For four weeks every July, Avignon becomes the European center of theater for renowned Festival d’Avignon. This year, from July 4 – 27, the city will be bursting at the seams with artistic energy. Just a 20-minute TGV train ride from Aix, Avignon offers an amazing opportunity for AUCP students to participate in the French cultural scene and to enjoy some of Europe’s finest theater.
Founded in 1947 by French actor and director Jean Vilar, the Festival d’Avignon is one of the biggest performing arts festivals in the world. Set in the heart of the Palais des Papes (dating back to the 14th century when Avignon was home to the Papacy) in its mythical Cour d’Honneur, the festival proposes theater, dance, music and fine arts, as well as workshops, debates and discussions all around the city.
Le « in » and le « off »
Since the early 1960’s a fringe theater festival (called le Off) has thrived alongside the official program (now known as le In). Think On and Off Broadway – French style! Every year, amateur actors, dancers, singers, directors, musicians, and writers from all over France converge in Avignon to set up shop in the most improbable of venues. For four weeks garages, roof-tops, the city’s squares and the streets themselves become the stage of artistic expression – some more successful than others – but all enthusiastic and good-natured.
The AUCP encourages its summer students to hop on the TGV to Avignon and participate in both le In and le Off. The large majority of theater performances offer student discounts and trains start at just 20€ round-trip! For students on a tighter budget, the bus networks and carpooling (covoiturage) is a sure bet for inexpensive trips.