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A little history of Popes' palace in Avignon

The palace | DianeHue / CC-BY-SA
Town house Popes' palace in Avignon

Clement V, who became pope in 1305, couldn't stay in Rome any more. He moved in the quiet city of Avignon in 1309.

8 popes succeeded one another for one century, each time extending their palace. Clement V decided to raise a new surrounding wall on the primitive wall, in 1348. It was completed in 1377 when popes left Avignon.

In 1334, Benedict XII asked architect Pierre Poisson to build the current fortified palace.

The old one was destroyed in order to raise instead bigger buildings, called "Old palace". 10 years later, Jean de Louvres erected the "New palace" for Clement VI: he added 10 square towers to the buildings, and everything was completed in 1363.

It's a real fortress (15 000 square metres!): just imagine an inner decoration with coloured and glazed soils, rich tapestries on walls...

The chambre du Cerf ("Stag's bedroom"), which used to belong to Clement VI, is the more magnificent room, with big frescos representing hunting and hawking's delights... What an uncommon theme, for a pope!

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!