The Saint Benezet bridge, also simply known as Avignon Bridge, is an emblem of the city, along with the Palace of Popes. The bridge was built to join the city with the palace, with Villenueve les Avignon with the other side of the Rhone river. The Popes built their fortified residence on the other side of the river and they needed easy access to the palace.
The construction was inspired by Saint Benezet, a shepherd, who according to legend, was guided by angels to build it. Now there's only a piece of the bridge because the river washed it away. You can visit it, there are several chapels nearby. The Cardinals prayed to be able to pass through there. There was also an entry fee of 4 euros.
The bridge inspired a famous french children's song, that you can hear in the bridge's little museum.
The Consistory is where the cardinals assembled to discuss matters of political, judicial and theological importance. They were like the judges of the Catholic Church, choosing between imprisonment and death of those ve offended the church as well as the canonization and sanctification of the church's exemplary subjects. It is here that the Pope gave the Cardinal a profit "consistory" and welcomed kings and ambassadors. You can see the beautiful reproductions of paintings that adorned the sky before, the Divine Majesty in His Throne Celeste, by Giovannetti, which burned in 1413. During the secular, the site served as a military bedroom.
The town hall of Avignon is a large building in Clock Square, not far from Palace Square. While tourists take coffee in Palace Square, Clock Square is the square of the inhabitants and is a central place for the city due to the presence of the town council. In the first century, Avignon was a Roman city, and had its epicenter here with thermal baths, temple and the ancient forum. During excavations busts of Emperor Tiberius and his son Drusus, ve died in the year 23, were found (you can see them at the Archaeological Museum). In the fourteenth century, the cardinals built a palace which later became the first town council, this building is the tower Jacquemart and houses a multitude of works of art and portraits of popes and cardinals and the Italian style theater room that held operas.
Since Roman times, the area of Avignon extended, and their defenses were adapted to reach the current size of the fortified city. During the wars and epidemics, the population was kept closed in and hid around the original birthplace of the city, the rock of Doms. The first Roman wall was built in the first century, but its original location is not well known. During the twelfth century, a double wall with a ravine around it was constructed in order to protect the city, the first perimeter being more or less the old Roman perimeter. You can see this construction around Saint Charles Street. The work was completed in 1248. With the arrival of the Popes, the city grew rapidly, and in 1355 they began to undergo a new construction, which is the current wall. If there is heavy traffic outside, inside there are small quiet streets where you can walk and take a look at things.
It's a nice old center square of Avignon, dominated by the iconic bell tower of the Great Augustinians. In this place once stood the Augustinian monastery, destroyed during the French Revolution. In the center, there is an iron structure that previously harbored a small flea market. Immigrants of the city met below what was the old vegetable market of the square and in the nineteenth century it moved to this square. Now there is a Provencal market held a few days a week. A highlight is the church and convent of the Carmelites, a kind of public garden. People come together in this beautiful historic building to chat in the shade during the hottest days. Also, leave the walls and visit the river.
You cannot leave Avignon without seeing the Popes Palace and its environment. The square of the palace has a special charm, something all of Avignon has, as it is one of the nicest medieval cities I´ve ever seen. In the square you can catch a small train that goes around the area. It´s entertaining and cheap.
The Hotel Des Monnaies is opposite the Palace of the Popes, in Palace Square. It's a perfect example of Italian Baroque architecture and is one of the most beautiful facades of the city. Construction began in 1619 with a decree by Bagni, but we don't know the artist who was responsible for the work. It is loaded with details and characters from mythology that contrast with the severe facade of the Palace of the Popes. It bears the arms of the Borghese family, as the Cardinal Paul V Borghese lived there. Today this place is occupied by the conservatory of music and during the city's festival of theater (mid-July) it is used to organize the Festival Off - all the shows that are organized on the streets and in other places than a theater.
Place Pie was born from the destruction of a large manor house of Mr. Parpaille. He was a dean of the University of Avignon as was his father, and a deputy of the city in Rome. He was born Catholic, but happened to be reformist in 1561, and so was killed as a heretic in 1562 and his home was destroyed. The space thus became a square, baptized by the name of Pope Pius IV. A market was built in its center. The square is next to its neighbour Plaza Pignotte and the Jewish Quarter, which is separated by the brotherhood St. John of Jerusalem. It was next to the cuerros market. Several nice bars are housed the square, and an old courthouse has been restored well. It also has alarge indoor market with a wall of vegetation.
Located on the street of dyers, Sorgues beside the river, the Maison du Quatre de Chiffre, or house number four is a beautiful building built in 1493. Before, on the front there was a mention of this date but it is now gone. Observe its particular form, with the top that looks like a castle, decorated with mythical animals and gargoyles. It is one of the last houses in the Gothic style of Avignon. There is a four sculptured decoration on its façade. It is a drawing that looks like a shield and has a heart inside, with a cross, and lastly, astar. A mysterious drawing that no one has read. Perhaps it is the mark of a brotherhood of merchants, but this is not certain. Now belonging to the city, a number of associations have their headquarters there, and concerts, meetings ...
