Day 1,635 of Traveling the World | Avignon, France | July 25, 2022

Avignon is famous for the Avignon Papacy of 1309-1377, wherein seven successive popes reigned from Avignon, France rather than Rome. The fabulous Palace of the Popes is actually two buildings that were joined in the 1300s to centralize the administration of the Catholic Church. When the papacy returned to Rome, the palace lost much of its former glory. However, its grandeur and immortality have captured the imagination of people over the centuries. We walked through the interior, but sadly for us, much of it has been taken over for the annual Festival of Avignon, an arts festival, and bleachers and hundreds of chairs have been placed inside, which obscured the openness and views. In addition, there is an exhibition on the Amazon (of all things), so several of the great rooms are not recognizable. We visited here 20 years ago, but today it is nothing like it was then.

The city is one of the few left in France that has retained its old walls surrounding the old town. The wall runs for 2.7 miles and encloses 370 acres. Originally, there were 12 gates that controlled access, but today there are 11 pedestrian entrances and 15 vehicular entrances. Inside the walls, it is vibrant with people drinking, eating, and attending theater shows, and it just has a vibrancy and sense of joy. There was a lot of activity! For us, it was a one-day whistle stop, as our 90 days in the EU Schengen area are up in a few days. Our last several locations were to be a bit longer, but we had to cut back our days in each after we did the math!

Life! Life was happening as we walked inside the walled city. It was hot, hot, hot, and people were drinking – lots! – and enjoying the day.
It was so busy as we walked the streets!
A different square, five minutes from the previous one – and it, too, is just jammed with people.
The Opera d’Avignon, dating from 1847.
Built in 1619, this gorgeous facade by Florentine sculptor Bertolucci is the most Italian building in Avignon. It has served as a barracks, Town Hall, fire station, and most recently, the Hotel des Monnaies.
A close-up! Look at that rich detail!
The Palais des Papes. The enormity hits you as you turn the corner. Can you believe….this palace can fit four Gothic cathedrals???
This is the former Guard’s Room, now the ticket office!
A bit of ancient mural.
You can see that a lot of the sculpture has gone missing from the arch above the doors – but so has the head from the statue in between the doors!
Walking toward a passageway of arches.
Some rooms have artwork that remains!
Positively, the most beautiful room in the Papal Palace!
A peek at the other side of this great room.
We aren’t sure of their age, or when these wooden panels appeared in the palace.
One of the palace rooms, untouched.
Some of the ceiling vaults, like this one, are in beautiful shape.
A view of an outside corner, with loopholes, for defense.
The “ramparts” – the ancient walls that enclosed the City of Avignon, built in the 1300s.
Walking through one of the gates into the old city.
Some people were painted into the windows of the building facing you.
One of the tree-lined entrance streets to the old town.
Can you see the bird on top of the fountain getting a drink??
This fabulous piece of Art Nouveau was high up on a building as we walked through the city.
Fabulous!! We have no idea why these three fun femme fatales are on a board as we walked along, but they made us smile!