This 14th-century palace is the cultural centrepiece of Avignon. The UNESCO World Heritage site is home to priceless frescoes, one-of-a-kind architecture and breathtaking views of the medieval Provencal city and its surroundings.
The small, bustling city of Avignon is world renowned thanks to its main attraction, the Palais des Papes (Papal Palace). Constructed between the years of 1335 and 1355, it is the largest Gothic palace in Europe, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the top attractions in the whole of mainland France. And it only takes a fleeting glance at the Avignon city skyline to see just how magnificent the structure is, and just why it is so popular with tourists from all over the globe.
The palace itself is a gigantic 161,458 square feet, and it boasts 12 individual towers, flying buttresses, and crenelated walls which provide tourists with a breathtaking spectacle.
Included with your entrance ticket, you will be given a ‘HistoPad’, a state of the art tablet which uses augmented reality and 3D technology to enhance your tour of the palace. The HistoPad brings the palace to life by showing virtual reconstructions of inaccessible rooms, providing key historical information relevant to each part of the tour, and allowing you to see the rooms as they would have been decorated in their Medieval glory. For younger visitors, there is even a digital treasure hunt with the palace's own virtual mascot to keep everybody entertained as they explore the site.
Throughout your tour of the palace, you will be invited into more than 25 rooms: from chapels, to bedchambers, to banqueting suites, and all the meticulously well-kept passages in between. As you make your way around the building, you will learn about the origins of the palace, the various popes who lived there, and their individual impacts on the building that we see today.Not only this, but you will hear tales of the battles within the Church which led to Avignon being at the centre of the western Christian world during the 14th century, and have the opportunity to view the invaluable frescoes of Matteo Giovannetti, who acted as painter to the pope, which adorn the walls and ceilings of some of the rooms.
You will also have a chance to explore the courtyard and roof terraces which offer unparalleled views of the city, the Pont Saint-Bénézet and the Rhone river, and will find a café-bar serving hot and cold drinks, regional products, patisseries and sandwiches - perfect for the balmy summer afternoons.
The palace is home to various events and tours throughout the year, but it is well worth a visit in its own right. Whether you have just enough time to pass by and see the towering medieval walls, or you can dedicate an entire afternoon to exploring everything the palace has to offer, make sure to tick Avignon's main attraction off your list.
Place du Palais des Papes, 84000, Avignon, France