Riverside terraces, rooftop patios and a front row seat to the Rhône Valley wine region; if one thing is for certain on your visit to Avignon, it’s that you’ll never go thirsty.
There’s no better place to sip on bold reds from the Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards or a crisp and perfectly-pink glass of rosé from the Côtes du Ventoux than in the town that anchors these world-class appellations. If wine isn’t your thing, the locals’ penchant for craft beers has made way for innovative pubs and non-alcoholic options span beyond sparkling water with lime. Here’s where Culture Trip suggests you stop by for your libation of choice in Avignon.
Situated on the main floor of a charming guesthouse of the same name, don’t let this sophisticated wine bar fly under your radar. Settle into the elegant library salon – which is awash in hues of tan and steely blues – with a glass from its well-appointed, yet unpretentious, list of French wines. Add to this a sharing plate of cheese, meats and veggies, and you have the perfect spot for your apéritif.
Stationed on l’Île de Piot, catch the view outside Avignon’s city walls aboard this stationed barge-turned-wine-bar. If the sun is shining (and here in Provence, it likely will be), grab a seat on the outdoor terrace and watch the river trickle by. Alternatively, you can perch yourself in a cosy armchair inside on chillier evenings. A simple but elegant snack menu features classic wine-pairing treats like oysters and escargots (snails).
This corner of France may be best known for its wine, but a bar like L’Explo is changing the game with a delicious array of local, organic and craft beers. While people are mostly drawn here to sample what’s new on tap, the large outdoor patio along the Sorgue River certainly adds to its appeal. For non-drinkers, a selection of artisan juices and cordials offer a tasty and more exciting alternative to sipping on pop or water.
Part wine cave, part wine bar, L’Ampelos is the top destination in Avignon for natural wines. Sip biodynamic varietals under the expert guidance of the owners Laure and Thibault in a minimalistic room with bottles lining the shelves. The best part? If you like what you taste, you can buy a bottle directly from the shop to take home rather than racking your brain over what it was called later on. Stunning boards of cured meats, cheese and tapenades are sure to keep you satiated during your visit.
With 13 brews on tap and a selection of over 100 bottles, this beer hall-style bar lives up to its name. The self-serve concept allows you to purchase a prepaid card and pour pints of your choosing, as well as sample each type before you make your decision. An all-wood interior with metal stools gives the place a rustic flair and there are two large TV screens that typically play football matches and other sporting events.
Beer lovers should flock to The Gambrinus, a relaxed spot for craft tap brews and over 100 bottled choices, too. With your pint in hand, shoot a round of billiards or kick back and nibble on charcuterie boards and cheese plates. If you’re partial to spirits, there’s also a great selection of Scottish whiskey, Cuban rum and perfectly concocted cocktails.
The rooftops of Avignon from Le Toit de l'Europe | Courtesy of Hotels.com
Experience Avignon’s elegant five-star Hôtel d’Europe even if you’re not spending the night. Every Friday and Saturday, beginning at 8pm, the hotel’s rooftop transforms into a lively late-night scene where guest DJs spin to a cocktail-armed crowd while the sun sets over the terracotta rooftops of the walled city in the background.
Intimate and inviting, Marion Nous feels like a visit to a close friend’s home: there are wooden shelves brimming with books, people playing chess at candlelit tables and a comfy leather couch at the centre of it all. The drink focus here is strictly on French wine, with a good selection of reds, whites and rosés hailing from across the country. Pair your vino with one of three tapas plates, all of which include thoughtfully curated bites like a butternut and coconut milk velouté and a cod, mango and fennel salad.
Many international jazz artists have taken the stage at AJMI (Association for Jazz and Improvised Music) in Avignon, which has been dubbed one of the top three jazz clubs in all of France. From its prime location next to the Palais des Papes, AJMI hosts at least one musical performance a week (and more during the busy summer months) in a classic, moody jazz club setting that sees a dimly lit room with round bistro tables and theatre-style seating. Check the schedule on their website for the next show.
This rock and roll dive bar hosts live music shows and DJ sets on the weekends and is loved by locals for its in-house distilled rum, relaxed atmosphere and a playlist that’s always on point. You can’t miss its eclectic, street art exterior with black-and-white spray-painted images; a motif that extends to the zebra-stripe-inspired interior.