Thanks to its grandiose design, the Popes’ Palace, seen from the outside, is an eye-catcher. It is a historic monument, to be seen absolutely, in a magnificent city with a colossal urban landscape. Surrounded by its ramparts, Avignon offers a unique architectural ensemble that is classified by UNESCO as a “world heritage site”.
When was the Popes’ Palace built?
The work of the “Old Palace” began in 1335 just after the coronation of Pope Benedict XII. To give the palace more space, and strategically overlook the city and the Rhône, the designers decided to build the fortress on a rocky spur, the Rocher des Doms. Today, this rock has become for some the most beautiful place to visit in Avignon with a breathtaking view of the Rhone Valley, the Mont-Ventoux, and the Alpilles !
The “New Palace“, the largest Gothic building, was built at the Pontificate of Clement VI from 1342 to 1352. The Popes’ Palace is the interweaving of these two buildings.
Visit the Pope’s Palace
More than 20 rooms await visitors, including the Pope’s private apartments and their fabulous fresco decorations by the Italian artist Matteo Giovannetti.
Unfortunately, the palace no longer has almost any of the interior decoration from the time of the Popes. Nevertheless, thanks to the virtual reality technology, you can experience the palace and its history through high quality reconstructions. In this way you will be immersed in the atmosphere of yesteryear, an immersion into the Middle Ages. To do this, you must bring a digital tablet to rent at the entrance.
The exit will be on the side of the park Le Rocher des Doms. It is nice to walk around, the shaded and flowery park is very pleasant, especially in summer when it is hot, because there is always some fresh air. There are facilities for children, pretty duck basins and a refreshment bar.
The monument also offers visitors regular cultural entertainment throughout the year. The Avignon Festival , takes place in July in the Court of Honour of the Palais. A majestic and imposing place, the Palais des papes is one of the 10 most visited monuments in France.
For the little story…
The stones used to build the Palais are cut stones from the old quarries of Saint-Restitut, a charming village in the Drôme Provençale, 4 km from Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux.
Consult the practical information of the Palace of the Popes