Results 1-9of 9 Reviews
Rotherham, United Kingdom
August 10, 2012
From journal Medieval Beauty
November 1, 2011
From journal Weekend in Avignon
March 31, 2009
From journal A Short Trip to the Vaucluse
by Liam Hetherington
Manchester, United Kingdom
August 2, 2008
From journal Provence: A Home From Rome
July 26, 2008
From journal Sur le Pont d'Avignon
June 11, 2006
We took a guided tour of the palace and although we benefited from a highly informative trip I do think it was somewhat rushed. We had no real time to ponder before being moved to the next stage of the tour. We started in the old guardroom which had a fine allegorical mural on one wall and the Papal coat of arms (three golden bees) on another. Next a look at the pope’s audience hall, which interestingly took on a less spiritual existence as an arsenal in the 17th century, before moving into the "Courtyard of Honour". I find enclosed courtyards very serene as even with parties of tourists the brouhaha seems to evaporate into the heavens, but this one has sinister overtones as it is capped with the "angel’s tower" and a small military fort. Was this papal paranoia or a real threat to the papacy?The Consistory hall was where the pope used to meet with his cardinals. It houses some fine frescoes and displays portraits of all the popes who lived in Avignon. The Grand Tinel or Banqueting Hall is a huge space (45m by 10 m) with beautifully fitted wooden panelling built into the shape of an inverted hull. Apparently this was originally swathed in blue cloth covered with a liberal scattering of golden stars. The other members of the party inadvertently gave us a clue of the cacophony that would have occurred in this massive dining area when the pope met with his religious colleagues. You can be assured that they would neither have skimped on food, drink nor entertainment. The main contributor to the Palace's artwork was Matteo Giovanetti. In the Tinel Chapel the frescoes depict the life of St. Martial and the detail on the figures together with a real "modern" perspective confirm his ranking as a first class Italian painter of his day. The "Stag Chamber," originally the study of Clement VI, is absolutely superb with secular frescoes showing stag and ferret hunting, falconry, bird snaring, fishing and a great vista of forest life. All under an intricate 14th-century ceiling and set off against a beautiful array of sensitively restored ceramic tiles.
Clement had a real taste for high living and wanted his visitors to be both impressed and in awe of him and his environment. The Great Audience Hall is confirmation of this fact!
From journal Around and about Avignon
Riverview, New Brunswick
October 22, 2003
On this visit, I was not disappointed. Having successfully found lodgings, we got to the Palais des Papes, and this time it was open and it was magnificent. It is impressive just for its size and I felt that I was in one of the premier sights of France.
The Palais was built in the 14th century for the papacy when seven French Popes chose Avignon over Rome. When an Italian, Urban VI became pope and moved the papacy back to Rome, the French selected their own pope and the Great Schism was born.
The Palais itself will disappoint if the visitor is expecting a lot of papal finery and a rich setting. The site is quite bare, stripped of its trappings. The tour here is with an audioguide and so it is at the visitor’s pace, in the visitor’s language, and is extremely informative. After entering the palace through the Port des Champeaux, the visitor moves to the Courtyard of Honour and on to a series of rooms. Most notable, in the rear of the palace is the Chapelle Saint-Jean, the walls of which are covered with frescos. By now it will have occurred to the visitor that the place is really unfurnished, so anything beautiful will relieve the monotony. After passing through the cloister, you will enter the Grand Tinel, the banqueting hall. Again, the walls are decorated and the hall is a massive 135 feet long. At that point, the visitor begins to move from the fortress-like Old Palace (pre-1342) to the New Palace. In the new palace you will see the pope’s room with its beautifully tiled walls and become acquainted with the life-style of the pontiffs. As one passes, it is always the massiveness of the structure that appeals in the Grand Chapel, the Staircase of Honor and the Great Audience Hall.
The palace is a must-see, for both its history and its size. Having finished your visit of the palace you will be torn by your options. If you need refreshment, go to the Place de l’Horloge (to the left of the main entrance). Otherwise, go to the Rocher des Doms (to the right) for the view of the river and the Pont Saint Benezet.
From journal Avignon, Arles, Aigues Mortes, Nimes and the Bouches du Rhone
by Bob Nicholls
July 2, 2002
The edifice is giant and fortress-like, with one part being fancier and another more austere, due to the influence of different popes. It might not be as fancy as some palaces, but keep in mind that it dates from the 14th century and this may explain its somewhat blocky nature.
Discover more about the era from 1307 to 1377 when the papacy temporarily abandoned Rome, supposedly because of its corruption. The individual hand-held audioguides assist immensely (in your choice of 7 languages) in commenting on the popes who resided there, frescoes, architecture, and general history. You will have to use your imagination to envision what the inside could have looked like in the 1300's, since little furniture remains. Regardless, you can wander through the Great Chapel, cloister, towers, kitchen, Pope's Chamber, and many other halls and rooms, imagining the glory that must have existed here, despite the presence of the Black Plague in the middle of the 14th century.
The courtyard of the Palace is also host to dramatic and musical presentations during the summer months, a wonderful and unique venue for such productions.
The palace is a fascinating piece of history and remains an important part of Papal Provence many centuries after having been built, an important site to visit while in Avignon.
From journal Discovering Provence
March 8, 2002
From journal 1 day at Avignon