A town of modest size, Avignon is surprisingly full of wonderful things to see and do – so it was difficult for us to select just five of its best cultural must sees.
Palais des Papes – Dominating the town, the Palais des Papes is not so much of a ‘must see’, as a ‘can’t miss’. The home of seven popes in the 14th century, the palace has been wonderfully preserved – proudly serving as a performance and arts centre today. The largest Gothic palace in Europe, the Palais des Papes is recognised as one of the continent’s great architectural achievements. The splendour continues inside with delightful works of art – not least the beautiful ceiling murals of the Saint-Martial and Saint-Jean chapels.
Pont Saint-Bénézet – A widely recognised symbol of Avignon, the Pont Saint-Bénézet is a famous medieval bridge with a turbulent history. Dating back to the 12th century, the bridge took eight years to build, and only lasted 40 years before being destroyed in a siege. The bridge was rebuilt on a number of occasions over the next few hundred years, as the arches continued to collapse whenever the Rhône flooded. The Pont Saint-Bénézet was eventually abandoned in the 17th century, leaving just the four remaining arches, which survive to this day, and were thought to have been built around 1345 by Pope Clement VI.