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Avignon See And Do

Collection Lambert
5 Rue Violette
Avignon
France 84000
Tel: 33 4 90 16 56 20
www.collectionlambert.com

Aficionados of contemporary art should make time for the Collection Lambert, which is housed in the 18th-century Hôtel de Caumont. The museum was opened in 2000 to exhibit more than 350 works owned by collector Yvon Lambert. The interiors, designed by Andrée Putman, house work by Carl André, Anselm Kiefer, Christian Boltanski, aNan Goldin, and Cy Twombly.

Closed Mondays September through June.

Musée Angladon
5 Rue Laboureur
Avignon
France 84000
Tel: 33 4 90 82 29 03
www.angladon.com

The former home of the heir of Parisian couturier and collector Jacques Doucet (1853-1929) exhibits half a dozen Picassos as well as paintings by Degas, Derain, Modigliani, Van Gogh, Manet, Cézanne, and Sisley. The sumptuously decorated upstairs rooms, their walls lined in gorgeous patterned silks, are a treat.

Closed Mondays April through November; closed Mondays and Tuesdays December through March.

Musée Calvet
65 Rue Joseph Vernet
Avignon
France 84000
Tel: 33 4 90 86 33 84
www.musee-calvet.org

The Musée Calvet is worth visiting for the structure alone, an elegant 18th-century mansion built around two courtyards. It also has a fine collection of paintings ranging from Brueghel to Bernard Buffet, via Géricault, Daumier, Bonnard, and Vuillard. Mixed in amongst the art is the odd curiosity, like a 13th-century Cambodian head and a pair of mounted narwhal tusks, each several yards long.

Closed Tuesdays.

Musée Louis Vouland
17 Rue Victor Hugo
Avignon
France 84000
Tel: 33 4 90 86 03 79
www.vouland.com

The Musée Louis Vouland is another town house named in honor of its former owner, a city father and grand bourgeois with a passion for porcelain and antique furniture. It is an intriguing collection but unfortunately is rather untidily displayed.

Palais des Papes
Place du Palais
Avignon
France 84000
Tel: 33 4 90 27 50 00
www.palais-des-papes.com

The massive Palais des Papes, built when the Holy See moved its seat to Avignon in the early 1300s fearing insurrection in Rome, is impregnable and austere. It dominates the town, both with its bulk and as a tourist attraction. It claims to be Europe's largest Gothic palace and is undeniably impressive—even beautiful—from outside, with its towers, spires, and crenellations. However, it is tedious to visit: The opulent trappings of papal power have long since been stripped out, and the palace's 25 rooms are mostly bare. The exception is the papal bedroom, which is frescoed with vines and birds and laid with a richly colored (reproduction) tile floor.

Parc Rocher des Doms
Avignon
France

To get the big picture of the region, visit Parc Rocher des Doms, where on a clear day you should be able to see as far as Mont Ventoux—at 6,263 feet, the tallest mountain in Provence.

Petit Palais
Place du Palais
Avignon
France 84000
Tel: 33 4 90 86 44 58
www.mairie-avignon.fr/en/musees/petipalen.php

The vast cobbled square of Place du Palais offers a crash course in the history of European architecture, flanked as it is by buildings dating from almost every century since the 13th. The Petit Palais, a former archbishop's palace, is much lovelier than the Pope's home. It now contains a world-class collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, including a transfixing Botticelli as well as works by Carpaccio and Crivelli. Among the most intriguing is a Gerini depicting the devil as a woman in a red dress (the tail and clawed feet are a bit of a giveaway).

Closed Tuesdays.

Pont St. Bénezet
Avignon
France 84000
www.palais-des-papes.com

This 800-year-old bridge is an impressive structure even though less than a fifth of it still stands: Eighteen of its original 22 arches have collapsed or been washed away by the spectacularly fast-flowing currents of the Rhône. There are good views of both the city and its towers and turrets, and across to the satellite town of Villeneuve-les-Avignon, where many of Avignon's cardinals built grand mansions known as livrées cardinalices.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.