The monument's interior was almost entirely decorated by Matteo Giovannetti at the request of Clément VI. The official painter created major compositions testifying to the attempts at bridge-building between Avignon and Rome: the Saint-Martial Chapel and Saint-Jean Chapel.
Master in the art of frescoes, Giovannetti invented his own language. His virtuosity and his perfect and innovative mastery of portraiture enabled him to create works dedicated to the prophets Saint-Jean and Saint-Martial.
The whole palace contains numerous treasures, as much architectural as pictorial. In Clément VI's apartments, for example, can be found previously unseen naturalistic decor representing a dark forest and many hunting and fishing methods.
Today, all this work represents a panorama of painting from the mid-14th century which is unique in France. Over the course of a visit, you will be able to explore the great chapel of Benoît XII, the papal apartments and the great staircase, among other things.
Even if you spend hours wandering around admiring these masterpieces of religious art, the place is so vast and rich that you are unlikely to cover more than 40% of the palace.
Moreover, since the major exhibition of Picasso's work in 1947 (the first to be organised in the Palace), international level summer art exhibitions have been put on show for the public (Botero in 1993, Dubuffet in 1994, Picasso in 1995, Rodin in 1996, interwoven stories in 97, beauty in 2000, etc.). The Popes' Palace in Avignon also hosts many other events like concerts, temporary exhibitions and, of course, the famous Avignon Festival, for which the Cour d'Honneur is fully transformed into an auditorium. For more than 50 years (the first festival was held in 1947), plays and classical ballet shows to promote lesser known works and contemporary texts have been performed at this magnificent place.
RMG - 6, rue Pente Rapide - Charles Ansidei, 84000 Avignon, France.
Tel.: (+33) (0)4 90 27 50 00.
The Palais des Papes is actually a combination of two buildings.© Zechal / 123RF
"We wouldn't be able to conceive anything more beautiful in its simplicity and more grandiose in its conception."© Jacques van Dinteren / iStock
This entry in the 'Reasoned Dictionary of French Architecture from the 11th to the 16th century' was written by Viollet-le-Duc about the main door and its turrets.© Pascal ANTOINE
The Palais des Papes has a total of 12 towers.© Zechal / 123RF
The main courtyard of the Palais des Papes is the emblematic site of the Festival of Avignon.© GRAPHICOBSESSION