Place du Palais (Palace Square), Avignon

Place du Palais (Palace Square), Avignon

Pope Benedict XIII felt nervous. The year was 1404 and already his palatial residence in Avignon had been attacked once. He was afraid his palace would be besieged again. "They'll be back." Neighboring houses pressed against the Papal chateau on every side. He had to clear a defensive zone around the palace. What to do?

No problem. He pulled down all the houses around him and made a few of the ancient streets disappear. The result was an open area sloping downward from the palace where enemies would be exposed to defensive fire and missiles, a "glacis." The wreckage of the razed houses remained in place until 1603.

By 1618 the houses were cleared and the space was graced by a grove of mulberry trees. The trees lined an avenue leading to the palace. The square was already the largest square in Avignon.

The Palace Square was not only good for defense, it proved to be very handy for executions as well. Heads rolled during the Old Regime. They rolled even faster from the guillotine during the Terror of the Revolution.

The Square is bounded by distinguished buildings and monuments. Among these are: the Bank of France; the Currency Hotel; Petit Palais Museum; Notre-Dame des Doms Cathedral and of course the Palace of the Popes.

Under the square is a parking garage. In the square itself one may catch a small train to tour the area.

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. 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

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Place du Palais (Palace Square) on Map

Sight Name: Place du Palais (Palace Square)
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 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
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