River Rhone and Saone Port Avignon 2013 & 2014

Friday 25 July 2014 | Contact Us

OVERVIEW

Avignon is a French community in southeastern France in the division of the Vaucluse bordered by the left bank of the Rhône River.

Often referred to as the "City of Popes" because of the presence of popes and antipopes from 1309 to 1423 during the Catholic schism, it is currently the largest city and capital of the département of Vaucluse. This is one of the few French cities to have preserved its ramparts, its historic centre, the palace of the popes, Rocher des Doms, and the bridge of Avignon. It is classified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO

City History

Avignon was badly damaged by the barbarian invasions of the 5th century and was destroyed in 737 by the Franks under Charles Martel, after it had sided with the Arabs against him. Avignon passed successively to the kingdom of the Burgundians and the Kingdom of Arles.

At the end of the 12th century, its commune declared itself an independent republic, but independence was crushed in 1226 when Avignon was taken and dismantled by forces of Louis VIII and its fortification demolished as punishment for its support of the Cathars. Avignon was given to the counts of Provence and then the counts of Toulouse.

The town had significant religious status from ancient times. It was the seat of a bishop as early as the year 70 AD, and became an archbishopric in 1476. Several synods of minor importance were held there, and its university, founded by Pope Boniface VIII in 1303 and famed as a seat of legal studies, flourished until the French Revolution

Papal Palace
Papal Palace
 

City Highlights

Festival d’Avignon – Held in the month of July where you can enjoy theatre, performance art and dance.

Pont St. Bénezet - Built over the Rhône River… well sort of. Originally, the bridge was built with 22 arches at 3,000 feet long. Then the mighty Rhône brought it down, the bridge was re-built, then half of it fell down, and that’s what you see today. So it’s built half-way over the Rhône.

Palais des Papes - After the French Pope, Clement V, was elected in 1309 the church moved to Avignon and the Vatican bought the city. You can walk and listen at your own pace through the palace. The vast empty rooms contrast the frescos and color of the Popes’ quarters.

Parc des Rochers des Domes - Known to be the first site of Avignon, this park has fantastic views.

Walk the Streets - Stroll the back-roads and find your favorite square. Avignon is easy to navigate. There are old city walls surrounding it so you can’t get lost. Stop by the Tourist Information Office, located off the main street from the train station, 41 Jean Jaurès, grab a walking tour map and explore.

Avignon FACTS

Population – 94,787
Currency – Euro
Language – French


DID YOU KNOW?

Avignon is less than three hours south of Paris by train, making it an ideal destination for a weekend escapade. Home to a large number of medieval buildings, the city is famous for its Gothic architecture and structures. Avignon is also home to several festivals, conferences and events throughout the year, such as a winter equestrian festival and its Christmas Market, which features artisans, artists and merchants from all of southern France. These events attract visitors from France and from all over Europe and the world.

 
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