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Palace of the Popes in Avignon
Avignon and surrounding
Architecture,  Castles, Fortresses, Towers,  Pilgrimage
Castles, Fortresses, Towers, 

The beautiful Provencal city of Avignon became world-famous as a city of churches and bells and as the world’s second residence of popes. It is definitely worth a visit while traveling in the south of France! Stop by to see the medieval Saint-Benezet bridge and, of course, the magnificent Palace of the Popes, which is the landmark of the city and one of the most visited sights in France, protected by UNESCO.

In 1309, Pope Clement V, a Frenchman, fled from noisy and restless Rome, where conflicts between the Italian aristocratic clans were constant, to Avignon, which then belonged to the Counts of Provence. The popes liked the quiet and cozy city so much that they bought it out and settled there for 67 years. This period was recorded in history as the “Avignon Papacy,” or “Babylonian Captivity.”

The first popes in Avignon lived in a modest cell at the local Dominican monastery, but after the inauguration of the third Avignon Pope Benedict XII, the grand-scale construction of a new papal residence began. They decided to settle on the site of the old episcopal palace on the northern outskirts of the city overlooking the Rhone.

A huge palace, 15 thousand square meters large, was built not only for life but also for the protection and storage of many Christian shrines, so the monumental building looks more like a fortress and will surely amaze you with its scale. It is a mighty and somewhat gloomy structure with thick walls and twelve watchtowers, designed to make the popes feel safe. The architectural style is dominated by the Gothic but combines elements of various other medieval styles.

The interior of the palace was richly decorated with frescoes, sculptures, tapestries, expensive furniture. However, during the wars and revolutions, the building’s interior was significantly damaged, but part of the original decoration was successfully preserved.

In 1906, the French authorities restored the castle and opened it to the public. The entrance fee is € 12. The palace is located on a pedestrian street, so you cannot come here by public transport or car. There is a beautiful park nearby, Avignon Cathedral, and several theaters.

Address: Place du Palais

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Diane Mikheeva

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