Promenade des Doms
Promenade des Teinturiers
Promenade de la Carreterie
|Promenade Joseph Vernet|
The Promenade Joseph-Vernet traces the western portion of the city. It gets its name from Avignons most famous painter, known for his seascapes, his series Ports de France, and his long career in the service of the king. It hugs close to Rue Saint-Joseph, it devenir to art and covers most of the museums.
Place de lHorloge
In Roman times a forum spread over the space now occupied by the plaza, Theater and City Hall. A simple crosswomen in the Middle Ages was the site of the citys main market, with its butchers and herb sellers. Soon after the consuls acquired the livrée dAlbane for administrative purposes in 1447, it became clear that the plaza would have to enlarged. Construction lasted more or less continuously until the end of the nineteenth century.
Clearing around the administrative building in the second half of to the fifteenth century began to leave its imprint on the plaza. At the end of the seventeenth century a new edifice by Pierre Mignard replaced the butchersshops. But it was destroyed some sixty years later. A project to en large the plaza went into effect under Jean-Baptiste Franque in the eighteenth century.
From 1791-93 some buildings on the southern side were torn down, and the plaza was renamed Place de la Révolution. In 1823 the Saint-Laurent convent was destroyed for the building of the new theater.
Thirty years later, the City Hall went up beside it. The Second Empire and the Third Republic gave the plaza its definitive shape. The southern structures, as the end point of a new Hausmannian boulevard or cours, were aligned, and plane trees (1860) and commemorative monument to Avignons and the Comtat Venaissin annexation to France (Félix Charpentier, 1891, today in the Allées de lOulle) were implanted. The removal of the monument and levain of areas at the north of the plaza diminished its general harmony.
LHôtel de ville
In 1447 the councils of Avignon bought the Gothic Livrée dAlbane from the Benedictines of Saint-Laurent with the intention of making it into a public building and transforming the tower into a belfry. It wasnt until the nineteenth century that the regional council decided to provide the city with a genuine Hôtel de Ville (City Hall). The citys architect, Joseph-Auguste Joffroy drew up the plans. To brighten the facade the architect Feuchères contribued a balcony supported by Corinthian columns and added peristyle columns.
This project was at the center of a larger debate pitting the municipality against one of the great defenders of the cultural integrity of buildings, Esprit Requien, who was supported by Prosper Mérimée.
The first stone was lain on March 29, 1845, and municipal service offices were installed in the old Hôtel des Monnaies building, in the interim. While construction was not completely achieved until 1856, the building was inaugurated on September 24, 1851 by the President of the Republic, Prince Louis Napoléon Bonaparte. Paul Poncet was the mayor of Avignon at the time.
The style is composite and differs at each level : round arches topped with double scrolled tympana on the ground level ; a series of rectangular windows on the mezzanine floor ; classic windows topped with triangular pediments and separated by pilasters on the second floor. The cost of construction reached 628.000 francs.
On the tower, on which a campanile was added in 1471, remains of the original cardinals livrée. The towers clock, from which the plaza gets its name, features statues of Jacquemart and his wife which strike the hour.
The municipality of Pourquery de Boisserin undertook the adornment of the main hall by commissioning the ornamenter Edouard Lefèvre of Montpellier, and the local painters Meissonier, Jules Flour, Lina Bill, and Clément-Brun. The four groups of figures surrounding the main doors and female wrestlers at the top of the impressive fireplace of this enormous 90 meters plus room are the work of Félix Charpentier.
In 1978, the Hôtel de Ville added an annex on Rue Racine, behind this building. It was built on the site of what had been the headquarters of the Amis du Roi in the nineteenth century and, from 1840 on, was the Avignon gendarmerie.
Tour du Jacquemart
The tower is the last vestige of the forteenth-century livrée (Cardinals palace) that became the City Hall in 1447, and is now surrounded by nineteenth-century buildings. This maneuver was criticized by Prosper Mérimée : « The tower is to be preserved like the partridged in Pithiviers, they are put into pâté with their heads sticking out ».
