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Regional Bus Station - Gare Routier
Gare Routier location:
corner of Boulevard Saint Roche and Avenue Monclar which is 170 metres east of the Porte de la Republique in the southern wall of the old city. (turn left as you pass thru' the port away from the old city)
approx Latitude : Longitude of the Gare - 43º56'33.00"N : 04º48'26.40"E
By the way, in France "bus" = "autocar" or "cars"
Regional Bus Travel around Avignon is so inexpensive that it would be foolish not to consider using it to widen your travels from what ever city you choose in the region as a base.
Read other posters in this Transport section (such as CatherineReichardt's) and you will find graphic descriptions of the bus terminal in Avignon. It is severely grotty.
Here is my suggestion: If you know what time your bus departs you can seek a better place to wait by climbing the stairs to the right of the Ibis Hotel which bridges Ave Monclar just outside the north western entry point to the bus station (closest to Porte de la Republique). The stairs will take you to the SNCF Railway Station which has a bar-restaurant and most importantly CLEAN TOILETS. see 2nd photo for the stairs
By the way, there are escalators leading to the upper level but they looked like they had not functioned for years and were covered in rubbish..definitely a health hazard!
Entertainment while waiting for the bus when you eventually enter the cavernous terminal building - watching drivers parking buses at the Quays with only an inch or two to spare either side of the vehicle. The building was obviously designed without regard for future increases in the size of autocars.
- Budget Travel
Le Petit Train d'Avignon
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 beautiful navette (local bus) station
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.
The not very beautiful 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!
Getting to Avignon affordably by air
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.
Buses, Trains, Cars
Avignon, within the walls is really small, it takes less than 10 minutes to walk from the central station (Porte de la Republique to the palais des papes. Just walk straight on from Porte de la Republique into Cours Jean-Jaurès (street) which becomes Rue de la République (street), you arrive into a big square full of coffee shops & restaurants "place de l'Horloge", walk straight through the square into a short narrow street & voila le palais de pape.
The major bus stops in central Avignon are A) in front of the main post office (poste), B) place Pie. During the Avignon Festival, there is a special late-running service and reduced price tickets for public transport throughout the festival (the Bustivale pass) offering 30% reduction on standard prices.
Tickets can pre-purchased or bought on the bus. Tickets are also available for purchase at tabacs, newsagents and shops displaying the TCRA logo.
There are two train stations the central just opposite Porte de la Republique, and a walking distance from anywhere within the walls of the old town. The other station is the TGV, regular bus service to and from the bus terminus near the Porte de la Republique (infront of the post office).
Cars can park for free outside the wall, sometimes its impossible to find a place.
The best parking option is the free, guarded lot on the Île de Piot, between Avignon and Villeneuve; a free shuttle runs from the parking lot and Porte de l'Oulle, just down from the bridge.
There is no public transport to and from the airport, Car-hire or a taxi are the only two options.
Getting There and Getting Around
By Air : Avignon airport is around 8 km southeast of the centre, at the Exposition Centre along the main N7 highway. There are taxi's into the city but last I heard, no bus or shuttle into to town.
By Train: The city is on the main Paris-Lyon-Nice-Italy line and is an easy 31/2-hour train ride from Paris on the TGV, France's high-speed train. There are also lots of train connections from other French cities.
The train station is beside porte de la Republique on bd St-Roch, on the southern edge of the centre. If you don't want to walk, you can also take bus #4 from the main post office, on the left through porte de la Republique.
Boat Tours : A boat is a nice way to travel between Avignon and Villeneuve and will also include a 1-1/4 hour excursion on the Rhone. These run around 6 times a day, but only during the months of July and August.
Bicycle Renting: Bikes can often be rented from the SNCF (railway stations), but the cost is reasonably high and the quality of bikes can be a bit poor. You can also find out more about bike hire from the Office de Tourisme . Many of these bike shops have scooters, small motorcycles as well as bicycles for rent.
- Road Trip
From the UK, the best way is...
From the UK, the best way is to drive to the channel, get a ferry or tunnel to Calais, and then get the Motorail to Avignon. This way you get nearly a full extra day either end of your holiday.
Walking is the only way to get around Avignon. You need a car or a bike though to go much further afield, and you will want to go further afield.
Either by train from Paris or...
Either by train from Paris or Marselles. We rented a car in M and drove.
WALK, What else, it's not that big and driving a car like we do here in the U.S. would be insane. You walk or take Public Trans.
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Avignon Travel Guide
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