Avignon, located in France, is famous for the Palias des Papes (Palace of the popes). Settled early in French history, the city overlooks the Rhone River and is name for the Avennius clan. Currently a popular tourist destination, the city has a population of approximately 300,000 people.
Tourists flock to here to take in some of the most renowned sites in all of Europe. Besides the Palais des Papas, the city is home to several famous churches including Notre Dame des Doms, St Pierre, St. Didier and St Agricol, all of which are excellent examples of churches built in the gothic Style. Avignon itself is surrounded by the famed ramparts, build under the direction of 14th century popes and the Hotel de Ville, or city hall built in 1610 is still one of the most popular sites.
The town is famous for a theater festival held each year. It is estimated that 100,000 people attend the Avignon Festival annually. This theater festival was founded in 1947 and in additional to traditional theatrical performances, dance, music, cinema and street performances make this a favored festival for those interested in the theater.
Avignon is the birth place of several famous French citizens. The race car driver Jean Alesi and well as author Henri Bosco were both born here. Most famous, Pierre Boulle of Plant of the Apes and The Bridge on the River Qwai, was also born in the town. Other famous Frenchmen, such as Mireille Mathieu, Alexandre de Rhodes, Joseph Vernet and Olivier Messiaen, were also born here.
Avignon’s rich history includes being home to the council of Avignon as well as the University of Avignon. One must not forget that many popes and anti-popes during the 14th and 15th century’s called this place their home.
A town rich in history and culture, Avignon is an excellent place to visit for those interested in history. Well worth the trip for the Palace of the Popes alone, the long history and traditions found here make for this town one of the most visited in Europe.