Tour de France–Avignon

After our days at the beach, we started to head northwest to make our way slowly back to Germany.  We made a stop in Avignon and it is definitely worth spending some time in this city.  It is located on the Rhône river and there are two famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Palais des Papes and the Pont d’Avignon.

The Palais des Papes (Papal Palace) was constructed beginning in 1252 by Pope Clement V, who moved the papal residence to Avignon from Rome, starting what was known as the Avignon Papacy.  The reconstruction of the palace was started in 1334 by Pope Benedict XII and continued many years later.  The Palais des Papes is currently comprised of two buildings joined together, the old palace from Benedict XII and the new palace of Clement VI.  The popes departed Avignon and returned to Rome in 1377.  Christian and I took a self-guided tour through the palace. 

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Views from one of the towers of the palace.

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This is the Avignon Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Doms d’Avignon), which is located right next to the Palais des Papes.  We didn’t go into the cathedral but viewed it from one of the the palace towers.

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We also bought tickets to walk across the Pont d’Avignon (Pont Saint-Bénézet) and we were provided with an audio guide.  The original bridge crossing the Rhône river was constructed between 1177 and 1185.  It was destroyed years later during a crusade and was rebuilt with stone arches.  Unfortunately, the arches started collapsing whenever the Rhône flooded, which eventually led to the bridge no longer being used or maintained.  All that remains today is four of the arches and the chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas.

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Lots of interesting history in Avignon! 

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