The Palace of Popes, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, is situated in Avignon, in the south of France, 1 hour from Marseille and 2 ½ hours from Lyon.
It was the European capital of culture in 2000.
The construction of the Palace began in 1335 and is the largest gothic building in the Middle Ages. It was supervised by two Popes, giving the Palace the appearance of a Christian fortress: ramparts, keep, moat, grand and sumptuous chapel…everything is there. The Palace was the seat of the papacy from 1309 to 1423 when the popes seated in Avignon before returning to Rome. Six conclaves were held here electing the Popes Benedict XII, Clement VI, Innocent VI, Urban V, Gregory XI and Benedict XIII. The return to Rome was for political reasons following a decided improvement in the relations between Catholics and Orthodox.
Today the Palace of Popes is open to the public. Avignon is known for its listing as World Heritage site as well as for the famous Festival of Avignon. This festival is today one of the most important international events for contemporary shows, of which several are in the Palace of Popes. Every year Avignon hosts exceptional artists.