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Take advantage of your time in port to experience beautiful Avignon on this half-day private shore excursion from Marseille. Learn the history of this exquisite medieval city, adorned with the luxurious accents of papal funding from the 14th century. Visit Avignon’s key attractions such as the UNESCO-listed historic center, the Pont Saint-Bénézet and Notre Dame des Doms Cathedral. End with an independent tour of the town and the fabulous Popes’ Palace (own expense).


  • Private shore excursion from Marseille to Avignon
  • Travel away from the Mediterranean through the beautiful Provencal countryside
  • Take a guided walking tour of Avignon's UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic center
  • Discover why Avignon is known as the City of Popes
  • Visit the Pont Saint-Bénezet, Cathedral Notre-Dame des Doms and the Popes’ Palace
  • Covered by Viator's worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship

What You Can Expect

Marseille Shore Excursion: Private Tour of Avignon

See the Palace of the Popes on your private tour of Avignon

Discover the ancient yet vibrant town of Avignon with an historic 5-hour private tour of the city’s main attractions. A friendly guide will greet you at the cruise terminal in Marseille. Board the coach for an hour-long drive through the picturesque Provençal countryside, coated in rolling hills of lavender and vineyards.

Though Avignon’s name dates back to the sixth century BC – and its inhabited history even longer! – the city is most widely known as the seat of papacy in the 14th and 15th centuries. Escaping turmoil in Rome, Pope Clement V took up residence in Avignon and incited a flood of money to adorn the ‘City of Popes’ in suitable opulence.

Your walking tour starts with a visit to the Avignon’s UNESCO-listed historic center. Visit the fabled Pont Saint-Bénézet, a lovely bridge built more than 900 years ago, and the restored Notre-Dame des Doms Cathedral. As you take in the town’s medieval fortifications, enjoy colorful tales and anecdotes from your knowledgable guide.    

From there, enjoy some free time to wander the lively town. Stroll through the Rocher des Doms, a lovely English-style garden that perches over the Rhone River, and the many picturesque public squares. If you choose, tour the interior of the Popes’ Palace (own expense), the world’s largest Gothic palace and a UNESCO-listed site. See the 25 rooms open to the public, including fresco-adorned chapels, the papal apartments and grand ceremonial rooms. 

Following your 3-hour stint through Avignon, relax for the short ride back to your cruise terminal in Marseille. Your shore excursion ends in mid-afternoon or evening depending on departure time.  

Worry-free Shore Excursion:We will ensure your timely return to the Marseille port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.

Customer Reviews

Samuel R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

This was a great tour and was tailored to meet our interests. The guide was flexible and interesting. We would recommend this tour. She was punctual at the port and got us back on time.

Dina F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

Marie-Laure was a great guide, very informative, kind, and patient as we had a slow/disabled walker with us. She went to the extra trouble of bringing us into a bookstore when one of our party was writing down a lot of information on a particular topic she pointed out a book on that topic for him which he ended up buying. Avignon was a very charming town to visit.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2014

Emmanual did a fantastic job. Lots of history was given and he was very good with the whole family. He also took great photos for us!

Bruce Z

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2014

An excellent experience with a first class guide/art historian. We were able to avoid the lines and see the city and some of the important works such as " David"


4 star rating: Recommended August 2016

We had a whole van to ourselves and our driver guide was very informative. Definitely worth doing if you want to see a real medieval city.

Lauren C

4 star rating: Recommended June 2015

The city is beautiful and lots of charm as you walk around. Somewhat disappointing that papal residence is basically empty - so nothing really worth seeing inside. The guide was good - and told us a great deal about the region and French history.

JEAN A Australia

4 star rating: Recommended October 2014

It was great being in a small group - 4 people. Our guide was excellent - good mix of guide and information and free time.

Joseph T

1 star rating: I do not recommend this June 2014

Our tour guide, Jean-Francois, was phenomenal. He was personable and attended every aspect of the tour and offered great explanations of sites.

However, due to a discrepancy between Viator's listed duration and the actual duration of the tour, we lost an entire hour in Avignon, reducing the total time from 5 to 4. While this may not sound like much, it takes a little over an hour to get to Avignon from Marseilles which means you lose two and a half hours just in driving leaving only 2.5 in town. Because of the time discrepancy, this was reduced to 1.5 hours, which amounts to a loss of 40% of quality time.

I purchased Palace of the Popes tickets with audioguides beforehand (as suggested in the tour description) which was totally spoiled by running through as quickly as possible to make it back for an earlier return than expected. For such an expensive tour I expected the advertised time to be more accurate, and felt my money was better spent doing another tour.

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