The painted coat of arms sculpted onto a keystone attests to the constructors indentity, Cardinal Audouin Aubert, nephew of Pope Innocent VI. Built between 1352 and 1363, remains of painted decoration (mock tapestries and foliage) can be discerned on two levels. Sculpted brackets and glazed tiles also date back to the original construction.
The installation of a clock (or horloge, which is another name for the tower, and the name of the plaza) dates to 1471. The original jacquemarts have been replaced with the current painted wood statues.
Avignon has a special relationship with the theater and the opera.
A taste for music has prevailed at least since the fourteenth century, and the activities of the municipal theater in the nineteenth century played an essential role in local life. Due to the use of already-present spaces, such as jeux de paume converted for representations, it was not untill 1732 that a theater was erected, on the Place Crillon.
In the nineteenth century this venue was considered too small and inadequate, and the city decided to construct another on the site of the Couvent of the Dames de Saint-Laurent. Completed in 1825, it bore a flat Greco-Roman style facade, with two superimposed colonnades surmounted by eight allegorical statues. It was designed by two Avignonnais architects, Bondon and Frary.
In 1846, it was destroyed by fire Franz Liszt had given a concert there a few months earlier. A new construction was immediately undertaken, with the plans of two architects, Théodore Charpentier, of Lyon, and Léon Feuchères, of Nîmes. Completed in 1847, this edifice possesses a certain gracefulness and fits in well with the general design of the Place de lHorloge.
There is a large arcade on the second floor, topped by a tympanum decorated with the face of Apollo in the center. It dominates the entire facade and rests on the projecting peristyle composed of a series of columns separating three circular arches. Under the arch, two reclining children encompass the coat of arms of the city. There are medallions of Petrarch and King René above the two lateral doors opening onto the loggia.
At the bottom of the building, on either side of the large staircase, are statues of Molière and Corneille, the only works on the edifice by local sculptors, the Brian brothers. The originals (today at Le Thor) were replaced near the beginning of the twentieth century by the Avignonnais sculptor Jean-Pierre Grascopies.
The interior is in the Italian style, with a pit level and four series of galleries.
A high quality operatic auditorium, the Avignon theater-opera house hosts numerous musical and theatrical tours and produces many concerts. In July, during the Festival, it is one of the most sought after locations.
Pass the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) and you will find yourself in front of the chevet of Saint-Agricol.
Upon returning to the Place de lHorloge locate Rue Saint-Agricol, to the right. Almost immediately turn onto the small Rue Emile-Espérandieu which leads to the Palais du Roure. Take Rue Collège-du-Roure, and head towards the Place de la Préfecture.
Hôtel de Forbin de Sainte-Croix (préfecture de Vaucluse)
While he was legate of Avignon, Cardinal Julien de la Rovere, future Pope Jules II, established a college in the livrée (Cardinals palace) of Poitiers, the Collège du Roure. It was joined to the Collège Saint-Nicolas-dAnnecy in 1709, and the buildings were sold to Jean-Baptiste Reynaud de Forbin de Galéans des Issarts, seigneur de Sainte-Croix. He commissioned the plans for the hôtel to Jean-Baptiste Franque, which he began developing in 1718.
The simple facade possesses an ionic portico above a quoined foundation with a double door by Thomas Lainée. An archway projects to the street, and an extension dating from some twenty years later opens onto terraced gardens. Confiscated during the Revolution and then returned, it was acquired by the Prefecture of the Vaucluse in 1822.
Hôtel Desmarets de Montdevergues
This Hôtel was built in 1710 by François and Jean-Baptiste Franque for François-Elzéar de Cappelis except for the facade, which was constructed in 1755 according to the plans of François II Franque, Jean-Baptistes elder son. This monumental facade presents a Tuscan colonnade in the center, surrounding a double door, and supporting a long balcony with beautiful iron work. The piano nobile features three Ionic pilasters surmounted with round pediments, while the windows on each side bear triangular pediments.
