Palace of the Popes Avignon

Avignon, a city in southeastern France’s Provence region, is set on the Rhône River. From 1309 to 1377, it was the seat of the Catholic popes. It remained under papal rule until becoming part of France in 1791. This legacy can be seen in the massive Palais des Papes (Popes’ Palace) in the city center, which is surrounded by medieval stone ramparts.

The Avignon city walls constitute the 2nd longest continuous wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China. It is 4.3 km’s long!

Our tour would start with a walking tour of the City before heading to the Palace of the Popes.

 

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Part of the wall surrounding Avignon

 

As you walk through one of the many passages of the Wall surrounding Avignon you begin to realize what an amazing place it is.  Many tourist pages on Avignon say once you stay you won’t want to leave.  I can agree with that.  Although if you read all my posts I want to stay at every village we visit.  I’m sure you the reader will also think the same once you get the opportunity to visit France.

 

Once inside it’s a maze of tiny little streets with many shops and cafes.

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One of many tiny street in Avignon
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Belle Époque Carousel at the top of the square

Then you come to a huge square called Place de l’Horloge. Here, you find the City Hall built between 1845 and 1851 over a former cardinal’s palace of which it has kept the old fortified tower, transformed into a belfry in the 15th century with clock and Jacquemart. Next to it, the municipal theatre, also from the 19th century, houses the Avignon opera and, all the way at the top, the delightful Belle Époque style carousel still turns.

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Le Theatre Opera House

 

 

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14th Gothic Century clock-tower with life-sized figures on the top, known as ‘jacquemarts’, that strike the hours.  Unfortunately my photo isn’t very clear for you to see the Jacquemarts.

 

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Pierre Corneille at the front of the Theatre
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Statue of Molière at the front of the theatre

 

Originally the forum of Avenio, the city’s name under the Romans in the 1st century BC, the  Place de l’Horloge is still the “centre” of Avignon. A meeting place, bordered by cafés and restaurants, the square is always bustling. Just like the Place du Palais higher up, a vast esplanade where you could spend the day just watching all the street performers in summer.

 

 

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In front of the CATHÉDRALE NOTRE-DAME DES DOMS D’AVIGNON
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Inside the Palace of the Popes

“The Palace of the Popes is the biggest building ever built during the Gothic period. It stands in powerful testimony to the presence of 9 popes who lived in and reigned from Avignon in the 1300’s. Construction of the Palace took less than 20 years, and took place between 1335 and 1352. Two popes were the primary builders of the Palace: Pope Benedict XII, who built the first pontifical palace (now referred to as the “Old Palace”), and Pope Clement VI who built new extensions, referred to as the “New Palace”.”

 

Priceless Frescoes –

Photos are not allowed of these Frescoes unless you use no flash. As it is not very light in the Palace I decided to not even bother.  The flash of cameras destroy’s the Frescoes.  As we went through the palace they had TV screens with a story of the Palace and the Frescoes.  Here is one I took.

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However, you see so many tourists taking photos with flash.  Why dont people listen?

While we were at the Palace of the Popes we were lucky to see an exhibition of Contemporary African Art.

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Contemporary African Art

 

Did you know there were 9 Popes in Avignon – 7 Popes and 2  Schismatic Popes. More here on the web page Palace of the Popes

 

After our tour ended we had time to wander around the town of Avignon. We walked down little laneways.  Some used Segways see photo.

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I prefer to use my feet

 

Down another laneway we found this.  Another blogger Julie from http://www.anotsoyoungwomanabroad.com gave a great hint.  Always look up, you never know what you’re going to find.

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What you find when you go down little laneways

 

Eventually we found ourselves in the huge square where our lovely friend Tanya was enjoying the sunshine.

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Tanya in front of the Belle Époque Carousel

Muriel and I decided we would take in the atmosphere of Avignon and have a coffee and perhaps cake to share.

As I’m gluten-free, its sometimes hard to find something to eat. We wandered around taking in all the sights and sounds.  What a beautiful and romantic place Avignon is.  I know I know I probably say this on every blog post.  At least I’m consistent lol.

In France if your gluten-free all you need to know is Sans Gluten.  We were in luck we found a cafe that had a cake that was gluten free or Sans Gluten.  Even luckier it was chocolate!  Coffee and cake get in our tummies!

 

 

We both throughly enjoyed our coffee and cake.  I will say though its not like we starve on the cruise ship.

After our cake and coffee we wandered around a bit more.  We really didnt want to leave this amazing place.

 

However, we knew we had to get back to our ship as our next tour would be at the Pont-du-Guard.  On the way over to Nice I had watched the movie Paris can Wait with Diane Lane.  She was in Under a Tuscan Sun which gave me the travel urge to visit Tuscany.  Yes I will get there one day.  The movie really showed France off, more like a travel documentary than a movie.  They stopped by at the Pont-du-Guard.  When you see it in the flesh up close and personal its just breathtaking.

 

Next: Pont-du-Guard

 

 

18 Replies to “Palace of the Popes Avignon”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story on the re-opened Senior Salon. I hope to see you all again. Please, may I respectfully ask that you share the news of the Senior Salon on your page and other social media then more ‘silver’ members can come and join us. Thanks, in advance.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Statue of Molière is me… sitting at doctor’s appointments. lol. But seriously. this blog is gorgeous. I am so excited to explore your blog more. I’m kind of dancing on my floor as I write this, because I want to get back to reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Ellie xx Maybe one day I might just do that. I might have to ask you for help on that one. If you get the opportunity to go do. Paula, the sister who got left behind, went to Avignon with her husband a few years ago. They stayed opposite the Palace of the Popes in a hotel that was once a castle! How exciting that would be. They were there for 3 days. She said they would go down for breakfast and it would be at one of the cafes, included in the price of the hotel. How wonderful that would have been.

      Liked by 1 person

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