Avignon is known as the "City of Popes", quite simply because several popes resided there between 1309 and 1411. The presence of the seat of Western Christianity led a large number of wealthy Italian merchants to the Comtat Venaissin. Many traces of this period remain, such as the Palais des Papes. What is also impressive about Avignon is that its city walls are still intact. Let's not forget, of course, the famous Saint-Bénezet bridge, immortalised in the French children's rhyme. Avignon also hosts one of the biggest theatre festivals in France.
The Palais des Papes
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Palais des Papes in Avignon is the largest Gothic construction from the Middle Age. Both a fortress and palace, the pontifical residence was the seat of Western Christianity during the 14th century. It is a place charged with history and of imposing architecture. Here you can learn about the world of the papacy in the 14th century and, through its rooms and private apartments, imagine what daily life was like for the popes who lived there...
Find out more: www.palais-des-papes.com
The City Walls
The City Walls of Avignon as we know them today date from 1480, and were constructed to protect the pontifical city from "highwaymen" and "mercenaries" who plundered the Rhône valley during each truce of the Hundred Years' War. They measure 4,330 metres long and comprise many towers and fortified gates. It is easy to walk around them since the car parks were removed around twenty years ago.
The St Bénézet Bridge
... Sur le Pont d'Avignon, on y danse, on y danse...
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Bridge was made famous around the world by the song...
This bridge initially boasted 22 arches and connected Avignon to Villeneuve. There are now only 4 arches remaining, stopping in the middle of the Rhône river!
Find out more : www.avignon-pont.com
The Avignon Festival
Each July, one of the biggest arts festivals in France takes place in Avignon. There is the official "In" festival and the "Off" (fringe) festival, where hundreds of troops and artists come to perform their "show" in search of fame.
An experience not to be missed - by walking through the streets of Avignon from afternoon until evening, you will soak up the "festival atmosphere".
Le Musée Angladon:
Set in a very beautiful 18th-century mansion, this museum exhibits works from a private collection, with pieces by Degas, Sisley, Cézanne, Picasso, Modigliani and Van Gogh, among others. Find out more
Le Musée Calvet (Musée des Beaux-Arts) :
The Calvet Museum (Museum of Fine Arts): The building, a beautiful 18th-century mansion, and the collection (paintings, sculptures and objets d'art from the 15th to 20th centuries) together create one of the most poetic and history-charged locations in Avignon.
La Collection Lambert:
Avignon's museum of contemporary art. Find out more