The sculpted decoration within the tympanum is of a later date. It represents waterfowl, symbol of the Desmarets de Montdevergues family who became proprietors of the hôtel in 1785. After having passed on to several different owners the building was publicly acquired in the first half of the nineteenth century to become the seat of the Country Council.
An entryway on Rue Dorée, to the left of the Hôtel du Département, leads to the Hôtel de Sade
Hôtel de Sad
The Hôtel de Sade retains the name of its first proprietors. The Sade family had several houses on this street, which bore their name in the fifteenth century. But it was Thomas de Gadagne who inherited the edifice and commissioned its reconstruction in 1536-37. The hôtel then passed on to Lesdiguières who had work carried out in the seventeenth century after the designs of François de Royer de la Valfenière. The hôtel, which returned to the Sade family between 1741 and 1766. It is currently occupied by the Country Council.
Head back to Place de la Préfecture, and take a left on Rue Bouquerie. This will lead you to Plan de Lunel. You will find the beautiful Hôtel des Laurens at number 1. The modifications of the facade and the magnificent stairway date to 1678-1683, and are most likely the work of Louis-François de la Valfenière. Hôtel dAncezune, at number 4, was built between 1611 and 1617 by Louise dAncezune, the benefactress of the Noviciat des Jésuites.
Rue Petite-Calade, which intersects here, gets its name from la calade, the word for Rhône River paving stones in Avignon since the thirteenth century. Continue now by turning right onto Rue Félix-Gras, and pass by the wall of the Chapelle Sainte-Praxède, built for Dominican nuns in 1430. Eglise Saint-Agricol is located at the end of this street
Agricol is probably the building whos history is closest to the Avignonnaishearts. Its name refers to a seventh-century bishop who is still one of the patron saints of the city. John XXII had a new structure built on the site of the site of a very olf church in the Fustiers quarter. In 1322 a chapter of canons was intitued there. It is the only fourteenth century church with side aisles. Starting in 1485 the vaults were reconstruted, the church enlarged by a bay, and the facade augmented with statues by Ferrier Bernard.
Between 1703 and 1707 the Chapelle de Brantes was built according to Jean Pérus plans. Rich in tombs, epitaphs and diverse inscriptions, Saint-Agricol retains works by the best Avignon painters (such as Simon de ChâlonsAssumption, 1537 ; Guillaume-Ernest Grèves Pentecost, 1620, and Nicolas Mignards Adoration of the Shepherds, c.1650), as well as rare Renaissance stone pieces, and a Doni altarpiece (Annunciation, Child Musicians) sculpted by Imbert Boachon in 1525.
Chapelle des Templiers
The chapel, accessible through a passageway that opens onto 23 rue Saint-Agricol is the only remaining vestige of the Templars Commandarie. The Order of the Templars was established in Avignon at the end of the twelfth century, but the chapel was erected between 1273 and 1281. The oldings of the Templars, suppressed in 1312, were hnded over to the Hospitaliers dAvignon, who occupied the site around 1330 and maintained it until the Revolution. Sold to a private owner in 1793, all the buildings of the enclave except the chapel were leveled c.1830.
The County Council purchased it in 1979, and it is currently in private hands again. The chapel is composed of a four bayed nave with a flat chevet (23.8 x 8 meters). There is a turret on the southwest angle, and the lateral exterior surfaces have buttresses attached by semicircular arches that support an ornemental walkway.
There are many hôtels particuliers on Rue Petite-Fusterie ; at number 3, the Hôtel des Isnard, at number 2, Hôtel de Brantes, which dates from the late 1680s and may have been designed by Pierre II Mignard. Hôtel de Tonduty-Lescarène occupies 17-19, and at number 21 the Hôtel de Saint-Priest, built after 1760 by Jean-Baptiste II Péru. Arriving now at Rue Saint-Etienne, notice the house of the notary Cairanne, by Jean-Baptiste and Jean-Pierre Franque (1748).
