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Pope’s Palace

In the 15th century, with the arrival of the popes, Avignon became the capital of Christianity, supplanting Rome for nearly a hundred years. To the South of the Cathedral, the Popes built an enormous fortress considered at the time as one of the most beautiful and strongest fortresses in the world.

In the 15th century, with the arrival of the popes, Avignon became the capital of Christianity, supplanting Rome for nearly a hundred years. To the South of the Cathedral, the Popes built an enormous fortress considered at the time as one of the most beautiful and strongest fortresses in the world. The first pope, Benoit XII (1334-1342) built an austere palace around the cloisters yard. It is impressive and now called the Palais Vieux (old palace).

Clement VI (1342-1352), an ostentatious pope enlarged his predecessor’s palace building two immense, richly decorated wings, which made up the Palais Neuf. Looking up from the Palace square on can see the two different style that characterize the monument. The Palais Vieux, stepped back, has powerful walls pierced by tiny openings, while the facade of the Palais Neuf, stepped forward has beautiful windows and a sculptural stone doorway dominated by two elegant pinnacle turrets.

In 1336, Gregory XI took the papacy back to Rome, but two further popes reigned at Avignon, continuing the Schism in the west up to the start of the 16th century. Unfortunately, it is not allowed to take pictures inside the Palace. The main courtyard owes its celebrity to the famous John Vilar theatre has been the main site of the Avignon’s International Festival since 1947 (in July every year).

How to get there: Avignon is very well connected by train. The Mediterranean line stops in Avignon, which is now less than 3 hours from Paris.

Official tourism website:

http://www.avignon-tourisme.com/index-en.htm

written by azurblue

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