The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Spring 2022

Discover Paris in the spring, Caen in Normandy and its marvellous markets plus Yvoire, a picturesque village on the edge of Lake Geneva in Haute-Savoie. Explore Saint-Omer, a historic city in the far north that's full of secrets and treasures, and Evian, where Frankenstein's monster stayed! Head with us to Metz in Lorraine to find out about its incredible past, La Couvertoirade, one of the prettiest villages in France, and the UNESCO heritage of Avignon. Guides, gorgeous photos, what's new in France, the best tours and delicious recipes from the legendary Le Nôtre bakery in Paris - and more.

For many, the first

For many, the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of Avignon in Provence is the well-known French children’s song about dancing on a bridge in the city: “sur le pont d’Avignon, l’on y danse, l’on y danse”. But did you know that the 12th century bridge is UNESCO listed? And it’s not the only UNESCO-listed site in this medieval city… The UNESCO-listed sites of Avignon Palais des Papes and the Place du Palais From 1309 to 1377 Avignon was the seat of seven successive Catholic Popes beginning with Clement V, a Frenchman. Unrest in Rome and politics played a part in the decision to move papal power to Provence. Of course the Popes had to have somewhere suitable to live. The monumental Palais des Papes, the Popes’ Palace, was built between 1335 to 1352 and over the years there were more modifications. Jean Froissart, a 14th century chronicler and writer who visited Avignon, described it as “the most beautiful and strongest house in the world” and it housed Europe’s largest library at the time. It wasn’t cheap to build, costing 400,000 Livres (the French currency at the time), six times what Pope Clement VI spent when he bought the city of Avignon from Johanna, Countess of Provence, in 1348 – the city was only reclaimed by France in 1793. Set in the immense Place du Palais, the palace is as big as five cathedrals with a whopping 15,000 m² of floor space (three times the size of the White House in Washington DC). It is the biggest Gothic palace in the world. When the Papal court was moved back to Rome, dissident cardinals in Avignon “elected” 50 | The Good Life France

two more Popes to reign in France, it split the church for 39 years, but in the end Rome was the victor. The Popes Palace in Avignon became a residence for visiting dignitaries and fell into disrepair. During the French Revolution it became a prison and then was turned into a barracks for Napoleon’s soldiers. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the magnificence of the building was once again recognised and it became a public museum in 1906. Twenty-five rooms in the palace are open to visitors including the former Indulgence Window where the Pope gave blessings to the crowds below, the grand formal rooms which held banquets and ceremonies, the Treasury, the private chapels and apartments with priceless frescoes. Petit Palais The palace is surrounded by other monuments including the former residence of Bishops, known as the Petit Palais. It’s not actually that petit and covers an impressive 3000 m² with two inner courtyards. It was rebuilt in the 15th century on the site of a former palace built to house Archbishop Julien de la Rovère who later became Pope Jules II. It’s now a museum with an extensive collection of artworks of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance including works by Botticelli and Carpaccio. Notre-Dame des Doms Cathedral Next to the Palais des Papes is the Cathedral of Notre Dame des Doms, which was built in 1150 in the Provençal Romanesque style and predates the Papal complex. Gothic style chapels were added between the 14th and 17th centuries. Atop the cathedral’s bell tower, a 20-foot gilded statue of the Virgin Mary presides over the surroundings. ©F Olliver © Empreintes Dailleur The Good Life France | 51

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