On the other side of the street (17), stands Hôtel Pertuis de Montfaucon, built in 1784. Number 18 is occupied by the original Balloon House. It was here that Joseph de Montgolfier first conceived of the idea of the aerostat when he hung a shirt before the fireplace to dry. The Gothic facade of the Maison Forli, built in the late sixteenth century, is a few yards down.
Now take the a right on Rue de la Grande-Fusterie. Hôtel de Tertulle (8-10) was built in the fifteenth century by a friend of the king René, and was partially reconstructed in 1740 by Jean-Baptiste Franque. Note the Gothic facade of the Hôtellerie du Chapeau-Rouge (29), well-known in the fourteenth century. Next take two lefts, on Rue Limasset, and then Rue du Limas (latin, limaceus : muddy). This quarter developed around the former riverbed at the foot of the ramparts.
Carpenters were established on this site very early, cutting up the timber and construction materials that arrived by river. Place Crillon, which should be just in front of you, is dedicated to an Avignonnais hero of the sixteenth century. It used to be called Place de la Comédie. Its opening onto the Rhône was dates to 1900, and replaced Jean-Baptiste Franques 1785 reconstruction of the Porte de lOulle. Marshal Brune was assassinated (1815) in the Hôtel du Palais-Royal, currently number 21.
Avignon did not have a theater until the eighteenth century. But, immediately upon the collapse of Nicolas Mignards jeu de paume (1732), which had often served for theatrical representations, a shareholding collective was formed with the specific intention of building a playhouse. Thomas Lainée was commissioned, and the conditions were signed in November 1732. He preserved the main outlines of the recently acquired jeu de paume.
Lainée designed the performance space, including the spectator seats and the stage. The facade is similar to the one he designed for the Pénitents Noirs in 1739. This facade, with its balustrade bearing chafing dishes, has two projections with solid ionic pilasters at each edge. They support a pediment without base ; over originally blind bays, conceived to hold two vertical sculpted tableaux. They are reinforced at the angles by solid ionic pilasters.
The central element accommodates the door, which is surmounted by a billowing entablature and a radiating glory. The first proscenium theater in Avignon, it was used util 1825 when a new theater was built in the Place de lHorloge. Only the facade remains today
Take Rue Folco-de-Baroncelli to Rue Joseph-Vernet. The corner is distinguished by a round semi-tower with a Renaissance style bulls-eye window. In the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries this street retraced the course of the twelfth and thirteenth century walls, filling the intermediary space between the two lines of ramparts. It presents a number of aritocratic residences.
Note the second facade of the Hôtel de Tondury-Lescarène (7-9 and 11). It dates to the 1680s and is probably the work of Pierre II Mignard. Next, take a look at 21-23, the Maison Bouchet. Bonaparte resided there in 1793 and wrote his famous Jacobin propaganda pièce, Souper de Beaucaire.
Chapelle de lOratoire, 32, rue Joseph Vernet
It is not known who designed the new church for the Oratorians, for which construction was begun in 1713 and interrupted in 1718.
The project was completed by father Léonard, but the church was not consecrated until 1750. However, in spite of the liberties taken with the rules of Classical architectural composition, this structure is admired by many today, perhaps those with a preference for poetry over grammar.
The avant-corps facade, has a colossal Corinthian portico topped with a semicircular fascia. Above the double-leaf door, there is a bulls-eye window in a oblong frame.
Inside, the nave is elliptical, and in the radii of the larger concentric ellipse are fitted eight separate spaces. These are the vestibule, the choir opposite and six chapels. The nave is covered by an immense elliptical cupola, in which the spans are alternately punctuated by windows or oculi. The dome rests on a entablature and Corinthian columns decorated in imitation marble.
