We found laid-back Villeneuve a much more appealing place to begin our driving holiday than Avignon proper. A lovely, low-rise and relatively tourist-free medieval town, with a vibrant local life and possibly the most relaxing little central square in the area, with a couple of nice looking restaurants and an excellent morning patisserie.
The La Suite is a pretty little hotel – boutique without being self-conscious – and run by a friendly, very helpful couple with eclectic, fun taste in interior design.
The room was a pleasure – fun, but tasteful décor (a difficult balance to achieve) and lovely bathroom. Avignon itself is glorious, but, with its narrow medieval streets flanked by tall, silent buildings, it can feel a bit gloomy. Villeneuve by contrast is a sunny, homely old town, with a pleasant workaday feel and some lovely courtyard monasteries, gardens, and its own castle, all a 45 minute walk (or five minute drive) from the Palais des Papes.
If you plan to stay in Avignon (and ideally have your own transport), this is absolutely the best place. It’s also a great base, with easy in-and-out access, for exporing the wine areas of Chateauneuf, the magical Dentelles, Tarascon, the antiques of l’Isle sur Sorgue, and the multitude of sights in the vicinity.
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