Arles vs Avignon: A Tale of Two Cities’ Festivities, Vibes, and Must-Visit Spots

Imagine wandering the lively streets, vibrating to the sounds of colorful festivals, and savoring delicious dishes in the South of France. Between Arles and Avignon, two emblematic destinations, which place to choose for an unforgettable festive weekend? Let’s discover together the festivals, atmospheres and good addresses of these cities for a getaway dedicated to celebration and discovery.

Festivals not to be missed

Want to experience a festive weekend in Provence but undecided between Arles and Avignon? No worries, we have what you need. These two charming towns promise you a cocktail of emotions, discoveries and unforgettable festivities.

Theater and dance lovers will find what they are looking for in Avignon. THE Avignon Festival is an unmissable event for fans of the performing arts. With 35 shows and 2 exhibitions, half of which feature international artists, your range of choices is wide. Don’t miss it Festival Off Avignon, a veritable anthill with its 1666 shows in various disciplines such as theater, dance, circus and even magic.

In Arles, the emphasis is on photography. THE Arles Photography Meetings have been attracting image enthusiasts for over fifty years. This summer, don’t miss the global retrospective dedicated to Mary Ellen Mark.

Festive atmospheres

The atmosphere in Avignon during the festival is most electric. The streets are transformed into a real stage with the Off companies parading to promote their shows. With family, friends or alone, you will love this friendly atmosphere.

On the other hand, Arles offers a relaxed chic atmosphere, especially during the inauguration week of the Rencontres Photographiques. Contemporary art lovers and professionals meet in the galleries and picturesque streets. A unique blend that will appeal to couples and photography enthusiasts.

Getaways to the Surrounding Areas

Although Avignon and Arles are only 40 kilometers apart, each offers unique getaways. From Avignon, the Mont Ventoux and the Luberon extend their arms to you. Visit enchanting villages like Gordes and Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

For lovers of wild nature, Arles is the perfect gateway to explore the Camargue and its fascinating landscapes between land and water. THE Alpilles, with their picturesque valleys and villages like Saint-Rémy de Provence, promise magical moments.

Good Gourmet Addresses


  • First edition – On the menu, fresh and creative cuisine. 2-course lunch menu: €23. 5 rue Prévot, Avignon. Tel.: 04 84 14 59 85.
  • Pollen – Michelin-starred and run by young chef Mathieu Desmaret, menus ranging from €50 (lunch) to €100 (dinner). 18 rue Joseph Vernet, Avignon. Tel.: 04 86 34 93 74.


  • Inari – Céline Pham fuses French tradition and Vietnamese cuisine. 2-course lunch menu: €35. 16 Place Voltaire, Arles. Tel.: 09 82 27 28 33.
  • La Chassagnette – Locavore and unbeatable, this farmhouse in the heart of the Camargue promises a culinary journey. Menu in 6 notes: 121€ to 143€. Route du Sambuc, Arles. Tel.: 04 90 97 26 96.

Luxury Accommodations


The Baumanière Priory – A former monastery transformed into a luxury hotel, ideal for recharging your batteries. Double room from €283 with breakfast. 7 place du Chapter, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. Tel.: 04 90 15 90 15.


The particular hotel – A 19th century house of timeless elegance with swimming pool, spa and hammam. Double room from €409. 4 rue de la Monnaie, Arles. Tel.: 04 90 52 51 40.

Match Result

The festivals and incredible heritage of these two cities make the choice difficult. If Avignon has the charm of live theater, Arles offers depth with its artistic atmosphere and its Provençal traditions. Why not enjoy both, with the cities being so close together? With such a range of things to see and do, your festive weekend in Provence will be unforgettable.

In images, in pictures : Arles, photo report from Figaro Magazine (2021)

Written by: Aurélien Dubois