Palais des Papes, Avignon
Favorite thing: This huge plaza in front of the Palais is usually teeming with people. It is a great place for lunch or a drink or snack and listen to music from various street entertainers. When we were there we heard a good musical group from the Andes (I don't know how they ended up here). The plaza was also used for huge crowds whenever they consecrated a new pope. I read one account that told how many thousands of cattle, pigs, chickens, potatos, etc. were required for the banquet. It was a staggering amount. Sit and recall the historic events that this beautiful place has hosted.
Time is the artist here.
I remember first walking in the city and time seemed to stop. A musician at the feet of the Palais des Papes played an old song that resonate within the tall walls. I remember the yellow sunlight on the walls surrounding the city as I slowly walk the streets. The mill slowly turning in the water in the poet street. And the general feeling of peacefulness...
Back in 1309 it was decided that the Pope would not live in Rome, as had been the case, but would relocate to Avignon in the south of what became France. This walled papal territory - which included the region of Chateauneuf-des-papes, now famed for it's delicious wine - remained independent of the French Kings until the Revolution, when finally Napoleon Bonaparte marched in. The popes lived in the Palais des Papes until 1377, when there arose the Great Schism, and the Catholic Church was divided. From this time onwards there were two Popes, one in Rome, one here, until 1417.
You can explore the massive Palace, or just look around the ramparts, and take in a bite to eat and some music in the main square (Place du Palais).
Palais des Papes (Papal Palace) In 1309, Pope Clement V moved the Papal court to Avignon due to a factional strife in Rome. It remained here until 1376.
Seven official popes reigned in Avignon during that time period.
visit the world famous Palais des Papes or in English, Palace of the Popes. The beautiful Gothic papal palace was built sometime in the 14th century atop a hill to serve as residence, fortress, and church.
After exploring this medieval palace, you may also like to just chill out around the Place du Palais area.... This large square, located in front of the Palais des Papes is easy to find. If you scrutinize the pic (below) closely, you'd know what I mean.
With out doubt the Pope's Palace. My daughter & I spent the better part of a day and then drive to Chateau Neuf de Pape.
There, from the top of the hill you could look back down the
river and see this Magnificent Walled city with the Palace in the center. A very worth while trip if you are in a car.
Pope's Palace and the Pont d'Avignon Bridge.
Fondest memory: After seeing Pope's Palace and Pont d'Avignon bridge, there are a few good museums, perhaps a good show at the theatre. Would only come here in future for specific festivals. It's a sleepy town otherwise (ie, if you like to sit around watching other people sitting around watching you, you'd probably enjoy this place.) Kind of boring and real touristy otherwise.
For your information, the Popes themselves were:
In case you wondered.
Favorite thing: Visit the Palais des Papes. Don't miss it, it's very impressive ! Guided tours are organized in many languages (I heard French, English, German, Spanish and Italian !).
Favorite thing: Le Palais du Pape. Come here at night. Nice temperature in summer and full of people. Time for strolling.
Fondest memory: Here's a pic of me... Can you spot the famous Palace of the Popes behind me? Yes, the name itself speaks volumes for this was once the central headquarters of the Papal Empire. Not kidding.
Fondest memory: Here's a stupendous view of Old Avignon as from the roof of the lovely Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes). Enjoy!