Monuments and museums

Palais des Papes

Pont Saint-Bénezet

Musée Calvet

Musée du Petit Palais

Musée Requien

Musée lapidaire

Musée du Vieil Avignon

Palais du Roure

Musée du Mont-de-piété

Musée Louis-Vouland

Musée Angladon Dubrujeaud

Maison Jean Vilar

Collection Lambert
La maison Jean Vilar

L'Hôtel de Crochans

Around the year 1330 Cardinal Pierre des Prés had a palace built near what is now the Place de l’Horloge. It was comprised of several buildings and dependencies, which he passed on to the Saint-Pierre chapter, for whom he also had a church built. After having been inhabited by several prelates, for some time the site was called the « Livrée de Thury » in honor of its last occupant, Cardinal Pierre de Thury, died in 1410.

It became the property of the Brancas family c.1463. In 1671 Louis-Henry de Guyon, Doyen de la Rote and Advisor of the Holy Office, purchased it. His elder son, Seigneur de Crochan and field marshal of the Royal Army, gave it the current form, and his name.

During the Revolution the administration of the Avignon district and the regional council occupied the building. In 1823 the prefecture purchased it to house the Bishop de Mons of Avignon. It remained the seat of the bishopry until the separation of church and state in 1905. After a period of vacancy, the building served various functions, the last of which being the Mutualité Sociale Agricole, before becoming the property of the City of Avignon in 1974.

The front entryway, decorated with military enblems, is attributed to Pierre Mignard. The court and garden facades have been classified as historical monuments. Inside the building there is a wrought-iron staircase and some of the rooms still woodword. The city reconverted the Hôtel de Crochans to accommodate the Maison Jean-Vilar (on the courtyard) and the administration of the Festival d’Avigon (on the garden).

La Maison Jean Vilar

In 1979, the City of Avignon, the Association pour une Fondation Jean-Vilar, and the department of Arts et Spectacle of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France united to establish the Maison Jean-Vilar. It serves as a depository of the œuvre of the Festival d’Avignon’s creator, his influence on contemporary theater, the summer programs of 1947-71, and of his Théâtre National Populaire from 1951-63.

In addition, the Maison Jean-Vilar extends the context of its commintment ot the performing arts with a public video library and a documentation center. There are regular exhibitions, events, and encounters in connection with performances and other local cultural offerings. The collections derive from Jean Vilar and relate to the entire life and career of this man of the theater.

These include personal archives as well as items relating to the performance he created at the Festival d’Avignon and with the TNP, scripts from the repertoire, press clippings, photographs, posters, programs, sound recordings, as well as some 2,000 costumes and designs for costumes by the painters who worked with Jean-Vilar (notably Léon Gischia, Mario Prassinos and Edouard Pignon).

The collection also includes about hundred reviews, a thousand video titles, and more than 20,000 works (performance texts and studies) on the theater, the opera, dance, the music hall, variety showx, film as well as all documents pertaining to the festival since 1971 (i.e., poster, programs, media reviews, photographs and videos).

Festival d’Avignon

The Festival d’Avignon was born in September 1947 during a contemporary art exhibit. Jean Vilar (1912-71) was invited to perform in the Court d’Honneur of the Palais des Papes. He presented three performances on that occasion and returned each July in the years that followed. After he was named the director of the Theater of the Palais-de-Chaillot in 1951, Avignon became an integral locus of his activity and the name of his troupe was also the name of the program he headed : the Théâtre National Populaire (well known as TNP). In 1963 he resigned from his capacities in Paris.

He maintained the direction of the Festival d’Avignon, no longer as a stage director, but by receiving performing artists to new venues, and introducing danse, film and musical theater. From 1971 to 1979 Paul Puaux served as director. Since 1980, the Festival has taken shape under the management of an association presided over by the mayor of Avignon. Under Bernard Faivre d’Arcier and Alain Crombecque, it has become a complex enterprise and a highly prestigious institution.

Outside of the official programming scheme a number of companies have organized Avignon Public Off which offers concurrent performances and events. As a showcase of public theather and theatrical point of interchange on many levels, the Festival d’Avignon’s proliferation of genres is a annual meeting point for theater lovers and professionals.