A little history of place de l'Horloge in Avignon

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The square - ©Véronique PAGNIER / CC-BY-SA The square - ©Véronique PAGNIER / CC-BY-SA
Place de l'Horloge in Avignon Street District

The current place de l’Horloge ("Clock square") is the former place du Grand-Marché, magnum macellum in Latin, the "public butcher": the main city square in the Middle-Ages! The current square was laid out in 1743 by Jean-Baptiste Franque.

The clock

On this square, we had the city hall and its clock, first: the first city hall was founded in 1447, here, then razed in 1844... except its tower raised in 1471, transformed into a belfry in 1481: a square tower with 3 floors.

Before the transformation, cardinal Ardouin Aubert, pope Innocent VI’s nephew, fit it out between 1353 and 1363. They put their archives on the second floor, fit out a chapel on the first floor and a watch tower on the third one. But, belfry meant... jacquemarts!

You know, those small characters who rang hours with their little hammer... In this tower, we had jacquemarts. During the Revolution, they even wore Phrygian hats! In 1848, Jacques and Jacquotte were replaced by the current wooden statues (we still can see the original ones in the Roure museum in Avignon).

The square's successive landscapings

Then, we have Calvet de La Palun city house, nowadays occupies by the French Bank, raised between 1789 and 1796 by Jean-Pierre Franque.

Here we had the city theatre, raised in 1823 to replace the small theatre of the Crillon square in Avignon (destroyed by a fire in 1846 then rebuilt by Feuchères and Charpentier). The façade’s decorations were made by Parisians Klagmann and Chenillon.

You’ll recognize allegories of rivers Durance and Vaucluse, flank by statues of king René, poet Petrarch, writers Corneille and Molière! We also found on the square a statue of the brave Crillon by sculptor Louis Veray.

Primitively, this one was raised on the place de l’Horloge, then in front of the Pope’s palace at the end of the 19th century: nowadays we can see it in the small village of Crillon-le-Brave (Vaucluse)...


And also!