Located on the Rhone River, Avignon may be one of the most famous ancient cities in the world today.
Surrounded by medieval ramparts, nearly 12,000 people still call the area of the ancient city their home. During the 14th century, there were seven popes who called this city their home, all in secession, and the town was actually sold to the papacy. It stayed under papal control until the French Revolution in the 18th century made it part of France.
The buildings in Avignon might be old, especially from within the ancient walls, but they have been restored to their previous glory. That makes a visit here especially tempting! Here is what you can expect with a visit to this magnificent city!
A Visit to the Ramparts Is Perfect for History Buffs
Dating to the 14th century, the ramparts that were built by the popes still protect the core of Avignon and are one of the best preserved examples of medieval fortification that exists in the world today. There are 39 massive towers and several gateways that surround the old city, and three of those gates also date back to the 14th century. The walls have been fully restored and there are numerous battlements on display that make for amazing photo opportunities.
There are a number of ancient bridges to see in Avignon as well. The most famous of these bridges is that Pont Saint-Benezet, which is more popularly known as the Pont d’Avignon. Only four arches of this 12th century bridge remain as it projects out into the river. The Rhone floods easily and bridgework was very costly, so by the 17th century everyone got tired of paying to maintain the bridge yearly and so it was abandoned. Today is makes for a striking image, so much so that it has been a historical monument in France since 1840.
What Could You See On a Walking Tour?
There are numerous surprises awaiting visitors who are willing to throw on a pair of comfortable shoes and explore on their own. You might see a couple of people calling down to your from a balcony, but as you get close you’ll realist that they are actually statutes. There are numerous paintings on the facades of buildings all over town and the medieval influence throughout the city provides for a number of hidden gems that will pull you back to Avignon at every opportunity.
If you’re looking for a fun and unique museum to explore, we recommend the Calvet Museum, who was a 19th century physician who left his entire collection of belongings to the town. There in a good collection of metalwork and paintings to see in the museum and there are over 140k books within the collections library. The Small Palace Museum has a good collection of Renaissance paintings to see as well.
Avignon is a city that has beckoned to people throughout time for a visit. Today it beckons you! Will you plan your trip today?
Protruding from the riverbank, the Pont d’Avignon is testament of the sands of time. Built in the fourteenth-century in support of a developing township, this charismatic bridge was relentlessly plundered by the ceaseless course of the Rhone, ultimately succumbing in the seventeenth-century when preservation was considered no longer viable. Today it remains as a monument to the triumph of the river and is perhaps the most instantly recognisable feature of Avignon.