City of Avignon

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Avignon

Avignon (map) is the prefecture of the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of Southeastern France. Avignon is famous as the city to which the Popes fled when leaving the corruption of Rome in the 14th century.

Between 1309 and 1377, during the Avignon Papacy, seven successive popes resided in Avignon and in 1348 Pope Clement VI bought the town from Joanna I of Naples. Papal control persisted until 1791 when, during the French Revolution, it became part of France.

The historic centre, which includes the Palais des Papes (map), the cathedral and the Pont d’Avignon (map), became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The medieval monuments and the annual Festival d’Avignon have helped to make the town a major centre for tourism.

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Avignon is on the left bank of the Rhône river, about 580 km (360 mi) south-east of Paris, 229 km (142 mi) south of Lyon and 85 km (53 mi) north-north-west of Marseille.

The city teemed with activity and building as architects, builders, artists flocked to the town. At that time, within the city walls there were over 100 churches and chapels – many of which have been transformed since then into everything from shops to a movie theatre! The wealth and activity generated by the presence of the papacy spilled out into the region, so that even small villages nearby boast a rich architectural past.

The city walls (map), built by the popes in the 14th century and still encircle Avignon. They are one of the finest examples of medieval fortification in existence. The walls are of great strength and are surmounted by machicolated battlements flanked at intervals by 39 massive towers and pierced by several gateways, three of which date from the 14th century.

Calvet Museum (map), so named after Esprit Calvet, a physician who in 1810 left his collections to the town. It has a large collection of paintings, metalwork and other objects. The library has over 140,000 volumes.

Musée du Petit Palais (map) at the end of the square overlooked by the Palais des Papes, has an exceptional collection of Renaissance paintings of the Avignon school as well as from Italy.

Public transport of Avignon

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PEM Avignon – public transport

+ GETTING HERE (avignon-tourisme.com)

 BUS >   Avignon is connected to most other European cities with Eurolines. sobus.travel — sells bus tickets for all the bus companies. OuibusIsilinesFlixBusEurolinesMegabus >> (*Intercity buses in France)

 RAIL >   Gare d’Avignon Centre (Avignon central station, map). Gare d’Avignon TGV (Avignon TGV Station, map).

Trains are a great way to get around in France. For regional trains, schedules can be found at ter.sncf.com. You can get from pretty much anywhere to anywhere else by train. For long distances, use the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse, or High-speed train) on which reservations are obligatory. TGVThelloOuigo. + RailEurope • EurostarThalysizy (Paris-Brussels) • TGV Lyria (Switzerland) • DB (Germany) • RENFE (Barcelona) >> *Rail travel in France

 AIRPORTS >   parisaeroport.fr – Paris airport information.

 WATERWAYS >   Brittany FerriesP&O FerriesDFDS Seaways

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