At the crossroads of two regions and three departments, Avignon has all the assets of a tourist metropolis that is easily accessible thanks to the Mediterranean TGV. Its university continues to attract a growing number of students and its population is increasing, with nearly 100,000 inhabitants in a conurbation that has 200,000.
The city devotes more than 10 % of its total budget to culture, a factor of growth and value creation, with a percentage of jobs linked to cultural professions in the Avignon area proportionally higher than in Paris.
Avignon's cultural identity shines throughout the world thanks to its festival, but live entertainment is present throughout the year thanks to numerous permanent companies. Capital of the Christian world in the Middle Ages, Avignon has preserved an outstanding heritage: the Palais des Papes, the internationally renowned bridge, the ramparts classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city also has several museums with a wide range of collections, from medieval to contemporary art. This intense cultural life earned Avignon the title of European City of Culture in 2000.
The improvement of the living environment of the inhabitants also involves a strong desire for preservation, notably with the design of an environmental charter signed with the State. The creation of residential housing areas, the reclamation of the inner city with the Protected Area, which preserves the heritage, as well as renovation projects in the neighbourhoods, are strong points of the municipal policy.
Avignon has become economically attractive with the creation of a fruit and vegetable competitiveness cluster, but also thanks to the installation of high added value companies. All these reasons make Avignon an increasingly attractive and sought-after city.
A new start for development
Avignon is at the centre of a dynamic that combines a dense economic fabric with sustained growth. The TGV brings the city to within 2 hours and 35 minutes of Paris, which further accentuates the rise of this economy.
In addition to its dynamic business policy, Avignon has unique assets: its quality of life, its university, its architectural heritage, as well as an intense cultural life and an exceptional climate. The city has been able to define strategies that have proven their worth, notably in the Agroparc area, or that have been designed to ensure development around the TGV station that will benefit the entire agglomeration.
Today, the vocation of Avignon, while naturally assuming all the challenges of modernity, is also to preserve its specificities and its quality of life.
Culture and tourism
The 14th century Palais des Papes and the 12th century Pont Saint Bénezet are classified as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Today, Avignon is a real tourist and cultural crossroads. In 2000, it was elected European City of Culture. It is also famous for its theatre festival, which in July hosts more than 1,200 daily shows and 600,000 spectators, both on and off stage.
The museums and their prestigious exhibitions covering the period from prehistory to contemporary art, with the Yvon Lambert collection, meet the demand of visitors.
Avignon is also the capital of the Côtes du Rhône and of Provençal gastronomy, with renowned chefs offering local specialities.
At the crossroads of the Rhône-Saône axis, river tourism offers beautiful pleasure cruises in various regions of France and river connections in the very heart of Provence and the Camargue. Avignon, gateway to Provence, is also a prestigious cruise between the two capitals of Christianity: the "Cruise of the Popes, Avignon-Rome".
At the crossroads of the North-South and East-West communication axes with the Mediterranean TGV, Avignon also hosts numerous events at the International Convention Centre, in the heart of the Palais des Papes (conventions for 20 to 560 people), as well as at the 50,000 m² exhibition centre.