May 13, 2019
Last night Suzanne and I dined in and started with some local wine, tapenades, fresh goats cheese with red peppercorns and bay leaf, and baguette.
Today we were off to the famous historical city of Avignon. The Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) located in Avignon is the largest and one of the most important Gothic buildings in Europe. The palace was the seat of Catholic Popes during the 14th century. Six papal conclaves were held in the Palace before the Popes returned to Rome. Here is a model of the Palace, as it’s impossible to get a photo of the whole structure from the ground.
There is the old Palace of Benedict XII and the new Palace of Clement VI, the most extravagant of the Avignon Popes. The two combined palaces bring it’s size to 161,458 square feet with 25 rooms open to the public.
The Palace entrance fee includes a tablet, sort of like an iPad, that gives information on whichever room you enter. It works automatically or if you hold it over a designated spot. If you hold the tablet up in a room it shows it as it would have looked in the time of the Popes, moving as you move around the room. Very unusual, fun and interesting. This is a photo off the tablet that shows the detailing of the wall painting in the Pope’s private chambers. If you tap on the little icon, the tablet then gives you additional info on whatever is targeted.
The lower treasury room was surprisingly interesting, showing where valuables were hidden under slabs of stone flooring, with the tablet showing chests full of chalices and saints relics.
The door to the lower treasury was forced open twice by thieves, on 1360 and 1374. In 1360 they managed to enter but they were stopped before they could steal anything.
The High Grand Treasury was were the treasury staff was directed by the Chamberlain, the Pope’s right hand man. This was the finance office that collected taxes from religious institutions throughout Christendom and recorded the papal treasury’s income and expenses. These accounts now in the Vatican, are the main source of information on the Avignon papacy. The photo below shows the gigantic fireplace in the High Treasury. The man standing in the fireplace is peering up into a huge flue.
Really like this Dog’s head with long ear. Doesn’t much look like a dog to me, but I’ll take their word for it.
This is the ‘new’ kitchen flue, that vented smoke from a large central cooking pit. The adjoining Le Grand Tinel, banquet hall (below) would would seat a great number of people and the enormous cooking pit would allow large quantities for food to be prepared at once.
The Great Chapel was the site of papal coronations and funerals.
Below is a photo of the North Sacristy that has stone effigies, such as that of Louis II of Bourbon.
This is one of the main entrances to the Palace.
Here are some more photos of the palace and then we are off to explore more of the city.
The cloisters can be seen from the courtyard below.
Below is the adjacent church which is currently undergoing repairs.
The beautiful Hotel des Monnaies is right across the plaza from the Palace.
We stopped for lunch on this tiny little plaza. I had my usual salad Nicoise, it was very good.
Then on for a glacé at this little shop with the fascinating self serve ice cream machine on the sidewalk.
Saint Pierre Basilica was on our meandering route, so we took a quick look.
The city is also know for it’s Trompe l’oeil wall paintings.
On one of the main promenades we saw this double decker carousel.
Suzanne wants me to tell you that I’m doing a great job of driving through Provence. I can definitely say I was very happy to get out of the city and drive back to our little village.
I went to take the glass up to the top of the village where the recycling center is located and decided to walk over to the ramparts to take in the view.
Au revoir, until tomorrow!
2 thoughts on “Popes of Avignon”
Great post! I would like to get some recommendation from you about where to visit between La Spezia and Rome for our summer trip if possible!
I love the last picture from the ramparts. Have you seen any posters or postcards with that view.
I am enjoying the trip very much!