Visit to the Palace of the Popes and Avignon

Located on the Rhone River, Avignon is well worth a visit. A typical southern French city, including narrow streets, pretty squares, see-through views, nice shops and many restaurants where you will find delicious food. And while you are there, a visit to the Palace of the Popes is highly recommended. If, like us, you do this in winter, it may be advisable to dress warmly. It was quite chilly there due to a strong mistral. On the contrary, it will be pleasantly cool there in summer.

Ideal outside the high season

Visiting Avignon and the Palace of the Popes is ideal off-season. Less hot and fewer people. Come and enjoy late summer in Provence, for example. But even in January, Avignon proved to be a wonderfully lively town.

The city of Avignon

Avignon is a city of around 90,000 inhabitants. The historic centre – also called “intra-muros” is surrounded by a 14-century fortified wall. This impressive wall has a length of 4.2 kilometres, contains seven gates and no fewer than 39 towers. The historic centre is not large and therefore quite suitable to spend a morning or afternoon wandering through. There are also plenty of terraces and restaurants. There are also an awful lot of murals in the old town, so-called trompe d’oeil. This makes it look like artists from the annual festival are standing in a window, while in reality it is a lifelike painting.

Pont Saint-Bénézet

When you think of Avignon, you naturally think of the song “Sur le pont d’Avignon”. The bridge (pont) from this song is the Pont Saint-Bénézet. The bridge is a striking sight, as only a few of the original 22 arches still stand. At one time, the bridge was as much as 900 metres long. Initially a wooden bridge, it was later replaced by the current stone bridge. The bridge could only be built when the water level in the Rhone was not too high. For a fee, you can visit the bridge.

The of the Popes’ Palace

From 1309 to 1377, the Popes lived not in Rome but in Avignon. Even though this is called the Babylonian exile of the popes, it was not a real exile. In fact, the popes lived voluntarily in Avignon during this period. It was only in 1335 that the construction of what is now known as the Palace of the Popes began.

It is now the largest Gothic structure from the Middle Ages to be found in Europe. As such, it is truly enormous. To give you an idea:

  • 15000 m2 floor space
  • 2 interior courtyards
  • 12 towers
  • 2 chapels in the largest tower

25 rooms and the garden are open to visitors. And the nice thing is, with the help of a tablet you get to borrow upon entering, you can see what it looked like before. Carpets are projected on the wall, furniture appears and so on. In the video below, you get an idea of what this looks like. It works very simply and really adds value during a visit to the Popes’ Palace.

The Popes’ Palace, also fun with children

The interactive tablet tour also makes a visit to the Palace of the Popes great fun to do with children. There is even a scavenger hunt involved. In the blog Top 10 of activities with children in the Provence, you will find even more ideas of fun activities with children near our accommodation.

Fancy visiting the Palace of the Popes and Avignon? Our gîte with private pool is a great base for this visit, but also for lots of other trips and activities in the region. Take a quick look at our availability.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *