|Our last stop and one of the most amazing. The city is a UNESCO site. It is surrounded by 3 miles of wall built in the 14th century that has kept the flood waters out of the city. The main road around the exterior was once the moat. It has more than 60 towers and 13 gates and was built by the popes that lived here during the 14th century.
Because of the insecurity of Rome in the 1300s, Avignon became the papal seat. Clement V, the first born French Pope moved here in 1309. Seven popes lived here from 1309 to 1376.
The Papal Palace is one of the largest Gothic buildings in Europe, 50,000 square feet with 18 foot thick walls. It was built in less than 20 years. During the French Revolution it was used as a barracks and prison. During this time many of the statues were beheaded.
There are some beautiful frescos in the pope's bedroom and office. The tile floors are copies and beautiful. The dining room was huge, the kitchen seemed small but the chimney ceiling was very tall.
We walked the St. Benezet Bridge. This bridge had22 piers and was a 1000 yards long. It has been destroyed several times by floods and wars. In a flood in 1669 it was reduced to the 4 remaining piers and St. Nicholas chapel and not rebuilt. It was built for a shepherd that was told by an angel to build it. This shepherd is St. Benezet who is buried in the chapel. St. Nicholas is really 2 chapels built on top of each other.
We stopped at St. Pierre church which had some lovely frescos and stain glass.
We went to the covered market...I believe they had tongue from a dozen animals.
Avignon has a large theater and in July there are 1000 of productions every day. Many window are painted on buildings, our guide said this keeps taxes lower, as the more windows in a building the higher the taxes! Have to google that one!
Avignon has been our favorite stop on this trip.
Hard to believe 6 weeks ago we just started our adventures with elephant rides and hippo spotting in the river!
Tomorrow we take the train to the Paris airport! We will be back in the USA on Monday!