La Rue des Teinturiers (Dyers Street), Avignon

La Rue des Teinturiers (Dyers Street), Avignon (must see)

Down by the River Sorgue there is a canal, the Vaucluse channel. The channel leads water from the river through the city walls to the street of the Dyers of Avignon. From the 14th to the 19th century this street was a very busy place. There was intense textile manufacturing activity.

Twenty-three water wheels provided the power to wash, rinse and dye silk and other fabrics. The street gained the sobriquet "Street of the Wheels." Today there are only four wheels left and they are not operating.

On the the eastern end of the street of the Dyers there is the very strange Maison du IV de Chiffre ("House of digit four"). It is one Avignon's oldest remaining buildings made in the Gothic style. Built in 1493, it is noted for its crenelated cornice with two watchtowers and drainpipes in the shape of gargoyles.

The figure "IV" is carved into the facade between the ground floor windows. It has a heart impaled with a dart and the crosses of St Andrew and Lorraine. The meaning is a mystery although it is used on seals, playing cards and musical instruments. The building houses local associations and is sometimes used as a theatre.

On the same side of the street is Number 14, the house of Jean-Henri Fabre. Fabre was a naturalist whose work on insects inspired Darwin. At number 8 is the Chapel of the Grey Penitents. On the doorway is a painting of two hooded figures praying. The penitents were sincere. Nothing ominous is meant by the hooded robes.

The Grey Penitents were founded by King Louis VIII, who came to pray after the siege of Avignon. Number 8 is only open for religious services. Inside there is a 17th century paneled ceiling, a chapel in a hexagonal chamber and paintings by Pierre Parrocel and Nicolas Mignard.

Each year in November the members of the Grey order celebrate the parting of the Waters. These are not of the Red Sea, but of the ever rambunctious Rhone. On the 30th of November, 1433, the Rhone burst its banks but the waters parted in the nave of the church so the holy sacrament could stay high and dry.

Where the street crosses the rue des Lices, one comes upon the Convent of the Cordeliers, a 13th century Franciscan convent. Only a bell tower and a chapel are left. Laura de Noves, the unrequited love and muse of the poet Francesco Petrarch is supposed to be buried here.

Why you should visit
One may discover the secret of the house of IV or even the sting place of Laura Noves.

Take enough time to follow the entire street, if possible. There's a lot here.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Avignon. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

La Rue des Teinturiers (Dyers Street) on Map

Sight Name: La Rue des Teinturiers (Dyers Street)
Sight Location: Avignon, France (See walking tours in Avignon)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Avignon, France

Create Your Own Walk in Avignon

Create Your Own Walk in Avignon

Creating your own self-guided walk in Avignon is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Avignon's Architectural Jewels

Avignon's Architectural Jewels

Centuries of history in Avignon are well seen in the stones of some of France’s best preserved architectural monuments. The city's architecture may well not be as diverse as elsewhere in the country, but it is really difficult to find another place whose history is just as complicated and dynamic as Avignon's.

Being one of only two cities on earth that can claim to be the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Avignon Introduction Walking Tour

Avignon Introduction Walking Tour

The thing about a wall around a city is to keep unwanted visitors out. But the massive walls encircling Avignon tend to keep visitors in. And the visitors don't mind it. Is this a mystery? Not when one considers what is inside the walls of Avignon. And forget driving. Park the car and walk.

First encounter is the Popes' Palace. This awesome mountain of a palace was built in the 1300s....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles