Listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco, the Popes' Palace is one of the 10 most visited monuments in France with 650,000 visitors per year. A true symbol of the influence of Western Christianity in the 14th century, this 15,000m2 masterpiece of a monument is the largest medieval fortress and biggest gothic palace of Europe.
Built in less then 20 years starting in 1335, the Popes' Palace is the amalgamation of two palaces built by two popes: Benedict XII, who built the Old Palace to the east and north, and his successor Clement VI who built the New Palace to the south and west.
In the 14th century, the Popes' Palace was occupied by 7 popes and 2 popes of the Papal Schism before the return of the papacy to Rome. Occupied by the Legates and Vice-Legates starting in the 15th century then transformed into a garrison until 1906, it has undergone various restoration work since. Most recently, the Trouillas Tower has regained its past appearance. The tower houses the 11 stories of the Departmental Archives and its height of 52 metres makes you dizzy as you look up at it from the terrace of the Utopia Manutention Cinema.
Offering countless and incomparable riches, as much architectural as pictorial, the Palace plunges visitors into the heart of the splendour of the papal court. A good hour is needed to discover the more than 25 rooms open to the public: the ceremonial halls, the courtroom, the consistory, the chapels with their magnificent frescoes by the famous painter Matteo Giovanetti and the popes' private apartments.
The Palace organizes cultural events, theme tours, exhibitions and concerts throughout the year. It also houses within its walls the Musée de l'Oeuvre.
In summers, a big art exhibition takes up the Great Chapel while the Main Courtyard becomes an open-air theatre with shows from the Avignon Theatre Festival created by Jean Vilar in 1947.
Starting in mid-August and continuing until early October, the Popes' Palace is the venue for the Luminescences, a monumental video show and sensorial experience unlike any other.
Palace of the Popes Square, Avignon Festival
Palace of the Popes in Avignon
Saint-Jean Chapel - Palace of the Popes of Avignon
Benoit XII cloister - Palace of the Popes of Avignon
The Grande Chapelle - Palace of the Popes of Avignon
Palais des Papes - Place du Palais - 84000 Avignon
+33 (0)4 32 74 32 74http://www.palais-des-papes.com/