Avignon is a must see on almost every tourist’s Provence travel agenda. Whether you are a practicing Catholic or not it is impossible to ignore the fact that the seat of influence for this religion was based in Avignon for almost 100 years. Pope Clement V arrived from Lyon, without the intention of remaining he stayed and eight others followed.
During that time span, the Palais des Papes was built in a twenty-year construction blitz that started in 1335. It would be hard to argue that this immense project built on a rock outcrop was not defensive in nature with walls 18-feet thick. It is still the largest Gothic era palace in Europe and was designated a World Heritage for Humanity site by UNESCO, in 1995.
After visiting the Popes Palace and nearby Pont d’Avignon several times, Nutmeg’s interest was not in reviewing these historical monuments. With 12,000 people who live “intra-muros,” inside the 5-kilometres of ramparts, then there had to be a foodie side in Avignon. Nutmeg’s search over when she discovered Avignon Gourmet Tours through her friend Julie at Provence Post.
Aurelie Gilabert’s hometown is Avignon. She studied tourism in school and then worked in energetic Dublin, Ireland until recently. Upon returning to Avignon multilingual Aurelie, is determined to crack open the shutters and provide her tour guests a view of the deep-seated food scene in this Provencal town.
Aurelie launched her company Avignon Gourmet Tours in early 2014. She provides a three-hour guided walking tour of the old city that has little to do with the famous sites and everything to do with uncovering interesting facts about life in the ancient centre. The tour is decidedly food oriented and laced with snippets of local history. Your morning walk starts with a sublime buttery croissant and ends with a perfectly balanced glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Before the tour Nutmeg explained that she did not want a “tourist food tour,” but rather she wanted to really understand more about the culinary traditions in the city. Avignon Gourmet Tour delivered, from an artisanal chocolate tasting to the sensuous smell of roasting coffee beans to a shocking pink candy called a Papaline with a surprising interior. Nutmeg was very happy her breakfast had been light that morning.
Book a tour here, you won’t leave hungry and you will definitely learn about Avignon’s less promoted gourmet side.