The historic centre of the town, the Popes’ Palace, the Episcopal complex and the Saint Bénézet bridge are listed as world heritage sites by UNESCO.
Originally Forum d’Avenio – the Roman town in the 1st century BC. – the Place de l’Horloge remains the “centre” of Avignon.
Here is the Town Hall, built between 1845 and 1851 on the site of a former cardinal’s livery, from which the old fortified tower, transformed into a belfry in the 15th century, and the Jacquemart clock have been preserved. Next door, the municipal theatre, also from the 19th century, houses the Avignon Opera and at the very top of the square, the pretty Belle Époque carrousel.
A meeting place, lined with café terraces and restaurants, the square is always very lively. Just like the Place du Palais higher up, a vast esplanade, which in summer is filled with street acrobats.
And as its name suggests, here is the formidable Palais des Papes, emblem of the city and monumental witness of the importance of Avignon in the Christian world in the Middle Ages.
Built from 1335 onwards, mainly by two popes, the austere Benedict XII and his successor, the much less ascetic Clement VI, the palace became the largest Gothic building in all of Europe. The visit, which includes the private flats with their fabulous frescoes, is one of the must-see-things in Avignon.