Between these pilasters, the choir and the two main chapels open onto a semicircular arcade supported by Ionic columns, while the secondary chapels have a tribune supported by Ionic pilasters, enclosed by ironwork guardrails. Today, it serves as the student chapel for the Lycée Frédéric-Mistral
Hôtel de Suarez dAulan, transformed into a school, is located at 34 Rue Joseph-Vernet. 33 and 35, built for Count de Rochefort in 1774, are the work of Jean-Pierre Franque. Like the streets adjacent to it, Rue Victor-Hugo occupies the space where the Dominican monastary once was. Turn left onto it. The Musée Louis-Vouland is located here. Continue to the end of the street and turn left onto Rue dAnnanelle. This will lead you to Rue Joseph-Vernet, where you will find the Musée Calvet and the Musée Requien, side by side
At the end of Rue Saint-Charles, to the left between Rue Violette and Boulevard Raspail, stand the Hôtel de Galéans-Gadagne, and the Hôtel de Caumont, where the Lambert Collection is intalled.
Hôtel de Galéans-Gadagne
At the end of the nineteenth century the opening of the Boulevard Raspail meant the destruction of the gardens and the exposure of the interior facades of the Hôtel de Galéans-Gadagne. The two proprietors agreed to use the same architect and to harmonize the architecture of their future hôtels. Work began on the Marquis de Caumonts structure in 1720.
But Jean-Baptiste Franques project of 1723 for the Seigneur de Costebelle was not immediately executed due to lack of funds. It was not untill the property passed into the hands of Duke de Galéans-Gadagne in 1751 that construction began.
The facade presents only a piano nobile above the ground-level story. Two beautiful doors, within Ionic bays, are set back near the sides. After housing the universitys liberal arts departments, the buildings has accomodated the Ecole dArt dAvignon since 1998.
Before reaching Cours Jean-Jaurès, turn right on Rue du Portail-Boquier.
Noviciat des Jésuites Saint-Louis
In 1589, the generosity of a noble Avignonnaise, Louise dAncezune, prepared the way for the establishment of a Jesuit Novitiate. A site was acquired on Rue des Vieilles-Etudes (so-named because the first University buildings in Avignon were located there, in 1303). Work began with the construction of the chapel in 1601, dedicated to Saint Louis on May 23, 1611. This was the first Baroque edifice in Avignon.
Its plan is in the form of a Greek cross with barrel-vaulted arms supporting a central cupola over pendentives and with a lantern. A funerary slab in memory of Louise dAncezune (d.1620) is located in the center under the dome. The four evangelists were painted on the pendentives in the eighteenth century by Jean-Denis Attiret, another Jesuit educated in Avignon who became First Painter for the Emperor of China. The colossal facade is cadenced with Corinthian pilasters framing the doors and windows. The two in the front support the segmental arch of the pediment, the two at the side used to support obelisk-shaped pinnacles.
The Layout of the buildings, in a square outlining a large courtyard, took more than a century to complete. Beginning in 1627, François de Royers de la Valfenière, probable disciple of Etienne Martelange, built the west and north wings. In 1685 Jean Péru remodeled the northern wing and then in 1712 erected the southern wing and began the east wing, where the entryway is located. When Péru died in 1723, work was taken up by his son, Jean-Baptiste Péru.
The eastern wing, completed a century after the first construction began, bears witness to the evolution of tastes : elegant windows with segmental arches, rich proportions and profiles of moldings, specular « flat vault » of the entry pavilion (Pavillon de lHorloge). Following Valfenières design, the other buildings present cloister-like ground floor arcades. Between each column there are three Tuscan pilasters. Large semicircular arches face the interior, and neat rectangular windows repeat every other floor above.
After the Jesuits were banished from Avignon in 1768, the novitiate was purchased by the nuns of Sainte-Praxède, who occupied it until the French Revolution. In 1801 the buildings were annexed as branches of the Invalides of Paris, as was the Celestine monastery. The latter remained so until 1850, when it was suppressed by the state, but in 1852 Prince-President Louis Napoléon Bonaparte reinstated its use for disabled civilians.
