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Quiet Canal & Walking Path Minutes from Avignon

Walk, run or bike along this hidden gem in Villeneuve

featured in Activity reviews Author Holly Millar, Provence Reporter Updated

Looking for a quiet walk and a bit of nature? Taking in sights, shopping and eating gelato in a busy city can be exhausting, even when it’s as charming as Avignon. Just minutes outside of the city walls, there is a beautiful canal and walking path that will make you feel miles away from the tourist filled plazas and gelaterias.

Of course there is nothing wrong with gelato, but sometimes it’s good to get away from the churches and old stuff to experience a bit of nature. Especially when it’s so close by!

The Promenade du Canal starts right beside the Tour Philippe le Bel in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. At the entrance, there is a nice garden in front of the parking lot where the path and canal start. It is very easy to spot and access.

When visiting Avignon, this is one of my absolute favourite places to go to. Calm and relaxing, I love to get a quick break from the city and spend time among the trees, wild flowers and birds – always a very rejuvenating experience! The path is perfect for a nice run, but also welcomes walkers and bikers alike. When the wind blows, you can smell lavender, rosemary and flowers – the essence of Provence!

In total, the loop around the canal is roughly 6km. The path is flat, well maintained and made of nice gravel so the difficulty level is about zero. Halfway along the path, there is a bridge that crosses to the other side of the canal if you aren’t up for going the full distance. If you want more of a shady walk, the path on the left bank of the canal has a lot more tress and is very nicely shaded from the sun.

When you start your walk, you can follow the path along the canal or walk onto the dyke to walk along the riverbank of the Rhône. This is a little rockier as it is a service road, but it follows the same route as the canal’s path and they join up at the end. There are always fewer people on this path, so if you REALLY feel like escaping the crowds, I suggest taking this route at least one way.

Many different species of birds hang out in the canal, and beavers even make their home here, hence the name Chemin des Castors given to the other side of the path. At certain times of the year, you will find fisherman along the canal or by the river with their fishing rods out, hoping to catch something.

Walking, running and biking are all popular activities on this route. You will see people of all ages out walking their dogs or enjoying time with friends or family. Sometimes walking or running groups use the path, but the atmosphere is always peaceful and friendly, and never busy. It never feels as though a big city is minutes away.

Keep your eyes peeled during your walk, as there are several sights along the way. At the halfway point by the bridge, you can see Fort Saint André towering above the farm fields in front of you. Right around this area, there is also a large stone sculpture that was carved on site by artist Pascal François. Along the way, you can also catch glimpses of the Palais des Papes in the distance and the glimmering golden statue of the Virgin of the Cathédrale des Doms. And of course, the Tour Philippe le Bel marks the start and end of your walk.

To access the walk from Avignon, cross the Pont Daladier, past L'île de la Barthelasse and follow signs for Villeneuve. It is a nice walk over the bridges, but if you want to save your energy, it is about a five-minute drive and there is lots of free parking available at the starting point. Taking the bus is also very straightforward and should only take about 5-10 minutes on the #5 bus, direction Villeneuve (get off at the Tour Philippe le Bel stop).

If you plan to do the walk, aim to start early in the morning or in the evening to avoid the heat of the day. One side of the path is in the shade, but most of the path is exposed and getting too much sun is the last thing you want. Sunscreen is always a good choice, especially now that it’s June and the sun incredibly hot even in the early morning.

For those walking in the evening, it is always sensible to wear insect repellant or be prepared to fight a few mosquitoes. While walking along the canal is incredibly beautiful and calming, the presence of still water means lots of mosquitoes (which can be pretty brutal in Avignon during the summer, not just by the canal).

Hungry after? There is a restaurant at the start/finish located just across the road from Tour Philippe le Bel called ‘Le Potager de la Tour’. The restaurant has a nice terrace and specializes wood fired pizzas.


Map of the surrounding area