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25 rooms on the tour

The Palace of the Popes is the biggest building ever built during the Gothic period. It stands in powerful testimony to the presence of 9 popes who lived in and reigned from Avignon in the 1300’s. Construction of the Palace took less than 20 years, and took place between 1335 and 1352. Two popes were the primary builders of the Palace: Pope Benedict XII, who built the first pontifical palace (now referred to as the “Old Palace”), and Pope Clement VI who built new extensions, referred to as the “New Palace”.

A visit to the palace shows you the steps and techniques involved in the construction of this extraordinary building and in its past decors. It shows you how temporal and spiritual power was wielded by the papacy, and introduces you to the popes and the powerful leaders of the times who left their imprint on this palace. Relive the cultural influence of the times and the ceremonial lifestyle of the pontifical court.

More than 25 rooms are open to the public: rooms such as the Grande Audience Hall and the Consistory where hearings were held; ceremonial rooms of extraordinary dimensions such as the Great Clementine Chapel which held official events and liturgical services, and banquet rooms such as the Grand Tinel. The palace visit also takes you into the private apartments where the pope lived, including the Papal Chamber and the Stag Room, decorated with frescoes on a naturalistic, secular theme that was totally unique for the time. It includes the Saint Martial and Saint John chapels, painted with priceless frescoes by the Italian artist Matteo Giovannetti. You also see the rooftop terraces which provide stunning views of the Palace, the city of Avignon and the Rhone River.

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The Popes'Palace
Popes' Palace square The Popes'Palace
Great Tinel
Benoît XII Cloister
Great Audience
Cloister stairs
Champeaux's door