Tag Archives: Palais des Papes

Avignon – France

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Avignon  is located in southeastern France bordered by the left bank of the Rhône river.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It is a place I have dreamed of visiting since I was around ten years old.

When we checked into the hotel and opened the window, we were greeting with an amazing view of the Palais des Papes

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Often referred to as the “City of Popes” because of the presence of popes and antipopes from 1309 to 1423 during the Catholic schism.

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Avignon is one of the few French cities to have preserved its ramparts.

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In addition, its historic center, the palace of the popes,

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 and the bridge of Avignon………..

……… Pont d’Avignon  Only four of the eighteen piles are left; on one of them stands the small Romanesque chapel of Saint-Bénézet.are well-preserved.

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But the bridge is best known for the famous French song Sur le pont d’Avignon.

In 1309 the city, still part of the Kingdom of Arles, was chosen by Pope Clement V as his residence, and from 9 March 1309 until 13 January 1377 was the seat of the Papacy instead of Rome.

The Palais des Papes is an amazing building….

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By choosing to “move” the Vatican to Avignon Clement caused a schism in the Catholic Church.

At the time, the city and the surrounding Comtat Venaissin were ruled by the kings of Sicily of the house of Anjou.

The French King Philip the Fair, who had inherited from his father all the rights of Alphonse de Poitiers (the last Count of Toulouse), made them over to Charles II, King of Naples and Count of Provence (1290).

Nonetheless, Philip was a shrewd ruler. Inasmuch as the eastern banks of the Rhone marked the edge of his kingdom,

when the river flooded up into the city of Avignon, Philip taxed the city since during periods of flood, the city technically lay within his domain…..interesting tax laws!

Here the flood levels were recorded ….

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The Popes who resided in the Palais des Papes were

Clement V: 1305–1314

John XXII: 1316–1334

Benedict XII: 1334–1342

Clement VI: 1342–1352

Innocent VI: 1352–1362

Urban V: 1362–1370

Gregory XI: 1370–1378

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This period from 1309–1377 – the Avignon Papacy – was also called the Babylonian Captivity of exile, in reference to the Israelites‘ enslavement in biblical times.

The inside of the Palais is eerie and haunting…

europe2 799It feels strange to walk these empty rooms and hallways….

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….and of course there is the garden of the Rocher des Doms…

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Now time for some lunch at 46 Bistro……….escargot …….of course…

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…then a walk about town……to the place to be…………the Place de l’Horloge..

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….looks like these two have been sitting around here for a while…

…amazing Carrousel…La Belle Epoque…

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We visited the most wonderful Musee Lapidaire, CLICK HERE to read about that visit…..

……………..we encountered wonderful architecture, as we strolled about….

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….of course the cafes attract our attention….

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….and we decide to have dinner at lou Mistrau….beautiful outdoor dining with wind shields….good because it is quite nippy….

we begin with………….you guessed it escargot…..the best we have ever eaten…

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….followed by my very favorite dish on the planet…..Cassoulet……

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….then perhaps some beef and potatoes….

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……ahhh but let us not forget dessert and cappuccino ….

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walking about we encounter these wonderful ladies dressed in vintage clothing….

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It has been a most wonderful visit, filled with discovery, wonderment, lavender, culinary delights…..

…..but we must move on….

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Musee Lapidaire – Avignon, France

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While visiting Avignon, we would walk down the Rue de la République at least twice a day.  On our third day we noticed the sign for the Musee Lapidaire and decided to peek inside and see what was behind those doors.

OH MY……….the collection was breathtaking!  The gentleman at the desk seemed quite surprised to have visitors…..the place was empty!

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You see the museum was originally a  Baroque Jesuit Church,  whose plans had been prepared in 1616 by Stephen Martelange.

  The exterior is classic Jesuit Baroque, and if you are familiar with Rome, the corbels and carving should remind you of the famed Church of the Gesu.

Since 21 June 1928, it is classified as a historical monument.

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Inside, amid he surprisingly simplistic interior, the is an astounding display of everything from amphora to grave markers, or stele from local archeological sites.

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        The permanent collections cover several eras: prehistory , ancient Greek , ancient Etruscan , Roman antiquity , art Gauls , ancient paleo-Christian.

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Among the major pieces of the collection of prehistoric times, the museum presents the “Stele of LaurisPuyvert

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  The objects of ancient Greek, Roman, and Etruscan, and the Gallic art are varied, vases, statues in low relief, or lamps.

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Some Etruscan tombs are also available.

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We spent several hours in the museum and so enjoyed this amazing collection.  The entire time we were inside, not one other person entered, yet in the street, hundreds walk past the doorway!

We were quite content to have our private museum accompanied by our three singing muses………

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Should you ever be in Avignon, do not walk past these doors and miss this incredible place

for more information CLICK HERE