This cloister is named after the Pope who ordered it to be built, Benedict XII. This Pope was responsible for one of the largest expansions of the palace, making a real medieval fortress palace. The courtyard is enclosed by high walls and you can see details of a defensive military building, such as the gaps that allowed Pope advocates to throw boiling oil on attackers. Benedict XII reigned in the fourteenth century and after that some improvements were carried out. But it's nice to see an open spot in this grand cold palace, especially a spot with grass and a bit of nature. The Gothic windows are above the private apartments of the Pope. Here you can see frescoes of the palace and the Pope's furniture. Downstairs leads to a small chapel.
The Porta Magna, the front door of the Palace of the Popes. Under a Gothic arch finely sculpted figures of angels which seem to support the weight of the arcs. Five big hollow statues received before, around a pedestal of fantastic animals. Only one remains, and it is quite damaged. During the French Revolution, the people rose up with the idea of rebelling against the church, and many works of art and places of worship were destroyed. The top therefore lost most of its decorations. In the nineteenth century the chapel was divided into three, to form a dormitory for soldiers and a grand staircase was built to the rooms. After that they turned to opening the door, with the intention of renovating the pieces lost, by building a wall in front.
Instead of the church of San Marcial there was formerly a palace belonging to Queen Jeanne, and the city of Avignon was sold to Pope Clement VI in 1348. Urbain V gave it in 1363 to the Benedictine monks of Cluny. In 1373 he founded the monastery of San Marcial. Built between 1383 and 1388, the Gothic church is where the tomb of Cardinal de La Grange was laid. In 1700, the convent areas were built. Destroyed during the French Revolution, they are now beautifully restored. In the nineteenth century the first museum in the city was organised within the temple. But with the construction of the Avenue Jean Jaures, it collapsed. The school got together public school teachers, now the priests since 1881. You cannot forget to visit the lovely garden next to the temple.
Entering l'Oulle gate in the walls of Avignon you get to Crillon square which is a beautiful town square with many restaurants and bars with terraces. But it's not a pedestrian square, and unfortunately a lot of traffic comes through this gate too. In the square there's flower shop with regional species, for example olives, a very popular souvenir, such as lavender, fresh or dried. Then there is Hotel d'Europe, in a large old palace, and the Comédie, one of the first theaters in Avignon. You can also find an art gallery and several shops. During the festival of theater in the city there are outdoor performances and some within the building of the Comédie.
The religious order of the Carmelites came to Avignon in 1267. At this time, many monasteries were built in the city, the official residence of the Popes Catholic and Catholic church headquarters, recently moved from Rome. The convent is outside the first city wall, between the gate of Matheron and the gate of Nurses. The Senate is in the northern part of the church, recently renovated. Every year to plays are shown in July during the festival of Avignon. Alternative works are done in this original setting.
Le Petit Louvre is a historic house at the height of the church San AGRÍCOL at San Agricole. In the patio, is the entrance to the chapel of the Knights Templar. You walk down a hallway decorated with frescoes. There is a nice restaurant inside, which has a terrace in the back yard, very nice in the summer, and some shops by the entrance hallway. It is a center for seminars and conferences on the upper floors. You can take advantage of a fairly central location, the latest technology, comfortable lounges while being in a beautiful historic building. Different sized meetings rooms and views over the city, for more information check online.
Hotel de Vervins is known in France as a "private hotel" and was a residence of the great bourgeois in the sixteenth century. Such buildings generally have family shields at the door (or on the facade). The building is now a hotel that welcomes guests but was for centuries a private residence. It's called Hotel de la Mirande and is in the plaza of the same name. It was commissioned by Pierre de Vervins, hence its name, and was designed by the famous architect Pierre Migrant in 1687. It has a very special facade and the windows of the 1st floor have medallions with palms and a head of Apollo.
This high wall enclosed and protected the papal city of Avignon. The Popes chose this place as their primary residence and also as the capital of the Catholic Church, so it was no longer in Rome. The wall had a length of 4330 meters. It was built in 1355 by Innocent VI as a replacement for an old wall that was too small to protect the city. Since Avignon was an important commercial and a religious crossroads, many bandits threatened the peace of the Popes and their proteges. They had well fortified towers where they could hide their treasures. The wall was finished during the reign of Urbain V. It had an inner surface that measured over 150 hectares, making Avignon, after Paris, the largest city in France.
Through the window of indulgence, the Pope gave his triple blessing to the people, who had gathered in the Palace Square (what is now the courtyard). It was also where where he was crowned on the first day of his pontificate after celebrating Mass. He sat on a a platform in front of the main door and received the crown from hands the first cardinal. In the nineteenth century the corridor was converted into stairs, since the vast military chapel already served as a bedroom. The window of indulgence was then destroyed. To restore it, around 1910 Nodet used works of art that represented, and as real model, the facade of the Abbey of la Chaise-Dieu (another work built by Pope Clement VI). The window is one of the last things you see before leaving the palace. You can admire it from below when you enter the courtyard.