Palace of the popes

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The Palace of the popes  (or Palais des Papes) is one of the wonders of Avignon, a commune of the Vaucluse department in the South of France. It dominates both the town and the left bank of the Rhône. This superb gothic palace and its unique setting are listed as a world Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is amongst the ten most visited historical monuments in France. Serving both as palace and fortress, it is in the historic centre of the city. The Palais which was built on the Rocher des Doms, is made up of the Cathedral des Doms, thePetit Palais and its 4.3 kilometre long ramparts. The city which has been a place of Christian worship for more than a century is known as the "Cité des Papes" or City of the Popes. In fact the Palais was constructed in 1335 over twenty years by two successive popes Benoît XII and Clément VI. It was to become the residence of nine popes. This monument is the largest gothic palace in the world, with a surface area of 15,000 m2, the equivalent of four cathedrals. Around it there is a magnificent square “la Place du Palais”. There are twenty areas which are open to visitors, including the pope’s private apartments with its amazing frescoes by Matteo Giovannetti, the chapel and the gardens. Cultural events are held at the Palais all year round. The Palais’ courtyard is the setting for prestigious theatre productions during the Festival d’Avignonwhich was set up by Jean Villars in 1947, and which attracts numerous tourists every summer. invites you for One Day in Provence by TGV. Part of this special day is a priority access visit to the Palais des Papes.