The Hospice Saint-Louis functioned until 1982. In 1987 the city permitted the allocation of the nothern wing to a luxury hotel, whose modern buildings were designed by Jean Nouvel. The remainder is divided among several cultural functions : the Institut Supérieur des Techniques du Spectacle, some administrative sectors of the Festival dAvignon, and municipal exhibition halls
Continue to your left onto Cours Jean-Jaurès. Turn right at the traffic light for a brief detour back on Rue Joseph-Vernet. The first building to notice is the Caisse dEpargne in the Hôtel Montillet. The hôtel date to 1880, and the rotunda was added in 1925.
This establishment, also known as the Grand Collège, was founded in 1426 by Jean Allarmet, Cardinal of Brogny, a native of the Annecy region.
The premises were set up in the Couvent of Notre-Dame-des-Fours. After centuries of prosperty, the institution began to decline until its dissolution during the Revolution combining it with the Collège du Roure (see Hôtel de Forbin de Sainte-Croix) which was also foundering. Sold as a national holding in 1901, the buildings were handed over to the Musée Calvet, which has recently renovated them.
The door is framed with Ionic pilasters surmounted by a curved pediment. Pierre II Mignard redid the facades facing the courtyard (1704-05), conserving the spirit of the cloister. Surmounted by an attic, the ground and first floors are cut by two rows of barrel-vaulted arcades with sculpted agraffes and segmental arches. To the north there is a spiral staircase (1642, La Valfenière) and the Gothic walls of the chapel accessible by a door (Pierre II Mignard) situated on Rue Collège dAnnecy.
Retrace your steps and take up Rue de la République to Rue Frédéric-Mistral.
Both sides of Rue Frédéric-Mistral are almost entirely taken up by the former Collège des Jésuites. They are connected by an arch. After the Revolution it became a public high school, where Frédéric Mistral went to study. Later it took the name of this distinguished student, bard of Provence and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1904. Walk over to Rue Laboureur at the end of the street. The Livrée Ceccano and the Musée Angladon-Dubrujeaud are located here.
Since 1982, the Municipal Library has occupied a group of buildings of which the most interesting is the livrée (Cardinals palace) whose names derives from Cardinal Annibal Ceccano. He lived there from 1333 until his death in 1350, and continued the constructions initiated by his predecessor, Cardinal dArrabloy. Unlike most of the Avignonnais livrées, this one has maintained a remarkable state of preservation. This is due to its use as a Jesuite college, beginning in 1564, then as a secondary school after 1810, with a brief military occupation during the French Revolution.
Planned out as a fortified building, it as no opennings on the ground level. The old entryway is masked by the eigteenth-century building constructed by the Jesuits against the east facade. The crenellation was reconstructed, based on a portion that had survived.
The two large halls of the building (30 x 10 meters) are currently used for study and lending libraries. The wall and ceiling paintings are largely original. On the walls, the paintings were worked directly onto the stone surface. The different motifs indicate the librarys previous system of organization. The current lending area features simple five-leafed circular ornamentation.
In the rest of the space, painted arches with alternating black and white voussoirs support the alternately repeating spread-eagle and the red and silver coat of arms of the Stefaneschi. At the far, north, wall, five arches placed in close succession emphasize the grade of the staircase to the next story. It opens onto a ceremonial chamber whose original dimensions remain.
It too is decorated with a field full of blazons, where the repeating shield of Cardinal Ceccano is again « quartered » with that of the Stefaneschi. On the northern wall there is an immense pointed-arch window without peer in Avignon. The ceiling is remarkable for its entrevous, the between-beam spaces ; decorated with magpies, whose Tuscan name cecca resembles the name Ceccenano. In the center of the study hall the beams are painted in trompe-lil, supporting a frieze where monsters alternate with the coats of arms of the Stefaneschi and Ceccano.
