A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the palace is one of the largest medieval Gothic buildings in Europe, and was home to 9 successive Popes throughout the 14th Century.
A historic build
Taking less than 20 years (1335 – 1352) to build this immense religious 15,000m2 building is equal to the size of 4 individual Gothic cathedrals. Approach the imposing walls and four impressive towers, and admire the 14th century Church’s show of influence and power; truly colossal. It was the Palais des Papes that symbolised and exerted the extensive power held by the Pope, from a city that was once the capital of Christianity.
Out of the 9 Popes that resided in Avignon, the Papes Bâtisseurs (or Builder Popes) were Pope Benoit XII who built the Palais Vieux (Old Palace) and Pope Clément VI, who was responsible for the Palais Neuf (New Palace).
The Precious Pontifical Palace
Today the palace tours give visitors the chance to see some of this colossal edifice for themselves. 25 rooms lie in wait for those looking to discover the Palais des Papes and its extraordinary architecture. Feast your eyes on extravagant signed watercolour paintings from the most important artists of the French and Italian schools of the time - including Matteo Giovannetti. Admire the best examples in the Salle de la Grande Audience as well as in the Saint Martial and Saint Jean chapels.
- The Consistoire (Audience Room)
- The Grande Chapelle (Great Chapel)
- The Grand Tinel (Banquet Hall)
- The private apartments of the Pope: the Papal Bedroom and the Stag Room
Last but not least, rendez-vous on the terraces of the Palais des Papes.
From this height, the view is superb: take in the city of Avignon, the Rhône River and the famous Pont d’Avignon... and of course the palace itself!
Bringing history to life
A visit to the palace is designed to be fun and interactive, with the aide of 7 mini films and a multimedia audio-guide available in 11 different languages. The videos will unlock the secrets of this incredible palace - in 3D - taking in the political, religious and cultural contexts of the time, the Popes that marked the site’s history, and the transformation of the palace into barracks during the French Revolution, before ending with its most recent renovations.
The Palais des Papes is also part of Avignon’s thriving cultural scene and hosts concerts and exhibitions as well as the Festival d’Avignon in its courtyard, making it an integral part of the city’s modern artistic traditions.