Today we travel another charming place for lovers of medieval cities, for those who love lost between its narrow streets, crossing centuries back in history and to seek opportunities to encounter a gentleman entering the city victorious, or a lady who tell us the most mysterious legends that we could never imagine. Today stroll through Avignon, southeast France, 653 kilometers from Paris and Marseilles 80.
Avignon was and is known primarily for being the residence of the popes in 1309, when the city was under the power of the kings of Sicily. Until 1791 the city became papal territory, no past and France joined the French Revolution.
All this history of conflict and goings has allowed Avignon is one of the most beautiful cities in France. Its architecture, its buildings and its artistic heritage makes it one of the most interesting sites of European Gothic.
Avignon is a city where the antiquity of its streets, beautifully preserved, full of life, full of art (not for nothing it is celebrated in the month of July, one of the most important theater festivals in the world) youth and music. All this we can find in this city, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
When we went through the Gate of the walls of the Old City, leaving on our right the river Rhone, it’s like to leave behind the world in which we find ourselves and we lie in the Middle Ages. A series of cobbled streets, we are open to our step, steep streets in maze, old houses, small churches and convents. A host of architectural and decorative elements. But not only that, but Avignon is a city tremendously alive. Multitude of terraces, cafes, small street theater companies, a whole range of possibilities to make the visit to the city in a very pleasant trip.
Legend has it that a shepherd named Benezet was a divine revelation in him that had to build a bridge in the city. He came to the church at that time that protected the city for the express disclosure. The church, as a mockery of his madness, he was told to charge him with a big rock, to serve as a bridge, and placed them in the River. Benezet, with its own strength, miraculously lifted a huge rock, and heavenly lights, placed on the River. So tell the people of Avignon to build one of its most symbolic monuments, the Bridge of Avignon.
It was built in 1177. No longer performs the function for which it was made, since only four arches that sotienen when originally had 22. So, cut to half of the river, although it remains an authentic place of worship for the tourists who come to watch him and listen to the various legends attributed to him.
Another essential visit in Avignon is the Palace of the Popes, a grand building full of history. Magnificent piece of Gothic of the fifteenth century, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The walls of the Palace are 8 meters high, with over 80 towers of all styles.
When we come to it we can see the magnificence of the whole, stressing its facade, a profusion of arches, pointed towers and battlements. Behind the facade, lies the Great Hall where pontiffs were their more illustrious visitors. At the entrance, we offer a telephone receiver so that we can continue in Castilian explanations that give us all the rooms open to the visit. The entrance to the venue costs 7.50 euros, and includes a visit to Bridge.
From the city center of Avignon, we can highlight, in addition to its labyrinthine network of streets, the Cathedral, the Gothic style and houses the tomb of John XII. Is located at the back of the Bridge. The Petit Palais, which was the residence of cardinals and bishops, today a museum with major works by Botticelli. Moreover, the Palace Veux, Cistercian order, very austere, and the New Palace, much more heavy and flamboyant than the last.
Thus, Avignon become inexcusable for a place to visit all those lovers of the Middle Ages, those who want to get lost among steep lanes, with the towers of the Palace of the Popes standing, looking at the horizon the light of the Rhone, the Bridge in Avignon sighs but does not launch legends.
How to get there?
We can reach Avignon by plane, specifically its Avignon Caumont airport. Located 8 kilometers from the city, and 4 received four daily flights from Paris Orly. Still, Air France and Iberia fly daily from Madrid to Barcelona and Marseilles, which lies 80 kilometers from Avignon.
We can choose the high-speed train linking Paris and French Avignon in just over two hours and a half.