days in Villeneuve-les-Avignon, France
Regular market(s) are held in Villeneuve-les-Avignon each Thursday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Villeneuve-les-Avignon (Francais)