Avignon, France…with Paula Gilhooley

Avignon is the French city of Popes.  The area was settled very early in 121BC by the Romans who named it Aveno.  Situated on the Rhone river it was a significant location for trade on the river.  The barbarians at the end of the 3rd century kicked the romans our and in 561, Avignon was annexed to the Frankish kingdom of Burgundy.  In the 8th century the the city was liberated from the Franks.

The turning point of the city was when Pope Clement V made Avignon the Permanent residence of the Popimg_1012es.  The Popes Palace is one of the most visited spots in France.  It is one of the biggest medieval buildings in Europe.  Its size testifies to the wealth of the Papacy.

The present day walls around the city were begun in 1335 by Innocent the VI who began the walls to enclose the settlement.  The perimeter measures 4,330 meters.  There were seven goes equipped with wooden vents spiked with iron and closed each evening.  The gates were dominated by towers and their drawbridges had spikes added for extra protection.  The walls are 8 meters high garnished with battlements and slits.  It was reinforced by 35 towers and 50 smaller intermediate towers.

A second palace, The Petit Palas was begun in 1314 as a palace for the archbishops of Avignon.


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