Avignon, major attraction in Provence
The city of Avignon once played an important role in the 14th century. It’s mostly known for its bridge, the Pont d’Avignon, and it once functioned as a residence for pontiffs who made their home at the Palace of the Popes. Besides the historic significance, Avignon has much to offer. The city’s youthful ambiance is sure to capture the interest of any traveler.
Today Avignon has a lively atmosphere and is full of charming shops, atmospheric cafes, and
numerous little hideaways that are ideal for people-watching and postcard-writing. While you’re losing yourself pleasantly in the backstreets or claiming a dappled spot in order to jot down notes and take photographs, you might find yourself inspired, refreshed or renewed. Create unforgettable memories and tour the impressive palace that once housed the Holy Father, stroll the traffic and stress-free shopping quarter, or enjoy the town’s best views by hiking the hilltop of Rocher des Doms Park.
Avignon started out as a small town that predates ancient Roman times, but the medieval
descendants put it on the map in the 14th century. That’s because Clément V moved papal
operations away from dangerous Italy to Avignon to enjoy a secure rule that was supported by the
French king. The Catholic Church purchased the town of 6,000 and transformed it completely. The
improvements included protective walls, 39 towers, mansions for the cardinals and residences for the bureaucratic members. The town grew to encompass 25,000, but nowadays it has around 13,000 inhabitants.
The Palace of the Popes was the crowning achievement of this construction phase. With its 10-foot
thick walls it not only represented power, but it was also the most secure palace in the world at that
time. In addition to the pope, it accommodated 500 people who administered the Holy See business.
This impressive structure is Europe’s largest enduring Gothic palace.
Don’t forget to check out the bridge. It’s older than the palace and dates back to the 12th century.
Even though only four arches remain -from initially twenty two at the time- All in all, Avignon, is one of the most impressive European attractions.
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