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Avignon

Listed under Historic Towns and Villages in Avignon, France.

  • Photo of Avignon
  • Photo of Avignon
Photo of Avignon
Photo by flickr user Fr Antunes
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Avignon was once the home of the papacy, for a 68 year period in the 14th century when Rome had become too unstable. At that time France as a nation state as we know it did not exist, and Avignon and the surrounding area belonged to the Popes. At this time the city became the centre of the western world. The huge fortress-like Papal Palace is testimony to the instability of the times, as well as the military power of the medieval Papacy. Today it is largely empty - vast, forbidding and cold - so different from the Baroque flamboyance of today's Vatican. The city is also famous for its music festivals, with many open air events, and the half collapsed medieval bridge, the subject of that hoary old French nursery rhyme, 'Sur le Pont D'Avignon, On y danse, On y danse' - describing how the children would dice with death by dancing on the ledges of its broken end, high above the swirling waters. Equivalent today, perhaps, to playing truant on a high speed railway line...

Written by  katie_f.

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Avignon Art

The city has two fabulous contemporary art museums that are must sees:

Collection Lambert and Musee Angladon-Dubrujeaud. Though most tourists visit Avignon for the usual sites, these two museums offer enriching collections exhibited in exciting and innovative ways and are not to be ignored. Collection Lambert provides a comprehensive selection of art books in their library.

Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge

In the 14th century, this city in the South of France was the seat of the papacy. The Palais des Papes, an austere-looking fortress lavishly decorated by Simone Martini and Matteo Giovanetti, dominates the city, the surrounding ramparts and the remains of a 12th-century bridge over the Rhone. Beneath this outstanding example of Gothic architecture, the Petit Palais and the Romanesque Cathedral of Notre-Dame-des-Doms complete an exceptional group of monuments that testify to the leading role played by Avignon in 14th-century Christian Europe.

Copyright © UNESCO/World Heritage Centre. All rights reserved.

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