Palais de Papes

In 1503, Pope Clement decided to move the papacy to Avignon, France, but there was a conundrum of trying to decide where he would reside. While Philip IV wanted him close, he did not want to share his court with the head of his church. Clement had to find somewhere to house the papacy, and he settled on the elder bishop’s palace. He began construction but it would not be built into much during his occupancy. He died in 1514 and those who succeeded him did not do much with it until Benedict XII came to power in 1335 and constructed one of the two palaces: Palais Vieux. Clement VI would finish the castle by building the Palais Neuf. It is one of the largest Gothic palaces to still be standing. The artwork inside was most murals that reflected on the politics of the day. Avignon would remain the home of the papacy until 1378 when it was finally returned to Rome. It remained in the control of the Pope until the French Revoloution when it was ransacked and left to wither until restoration efforts began in the 1990s. Today it still stands, a symbol of the trials the papacy faced during this century, and one of France’s most toured castles. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and sits along the Rhône river and the bridge in the photos is another UNESCO site: a bridge named Pont Saint-Bénézet.

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Notable Sources:

  • “A History of the Popes.” Google Books, Google, 
  • “The Popes’ Palace of Avignon.” The Popes’ Palace of Avignon | Avignon Et Provence, 
  • “Sacred Destinations.” Palais Des Papes – Avignon, France, 
  • Ledsom, Alex. “The Story Behind Palais Des Papes, the World’s Largest Medieval Gothic Palace.” Culture Trip, The Culture Trip, 6 Nov. 2017, 
  • Photos are from wikicommons
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