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Avignon

 

Destination Avignon

The medieval town Avignon, former capital of Christianity, is situated in the Provence region on the south bank of the Rhone River. Due to political restlessness and constant riots Pope Clement V and his court decided to change Rome for Avignon, as their permanent residence. For more then 70 years the city has been an important religious center and one of the wealthiest cities of medieval Europe. Starting in 1335 and built in less then 20 years, the Popes’ Palace is the biggest Gothic palace in all of Europe. This magnificent palace has approximately the size of 4 Gothic cathedrals.

Ever heard of the song Sur Le Pont d´Avignon, on y danse, on y danse? These lyrics of the well-known French children song refer to the bridge Saint Bénezet, the bridge of Avignon. The bridge originally crossed the Rhone River and connected the city of Avignon with Villenueve-les-Avignon. Nowadays the remarkable bridge has only 4 of the original 22 pillars left, due to floodwaters. Built in the 12th century, the bridge of Avignon remains an interesting sight.

The famous Avignon Theatre Festival is the summer's not-to-be-missed cultural happening. The goal of this spectacular festival is to promote French and foreign Art productions, featuring theatre, dance, circus, poetry, film, exhibitions and classical and contemporary music. The courtyard of the Popes Palace hosts the festival’s most prestigious performances, while various theatres and churches host others. Each year in July this major event takes place and offers a stage to upcoming and renowned talent in Avignon. This Mecca of Theatre attracts many visitors each year to watch all the dancers, actors and street artist perform.