Avignon

Avignon is like the hub of a wheel to all the major attractions and things to do and see Provence offers.

Let’s start with Avignon itself:

There is the Popes’ Palace so tall that you can see it from far away, an intimidating cluster of towers, a citadel within the walled city, the attempt of the French crown to establish the papacy here for good, boosting Avignon to become the capital of Christianity for the most part of a century (1309 to 1377). Almost all rooms at La Mirande offer a close and romantic view from different angles of this world heritage monument, the world’s largest Gothic palace.

Still encircling the entire old town, there are the ramparts build by the Popes in the 14th century, kept and restored through the ages because in modern times they are still useful as a barrier against floods from the Rhône.

There is the cathedral, Notre Dame des Doms, with its amazing blend of Baroque and Romanesque architecture inside, the splendid view outside from its doorsteps’ esplanade, and the beautiful public gardens of the Rocher des Doms some 30 meters above the river Rhone, dominating the city and surrounding countryside with the famous Mont Ventoux in the distance.

And, “bien sûr”, there is the Pont d’Avignon, the broken bridge, only four arches left of twenty-two, build in 1234 and destroyed by a catastrophic flood in 1669. It is this bridge that the famous song “Sur le pont d’Avignon, on y danse, on y danse” refers to and below is a 3-D reconstruction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlArBdehDJU

There are a number of interesting museums to visit, in order of importance: Petit Palais, Musée Calvet, Angladon, collection Lambert as well as a thriving theatre festival in July involving the whole city with up to 1500 different performances to choose from every day.

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