Exploring Ancient Avignon, France

by Jessica Bowne

Jan 22, 2016

Avignon, France © Dariya Maksimova | Dreamstime

History

Paris and Cannes may get more attention, but Avignon, situated on the Rhone River and just 55 miles from Marseille, is a true French gem with its natural charm, centuries of history and small town ease. Its entire center was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995.

 

The Palace of the Popes in Avignon, France © Clodio | Dreamstime 48680888

The Palace of the Popes © Clodio | Dreamstime

 

Avignon’s lengthy, deep-rooted history saw it as the home to seven popes and the center of Christianity throughout the 14th century; it was during this time it grew from a small village to a thriving city. Start your day at the Palace of the Popes, which is actually two buildings, with the most recent being the largest Gothic structure built during the Middle Ages. Be sure to take note of the impressive Grand Chapel, where the Avignon popes were known to worship.

 

Rue de la Republique in Avignon, France © Leonid Andronov | Dreamstime 42234771

Rue de la Republique © Leonid Andronov | Dreamstime

 

Afterward, walk to the Jardin du Rochers des Doms, where you will get an expansive view of Avignon and the Rhone River Valley. Next, take in the bridge you were just looking down upon, the St. Bénezet Bridge or Pont d’Avignon. Finish your day in one of Avignon’s many quaint town squares, such as the Place des Châtaignes, Place Crillon and Place St. Didier with an aperitivo or coffee.

 

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