Avignon Transportation Tips by CatherineReichardt Top 5 Page for this destination
Avignon Transportation: 29 reviews and 24 photos
Le Petit Train d
Let me be blunt: I have no idea whatsoever why an ablebodied person would consider spending a hefty €7 on this service, but perhaps if you're not very mobile or have kids in tow, this might be for you ...
The 'train' - which is actually a little motorised vehicle pulling opensided carriages - follows a circuit around the Avignon city centre. The most popular place to pick it up is in the Place du Palais, and you are free to get on and off at will along the route, which has been designed to take in many of Avignon's tourist attractions.
It does seem extremely expensive - to put it into context, the cost of the ticket is nearly the admission fee to the Palais des Papes (Avignon's most expensive tourist attraction) if you have picked up your free Avignon card. It also doesn't include transport over to gorgeous Villeneuve-lès-Avignon just across the river, which is easily accessed by navette.
The navette (local bus) station in Avignon
As with the potential confusion between TGV and local trains in Avignon, it's easy to get confused between the local and regional bus services. That's not to say that it's complicated - in fact, quite the opposite - but you just need to know that there is a difference.
The navette buses serving the local area in and around Avignon use a terminus directly in front of the Post Office, which is just over the road from the central railway station - it's a distance of barely 100m, but you can't see one from the other because they are separated by the city walls. Follow the blue footprints on the pavement and walk through Port de la Republique, after which all will be revealed!
The navette station is an attractive place, shaded by beautiful plane trees whose shade would doubtless be most welcome in high summer! The stops are clearly labelled ... and the layout is such that the navette to the TGV station is ergonomically located closest to the train station.
The two navette services that are likely to be of most interest to tourists are those to the TGV station and to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.
The service between the navette station and the TGV station takes 10 minutes and buses run on average about twice an hour between about 06:00 and 23:00 (depending on the time of year). This is much cheaper than a taxi and if you're coming from the TGV station, it also has the advantage that you don't have to join what can be rather a long queue for taxis after a TGV train arrives. If needs be, you can then pick up a taxi from outside the railway station in the centre of town (since the navette terminus is immediately over the road from here).
The Villeneuve service - Line 11 - runs on average twice an hour (depending on day of the week, time of the day and whether it's school holidays or not). The journey takes about 15 minutes, and runs between about 06:30 and 19:30 - bear this relatively early last service in mind if you're considering staying in Villeneuve and travelling into Avignon.
Navettes work on a flat fee per ride - €1.80 at the time of writing in October 2011.
TGV station, Avignon
For many tourists to Avignon, their point of arrival will be the gorgeously futuristic TGV (high speed rail) station on the outside of town, which is a glorious piece of design.
To avoid confusion, please bear in mind that local/regional services do NOT stop at this station - these depart from the Avignon Central railway station just opposite the post office and Porte de la Republique.
The easiest and cheapest way to get into the town centre is to catch the navette bus - this takes 10 minutes and buses run on average about twice and hour between about 06:00 and 23:00 (depending on the time of year). This is much cheaper than a taxi (just less than €2 at the time of writing in October 2011) and also has the advantage that you don't have to join what can be rather a long queue for taxis after a TGV train arrives. If needs be, you can then pick up a taxi from outside the railway station in the centre of town (since the navette terminus is immediately over the road from here).
The less-than-hygienic bus station in Avignon
The regional (as opposed to navette) bus station in Avignon would probably be considered pretty horrible by any standards, but in comparison to the glorious space age confection of the TGV station, the elegant charm of the main rail station and the beautiful navette station, it's positively grungy!
Anyway, it's worth braving the litter, the filth and the pervasive urine stench of the entrance to the bus station (and no, unfortunately I'm not joking), because the regional bus services are ridiculously good value for money. The bus costs about a third of the cost of the rail journey to Orange, for example, and also services destination such as Pont du Gard that you simply can't reach by train.
Firstly, the bus station is located off Rue du Rempart St Roch, opposite Porte St Michel - this is less than 500m walk east of the railway and navette stations. It is not immediately apparent - look for the double storey building with a mirrored upper storey, complete wit a large red Barberosse advert at the time of writing in October 2011 and an escalator up to the main railway station platforms to the right (not working at the time of our visit). Venture forth into the smelly dark cave on the ground floor and take heart that that's the worst bit over!
Tickets for local services are bought on the buses. There is an information desk inside the booking hall, and on both occasions we visited, the staff were helpful, well informed and spoke good English. There is also an excellent range of timetables on display which you simply help yourself to. Funnily enough, it doesn't look like the French are big on displaying this information online, as not a single one of the rail, bus or navette timetables I picked up listed a website which would be considerd standard in most other places ...
Buses depart from different bays depending on the end destination. The numbering seems to be a bit erratic, but it's not a huge place, so it shouldn't take you more than a couple of minutes to find the right bay.
The bus is the only way to get to Pont du Gard on public transport using bus A15 which runs between Avignon and Alès. The journey takes about an hour but be aware that buses on this route run only every couple of hours and so there are only a few services a day that allow you to make a comfortable day trip. The cost of a one way ticket is a laughably paltry €1.50 - that's less than the cost of the 10 minute navette journey to the TGV station and well worth running the gauntlet of litter and stinky smells for!
The Line 2.1 service to Orange is equally affordable - again €1.50 - and has more frequent buses: at least one an hour, and more in peak periods. This journey also takes about an hour. Be warned that the last bus back to Avignon from Orange leaves quite early (18:40 over the summer period) so if you're planning a day trip to Orange, you'll need to factor this in. However, if you miss that last service, or don't want to leave lovely Orange that early, the rail service runs much later into the evening.
As with other forms of public transport, bear in mind that there may be summer and winter schedules, so make sure you're using a timetable (horaire) that is up to date.
Done! Now I can chuck out all those timetables I accumulated ... my desk looks clearer already!
The obvious way to get to Avignon if you’re already in France is by high speed (TGV) train – a relaxing 2½ hour glide from Paris that should already nudge you towards laid back holiday mode.
If you have no option but to fly, Avignon can be expensive to access because at the time of writing (October 2011) it was not served by a low cost carrier. My parents neatly dealt with this challenge by flying with Ryanair into nearby Nîmes and catching the train, an easy 30 minute journey that will deposit you painlessly (and affordably) right on the edge of Avignon’s city walls.
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