Avignons Library owes its existence to the confiscations during the Revolution of the citys and nearby monasteries. It opened to the public in 1809 when it contained 26,540 printed volumes and 700 manuscrits.
Its strong theological collection, precious illuminated manuscripts, and numerous editions in their original fifteenth- and sixteenth-centuries buildings derive from this original collection. Donations over the years have developed other collections. Esprit Requien, the Canon of Massilian, and Victor Chambaud provided a rich selection of works of Avignonnais and Provençal history and literature.
Donations from Paul Mariéton and Edouard Raynolt made up for the earlier lack of literary works. The Calvet Foundation is the longtime administrator of the library, and over the years it has carefully acquired outstanding holdings.
Of immense interest to researchers, historians of printed matter, and local scholars are the more than 250,000 printed volumes, nearly 7,000 manuscripts, a collection of some 60,000 drawings and prints (among which the collection of religious iconography), ex-libris compendia, maps, portraitss, and music.
Since the general public had little use for this « traditional » library, a modest lending library for adults was subjoined to it in 1930, and a childrens lending library was added in 1948. « Public readership » was not assured however until the library was transfered to the Livrée Ceccano and the opening of the Jean-Louis-Barrault Médiathèque.
Three branches have also been added, as well as a « bibliobus » which assures the circulation of books within the fabric of urban life in Avignon
Place Saint-Didier is located at the end of the Rue Laboureur. Long ago it was the Place du Palaiscompetitor as a construction site.
The Eglise Saint-Didier was constructed between 1356 and 1359 in accordance with the testament of Cardinal Bertrand de Déaux. His blazon figures in several places in the building, and his tomb, defaced but still surmounted by church doctors painted al fresco, is located to the left of the choir.
Among the fourteenth-century churches in the region that characteristically adapt the Gothic style to the regions climate (Montfavet, Saint-Pierre and Villeneuve), the original disposition of Saint-Didier is the best preserved. This is because of its remarkable simplicity, including its squat belfry. Mural paintings from the end of the fourteenth century can been seen in the first northern chapel ; These were executed by an itinerant Tuscan atelier, and paid for by the Cardini family who were originally from Florence. Above the abutting chapel is a small organ tribune, probably the oldest in France.
The church furnishings were modified following confiscations during the Revolution. The bearing of the Cross, sculpted by Francesco Laurana for King René in 1478, the statue of Saint Bénézet kneeling, by Jean Péru (1690), and the polychrome marble main altar (1750) come from the Eglise des Célestins.
To the left of the Eglise Saint-Didier, we take the covered passage that leads to the Saint-Didier plain. There were find the main entrance to the church, as well as the beautiful Hôtel de Forbin de la Barben, with its sober facade, probably built in the 1740s. After that, we go up the Rue Théodore-Aubanel and turn right on the Rue Figuière. About halfway up this street, we find the former Saint-Antoine hospital, founded in the eighteenth century. The great French poet Alain Chartier was interred in the church that has been transformed into a movie house. Following the narrow Rue Saint-Antoine, we return to Rue Galante and turn left.
Because of late sixteenth-century edicts against corbelling, a number of medieval houses in Avignon were torn down and rebuilt. Unlike most, only the facade of that of the perfume merchant François Palasse was redone (1679-82) by the most renowned member of the master masons of Isles-sur-la-Sorgue, Jean Rochas. « The most ornate house in Avignon »(J. Girard) has a front entrance surmounted with a womans torso surrounded by roses.
On the second floor, the windows present masks evoking the four seasons, on the third, foliage, and on the fourth, alternating triangular and rounded pediments.
It became the property of Mr. and Mme. Palun in 1910 ; they donated it to the Académie de Vaucluse (1919), which is there to this day.
Just continue straight ahead to reach the Place de lHorloge. Locate Rue de Mons, in the midst of the cafés to the right. Maison Jean-Vilar is on this street.