Festival d’Avignon 2019: tickets, prices, opening hours

Festival d'Avignon

How about a trip to the Avignon Festival this summer? Here’s our mini-guide to the 73rd Festival d’Avignon 2019, from July 4 to 23, 2019!

The world’s biggest theater and performing arts event in terms of the number of performances and spectators who flock to it, the Festival d’Avignon is, as it is every year, a not-to-be-missed event. If you’re visiting Avignon and Provence in July this year, it would be a shame to miss this event, considered to be the oldest and most famous performing arts festival in France.

Since 1947 – 73 years of history – the city of Avignon has put theater and street art in the spotlight, making available to the public and artists the Cour d’Honneur of the Popes’ Palace and more than 30 venues and buildings on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, as well as gymnasiums, cloisters, chapels, gardens, quarries and churches.

This year’s Festival d’Avignon 2019 will be held over 20 days, one day longer than in 2018, reflecting its growing success: on the program are 43 shows, including 33 premieres. Would you like to attend the Festival d’Avignon 2019? Read our article to find out what’s on and book your ticket!

Festival history

The Festival d’Avignon adventure began in 1947, following a meeting between Jean Vilar (1912-1971) – actor and director – and René Char (1907-1988) – poet – who, with Christian Zervos (1889-1970), was organizing an exhibition of contemporary painting and sculpture at the Palais des Papes in Avignon.

Following this, J. Vilar proposed to present three plays: Richard II (Shakespeare), Tobie et Sara (P. Claudel) and La Terrasse de midi (M. Clavel). The aim was to popularize theater, making it accessible to all, not just a small Parisian elite. Thus was born the « Semaine d’art en Avignon » in September. In just a few years, the festival became the symbol of a renaissance in French theater. The Théâtre National Populaire (TNP) was founded on July 17, 1951.

Until 1963, the Avignon open-air theater festival, directed by Jean Vilar, embodied popular theater, largely influenced by the cultural activism inherited from the post-war spirit. Avignon’s population continues to swell in summer, while the main courtyard of the Palais des Papes becomes the festival’s legendary venue.

In the 1960s, the festival opened up to dance (1966), film (1967) and musical theater. Gradually, the idea of setting up another festival within the festival emerged, in parallel with Jean Vilar’s programming. This led to the creation of the « off », a grouping of local and national troupes who flocked to Avignon without necessarily having been invited. Since then, the Festival d’Avignon – which is different every year – has issued between 110,000 and 120,000 tickets for paying shows, and attracted some 50,000 spectators to free performances.

Programming 2019

Where? Avignon – Provence

When? July 4 to 23, 2019

How much does it cost? From 9 euros (see price list here)

How do I reserve a ticket? On sale on the official festival website or on the Fnac website

The 73rd edition of the Festival d’Avignon 2019 will be held from Thursday, July 4 to July 23, 2019, with the Off running from July 5 to July 28. The theme will be based on the Odyssey, in reference to Homer and migrants from all over the world. The program is available on the official Festival d’Avignon 2019 website.

This year’s line-up includes artists and directors Pascal Rambert, Olivier Py (director of the Festival d’Avignon), Macha Makaïeff, Julie Duclos and François Gremaud. To give you an idea, here are just a dozen of the plays, which you can consult on the festival’s pre-programme:

  • Architecture, by Pascal Rambert (July 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13)
  • Devotion, by Clément Bondu (July 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  • Oskara, by Kukai Dantza (July 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11)
  • Le présent qui déborde – Notre Odyssée II, by Christiane Jatahy (July 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12)
  • Pelléas et Mélisande, by Julie Duclos (July 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10)
  • £¥€$, by Ontroerend Goed (July 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14)
  • Amitié, by Irène Bonnaud (daily)
  • L’amour vainqueur, by Olivier Py (July 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12 and 13)
  • Points de non-retour (Quais de Seine), by Alexandra Balea (July 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12)
  • Blanche-Neige, histoire d’un prince, by Michel Raskine (July 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12)

There are of course many other shows, as well as exhibitions, concerts and the entire Off Festival. Visit the official Festival d’Avignon website for the full program.

Festival d’Avignon rates

Avignon

We strongly advise you to book your tickets for the Festival d’Avignon 2019 in advance. You can book :

  • Online: From June 11, 2019 at 7 p.m.
  • By telephone (04 90 14 14 14):

    Pre-sales: From June 11 to July 5, 2018

    Sales: From July 6 every day from 10am to 7pm
  • At the Cloître Saint-Louis ticket office (20, rue du Portail Boquier):

    Pre-sales: Saturday June 8 from 1pm to 6pm – 10,000 tickets on sale at the box office only.

    Sales: From June 11 to July 5 or from July 6, every day
  • At the Festival boutique: Place de l’Horloge, from July 6
  • At Fnac: At the counter, by telephone and on the Fnac website,

    Pre-sales: Saturday June 8 for Fnac Avignon-Centre and Le Pontet.

    Sales : Tuesday June 11th from 10am for Fnac France, Switzerland and Belgium.

Prices for the Festival d’Avignon 2019 range from €9 to €40, depending on the show chosen, whether or not it’s at a reduced rate, etc.

How to get to the Avignon Festival

In order to arrive on time for the shows, it is advisable to leave earlier as delays may occur due to the high number of people at this time of year. Please note that throughout the Festival d’Avignon 2019 and the Off, from July 4 to July 28, 2019,car access to downtown Avignon will be prohibited (from 12 am to 2 am in 2018). Detailed maps of the city’s districts enable you to locate Avignon’s streets and public places, which is particularly useful for knowing where to park, and how to get to the venues.

Doors open 30 minutes before the start of each performance. Please note that seating is no longer guaranteed from 5 minutes before the start of the show.

To get to Avignon from Paris or any other major city in northern France, you can choose tofly, with Marseille Provence airport located 88 kilometers south of Avignon and serving numerous national and international flights. Then take the A7 (exit at Avignon-Nord or Avignon-Sud). Alternatively, you can travel by train on the TER network (allow between 50 minutes and 1h30 depending on the journey) or by bus (journey time 1h15 with Ouibus or Flixbus).

Where to stay during the Festival d’Avignon?

Avignon

Coming to the Festival d’Avignon 2019? Since this is a unique event in France, countless owners and hoteliers are working hard to welcome festival-goers. When it comes to accommodation, the city’s hotels and apartments are bound to be overcrowded, and rates are bound to soar. This hotel comparator should nevertheless help you find a good hotel at the best price.

Look at homestays ( Airbnb style), campsites around Avignon (check proximity to public transport), B&Bs in Avignon and around the city (Les Angles, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, Le Pontet, Monfavet, Rognonas, Barbentane, Sorgues, Entraigues-sur-la-Sorgue, etc). To help you, read our article « Where to stay in Avignon « .