Avignon might be famous for a bridge that is only half there, and as being the former papal seat. The historic city itself, as with many other European historic cities, is naturally very compact and walkable.
In terms of travelling beyond Avignon, then it really depends on how you got here in the first place, and where else you would be most interested in seeing.
For starters, Avignon does have its own small International airport, but it’s generally only used by regional jets and turboprops, with larger aircraft tending to use the relatively nearby Marseille Provence International airport (MRS). Other alternative arrival points in the area include Nimes (FNI) to the west, and then to the south-east Toulon (TLN) and even the French Riviera city of Nice (NCE), which has inbound flights from most major cities in Europe.
The most popular way to reach Avignon from elsewhere in France is to use the city’s ultramodern TGV station, which is situated on the outskirts of Avignon. Avignon TGV also has direct rail services from London, and connections (especially via Paris or Lille) from numerous other cities in northern Europe,
Whether you arrive by plane or by train, easy bus or taxi transfers are available into the centre of Avignon itself.
So on balance, just because Avignon has a TGV station doesn’t mean this is a part of the world where trains are going to be all that useful for getting around. Any of the more local services use a separate station closer to the city centre, but the two locations are only linked by bus, not by interconnecting trains.
Do you need a car in Avignon? For all of these reasons, our Avignon car hire advice is that this is very much a place where a hire car is going to be extremely useful, and where getting around without one is going to require a lot of planning and organisation, unless you really do just want to stick to the city itself, in which case a car will just be a hindrance.
Verdict – yes.