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Notre Dame des Doms and its portly Virgin
Notre Dame des Doms is located on Place du Palais, adjacent to the Palais des Papes, in the most heavily touristed part of Avignon. Notre Dame is Avignon's cathedral - that is, the seat of an archbishop - and largely dates from 12th century.
Its most notable feature is a large, gilded statue of the Virgin Mary - a 19th century addition - which is visible from across much of the city and is thus quite useful for navigation purposes. She weighs in at a substantial 4.5 tonnes, and is thus somewhat hard to miss!
I am usually a fan of Romanesque architecture, but I have to say that this church didn't light my candle, perhaps because it was subjected to some ill advised Byzantine additions in the 15th century. I find the outside of the building somewhat squat in appearance, and the dazzling gold of the statue in particular looks gaudy against the honey coloured stone of the Palais des Papes.
The interior is more to my liking and would provide welcome respite from the sun on a hot day - however, it is surprisingly small, so you are unlikely to get too much peace given the constant traffic of fellow tourists. Its most notable feature is the tomb of Pope John XXII (who died in 1334) which is an excellent piece of Gothic carving.
Looking at Pope John's tomb, I wondered idly why it took another six centuries for a Pope to choose the name John again (John XXIII, the great reformer of the 20th century Catholic Church was elected in 1958 and died a few days after I was born). He wasn't even an Antipope, so could he have been so bad that nobody wanted him as a namesake for over 600 years?
Good customer service at Musée du Petit Palais
I can tell you virtually nothing about this museum, other than the fact that it seems to have a particularly fine collection of artworks which I was unable to visit.
Usually I wouldn't mention a museum that I hadn't visited, except in this instance, the reason why I didn't go in is that several of the exhibition rooms were undergoing some sort of routine maintence on the day I was there. Rather than pocketing my entrance fee and letting me find out for myself and think that I'd been fleeced, the lady on the desk pointed out the problem and gave me the option of visiting on that day if I really wanted to, but pointed out that the work would be complete in another 36 hours, so if I came back the day after tomorrow, I'd be able to see the whole lot.
Brits in particular tend to moan about how rude and unhelpful French service providers are, so I just thought that I'd put the counter case for a change!
And anyway, it's a cracking good building, so it's well worth the photo!
Inside the Cathedral
The church has no aisles and originally had windowless side walls. It contains a dome over the crossing, on squinches, becoming octagonal and a painted inner face. Next to the altar is a fine archbishop's throne. It was baroque between 1670-72.
- Family Travel
Visit The Cathedral Notre Dame des Doms
The Cathedral was built between 1140-60 upon remains of an older church. During the 14C, when the Popes were in Avignon, fine frescos by Simone Martini were created upon the aislwer which has beeb extee-less walls. These slowly deteriorated and were removed to the Papal Palace in the 20C. Side chapels were added to the church in the 14-16C and the interior was baroqued shortly after. There is an early Romanesque porch and above it is a tower that was extended in the 15C and in 1859 topped by a large statue of the Virgin.
- Family Travel
The unusual looking church is an amalgam of several works of construction completed over seven centuries. The church was built in the 12th century and restored after damage over time. The tower was added in the 15th century, but the statue of the Madonna dates from the 19th century.
- Religious Travel
There is Notre Dame Cathedral on which roof there is the huge statue of maiden Maria is installed. During Popes living in Avignon, the city has strikingly changed. Its population grow up to 30 thousand. Around the palace there was a set of churches.
Churches Sent Jean and Sent Martel, Big church create a harmonious architectural ensemble. Interiors of the palace are decorated by frescos of Johvanetty.
- Historical Travel
la Cathedrale Notre-Dame-des-Doms
We snapped this photograph in the evening. The locals light up the papal palace and this cathedral in the night-time. The cathedral is situated near the papal palace, and is accessible in the daytime.
- Historical Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Avignon Cathedral. Notre Dame
The cathedral of Avignon ,Notre Dame, is next to the Palace of the Popes. It is mainly 12th century. Admission is free. On top of the tower is a huge statue of the Virgin.
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Avignon Travel Guide
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