The Popes' Palace
The skyline of Avignon is a magnificent urban landscape. Overlooking the city and the Rhône river, the Rocher des Doms presents an exceptional set of monuments including the Saint Bénezet Bridge, (the famous « Pont d’Avignon »), the Ramparts, the Petit Palais, the Cathedral and the impressive walls of the Popes’ Palace flanked by four mighty towers. This architectural group has been ranked by UNESCO: « world heritage for humanity ».
The Palace of the Popes stands as the mighty symbol of the church’s influence throughout the western Christian world in the 14th century. Construction was started in 1335 and completed in less than twenty years under the leadership of two builder popes, Benedict XII and his successor Clement VI. The Popes’ Palace is the biggest Gothic palace in all of Europe (15,000 m2 of floor space, which is the equivalent of 4 Gothic cathedrals).
The visitor can see over 20 rooms, scenes of historic events, in particular the pope’s private chambers and the frescoes painted by the Italian artist Matteo Giovannetti. The Popes’ Palace also offers the visitor continuous cultural activities throughout the year. A major art exhibit is displayed in the Great Chapel during the summer, and the most prestigious performances of the Avignon Theater Festival, created by Jean Vilar in 1947, are given in the Honor Courtyard of the Popes’ Palace during the month of July.
The Popes’ Palace has welcomed more than 650,000 visitors. It is one of the most visited monuments in all of France.
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