Europe Travel

Palais des Papes

Palais des Papes, in Avignon, was fantastic to visit. It is a very important historical place for many reasons. The palace is one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings. It is impressive through its size, as a fortress and palace. On top of that it was a papal residence during the 14th century. In the summer the palace is open from 9 in the morning until 7 in the evenings, so there is plenty of time to visit it. The palace is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Palais des Papes

The palace entrance is on the right in this picture. The place is so busy that there are 2 entrances, for groups and individual visitors.

This was the home of nine Popes. First seven in the 14th century, during the Avignon Papacy period, 1309–1376. After that there were 2 popes in Avignon, during the schism – Clement VII (1378-1394) and Benedict XIII (1394-1423). A total of 25 rooms are open for the public to see. This is why I would suggest allowing for ~3 hours to see properly, to take the time to admire the artefacts, to sit for a few minutes in the garden.

walls

tower

ceiling

This gorgeous ceiling is in the first room, where visitors show their entrance tickets and pick up their guides. While I was waiting I looked up and took a couple of pictures. People around me looked up too and started snapping photos. It was funny. Sometimes is better to spend a bit of time waiting in the queue.

courtyard

One of the first things we saw was this gorgeous courtyard.

doors

In the palace there are a lot of artefacts, like these wooden cupboard doors. These are from the 14th or 15th century, so not original, but made about 100 years after the palace.

room

hall

The Hall is impressive.

door

Only in a few rooms pictures aren’t allowed. I took a picture of the door and then realised that the beautiful decorations can be seen in the back. The whole rooms are decorated like that. It’s very impressive and well worth visiting just to see those.

tiles

I liked these tiles too.

wall decorations

statues

There are a few statues.

statues

garden

A different ticket is needed for the garden, bought together with the palace. The garden is a recreation of the 14th century garden. It was fantastic to see the plants that they grew in the 14th century. All or almost all were edible, herbs, veggies, fruits. From the tower a bird-eye view of the garden is seen.

garden

tower

garden

guide

The guide, which is included in the entry fee, offers an augmented reality reconstruction of the rooms, with frescoes and furniture. It’s interesting, but I would have preferred more historical details.

door

outside

There is the possibility to climb the stairs and go outside, on the roof. It’s completely safe and comfortable, the stairs are neither too steep or too cramped.

palace from above

The palace is huge and from this place the views are lovely. I will share one or two in a round-up on Avignon.

gift shop

Gift shop, the last stop in the tour, has pretty amazing things for visitors, including medieval wine in ceramic bottles. I would have loved to take some, but we were flying and the idea of having wine splashed all over the clothes was enough to put me off trying to get any of these. There was some gorgeous crockery as well, but it was the same issue, trusting that will arrive in UK in one piece. I’m going to buy loads of stuff if we ever drive there.

2 Comment

  1. Just the sheer size of the interiors of places like this amazes me. I don’t know a lot about French history (other than the basics) or architecture, so I’m sure I would find it all interesting.

    I can remember having glassware (such as Murano glass) shipped home when traveling, but it might be expensive to do that now. And perhaps no guarantees about breakage.

    1. I might have tried with crockery, but not wine (especially red!). The crockery was very expensive, so I didn’t want to risk arriving with it in pieces.

      This palace is huge and so impressive. I loved visiting it.

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