Saturday, August 4, 2012

Avignon, France

Avignon, France (population 100,000) is awash in tour buses. What's the big lure here? It could be because it's one of the few cities in France with its medieval ramparts still intact around the historic old town area.
Avignon's old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it's this massive structure (Palace of the Popes) which is the jewel. Built between 1335-1364 it's one of the largest Gothic buildings in Europe. What's it doing in Avignon you ask? Between 1309 and 1377 Avignon (not Rome), was the seat of the Papacy. This is where seven popes hung their hats. Built on a natural spur of rock between 1335-1364, this sucker is well-built with walls between 16-17 feet thick. Think about that. I'm six feet tall and if you took three of me and laid me out end to end--that's how thick the walls are!
It's 8:30 AM on a Sunday morning when I snapped all the photos. An hour later this same square was swarming with visitors--many hopping off tour buses. That's Avignon Cathedral on the left.
Above the Palace of the Popes is a park. This is the view. That's the Rhone river and note the medieval bridge that no longer spans the river. You have to pay a fee to walk to the end of the bridge.
This is a closer view of Avignon Cathedral which is located next to the Palace of the Popes. Built in the 12th century, atop stands a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing town, Paul.

    I've never been there and your photos are better than in the history books.