Immigrant Popes


From 1309-1377 the popes moved from Rome to Avignon because of a dispute between France and Rome.  A French pope (Clement V) decided not to move to Rome and instead established his papacy in Avignon from where the next seven popes ruled. Gregory XI decided to move back to Rome.  Upon his death the new pope Urban VI was disliked by some cardinals who reestablished a papacy in Avignon for a short period and considered illegitimate and called anti-popes.  This lasted through two popes and ended in 1407.

Palais des Papes was home to all this and is the centerpiece of Avignon.  Many renovations adding portions and then taking portions away depending on the pope (or anti-pope) and lots of restorations some good and some not so good have taken place since.  Well documented for a visit with simulations, reading material, etc.

The Palais des Papes remained under Papal control until taken over by Napoleon.

The exterior you see shows many styles and features some of the additions and restorations, one of the primary restorations was the re-addition of the towers (pointed at the top) Most of what you see is what is called International Gothic style.
The exterior you see shows many styles and features some of the additions and restorations, one of the primary restorations was the re-addition of the towers (pointed at the top) Most of what you see is what is called International Gothic style.
This gives you some idea of the scale of the architecture (from the back).
This gives you some idea of the scale of the architecture (from the back).
One of the remaining painted ceilings.  This is an example of Trompe L'oeil (trick of the eye) and also of rib vaulting
One of the remaining painted ceilings. This is an example of Trompe L’oeil (trick of the eye) and also of rib vaulting
When you see a ceiling like this you understand that wooden ceilings are rare from this time period as they were susceptible to fire.
When you see a ceiling like this you understand that wooden ceilings are rare from this time period as they were susceptible to fire.
A view into the inner courtyard, notice the crenelations along the top edges, synonymous with the Middle Ages, decorative and useful for shooting through.
A view into the inner courtyard, notice the crenelations along the top edges, synonymous with the Middle Ages, decorative and useful for shooting through.
The Medieval version of the barrel bomb
The Medieval version of the barrel bomb
This architectural element gives you a sense of the decorative quality.
This architectural element gives you a sense of the decorative quality.
gargoyle in situ
Sorry for the blurriness but this gives you an idea of where the gargoyle might be found.
Used for obviously big occasions such as festivals and banquets.  The popes used 1/4 of their treasury on this building.  This is how it looks in its restored state.  The ceiling was recreated from frescoes of the time.
Used for obviously big occasions such as festivals and banquets. The popes used 1/4 of their treasury on this building. This is how it looks in its restored state. The ceiling was recreated from frescoes of the time.
The wall of the audience hall restores shows some of the Roman style arches.
The wall of the audience hall restores shows some of the Roman style arches.
This is a simulation of how the audience hall might have looked in its time.
This is a simulation of how the audience hall might have looked in its time.
This is a bit of wall painting left that is a great example of Trompe L'oeil.
This is a bit of wall painting left that is a great example of Trompe L’oeil.
Most of the frescoes that could be saved have been moved for safekeeping.  Here is a bit from the chapel.
Most of the frescoes that could be saved have been moved for safekeeping. Here is a bit from the chapel.
This chapel is 160ft long and is also an example of the International Gothic style.
This chapel is 160ft long and is also an example of the International Gothic style.
A mythological creature hybrid of a lion and dragon combined, specific to this region of Provence.  There is even a town called Tarasque.  The story associated with it is a kind of Beauty and the Beast legend.
A mythological creature hybrid of a lion and dragon combined, specific to this region of Provence. There is even a town called Tarasque. The story associated with it is a kind of Beauty and the Beast legend.
I particularly enjoyed this rendering in front of a closed door where they are renovating and restoring frescoes.  It is closed to the public but gives one a glimpse of how this may have looked in "its" day.
I particularly enjoyed this rendering in front of a closed door where they are renovating and restoring frescoes. It is closed to the public but gives one a glimpse of how this may have looked in “its” day.

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