The glorious rose festival called Alterarosa happens in Avignon every two years...and it starts Thursday. It's an extremely popular spring event for families, with a huge rose garden blooming in the majestic cloister of the Palais des Papes plus lots of new events around town including a "pink tour" pedestrian circuit with a contemporary art exhibit at the Église des Célestins (map above). Everyone is invited to a "Pinknique Picnic" at the Rocher des Doms on Sunday at 12:30, with a concert for 100 voices at 1 pm. (Bring your own picnic or buy the pre-packaged ones at the Les Halles market; only drinks will be sold on site...and yes, they'll have rosé!). Shops all over town will be selling rose-themed products.
This is a great opportunity to meet top French rose breeders as they'll be presenting their latest creations at the Palais des Papes (make sure to vote for the People's Choice!). The French Rose Society will be leading seminars and there will be classes and workshops for all ages. There are special garden tours (see below) and a special Rhône river cruise.
This year, a guided exhibit and garden tour will be offered in English as well as French. The tour includes the gardens atop the Rocher des Doms (where Avignon was first settled), the recently restored Church of Notre Dame des Doms and its private gardens (except on the Thursday tour) and the elegant garden of the five-star Hotel La Mirande, once the home of a 14th-century Cardinal. This tour is available in English on Thursday May 5 at 2:30 pm (cathedral gardens not included on this day), on Friday May 6 at 2:30 pm and on Saturday May 7 at 10 am. More info and ticketing is on the Avignon Tourist Office website here.
For the Alterarosa website, click here or find them on Facebook here. Tickets for Alterarosa at the Palais des Papes are 5.50€ for Avignon residents and kids (age 8-17) and 9€ for adults. Kids under 8 are free. Tickets can be bought online, at the Tourist Office (41 Cours Jean Jaurès) or at the Palais des Papes.
For help in English, you can also call the Avignon Tourist Office at 04 32 74 32 74 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.