There hasn’t always been a single pope. On occasion they couldn’t agree who gets the hat and ended up with multiple popes fighting each other. During this period, from 1309 to 1376, when they had up to three popes and they clearly couldn’t all be in Rome, Avignon was a papal seat for seven successive popes. They built a palace and a church there. Unfortunately, unlike the Vatican, the papal palace in Avignon didn’t do well during later centuries, especially the French revolution, and so it’s mostly bare inside.
Every French child knows the song sur le pont / d’Avignon … (on the bridge of Avignon). The bridge over the Rhône river was built in the 13th century, to replace an even older one. Since the 17th century, only four arches remain, the others have collapsed. Still, tourists are obligated to pay admission, walk on it, not see very much, and walk back. A little downstream there are much better views.
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