Nine popes lived in and rule from Avignon during the 1300’s, making the city a major political and spiritual capital of the western world and giving rise to a significant architectural heritage much of which is today ranked as UNESCO Heritage for Humanity.
In the 17th century, Avignon remained an important crossroads of Italian and French art, and drew many artists. Long a land of refuge, Avignon was a thriving business centre, attracting foreigners, religious communities, artists, brokers, bankers and even political exiles such as Petrarch in the 1300’s. Art and architecture flourished.
Avignon lies on the Rhone river and is surrounded by 4.5 km of stone ramparts built as of 1355. Impressive, majestic Palace of the Popes overlooks the centre city, and above the Palace, the Doms Gardens afford magnificent views far and wide. The historical centre city is a meander of narrow winding streets, beautiful city mansions, and shady squares with sidewalk cafés from which to watch the world go by.