Excusions / Tours

Promenade des Doms

Promenade Joseph-Vernet

Promenade des Teinturiers

Promenade de la Carreterie

Around Avignon
Promenade des Teinturiers
   


This promenade covers the pesdestrian zone of the old city center. It culminates near the Sorgues River, on the plain tree-lined, picturesque Rue des Teinturiers (« Dyers Street »), whose charming paddle wheels once contributed to the city’s prosperty.

There are also among the most lively streets in the city –to the extent that this might also be called the Promenade des Boutiques since window-shopping may inevitably be an important part of the stroll.

From église Saint-Martial to la rue de la République

Temple Saint-Martial

The monastery and college of the Benedictines of Cluny was one of the most sumptuous in fourteenth-century Avignon. It held the notable and macabre tomb of Cardinal de la Grange (now in the Musée du Petit Palais), as well as the cenotaph in memory of its founder, Urban V.

In March 1363, Urban granted the Cluny Benedictines the palace of the kings of Majorca. This donation was meant to compensate for the loss of the cluniac priority at Notre-Dame-de-Belvédère that had been annexed by John XXII during the construction of the papal palace at Pont-de-Sorgues. It was not until the second half of the fourteenth century that a Cluniac establishment was erected in Avignon.

The Abbot of Cluny, Cardinal Androin de la Roche, occupied the site and enlarged it with purchases of neighboring houses and gardens. He donated this ensemble to the order in 1369, on condition that is receive eighty four monks, half of whom had be students. It was only in 1378 that the priory-college of Saint-Martial was founded by Cardinal Pierre de Cros, who undertook the construction of the church in 1383.

The church and its belfry were completed after the death of de Cros, and was paid for by his estate.
Cardinal Jean de la Grange, former Bishop of Amiens and councilor to Charles V, recommenced the work for the last bay and the apse, where he intended his tomb to be placed. All work was completed c.1402, and the tomb was put in place a few years later.

The building was considerably transformed by the ravages of the French Revolution. In 1881, the apse and the first two bays were converted into a Protestant sanctuary. The third bay was used as a vestibule, and in 1700 it was provided with a majectic doorway by the famous architect Pierre Mignard. The monastery buildings, also designed by Mignard, were partially demolished in 1856-57, when the Cours Bonaparte (now the Cours Jean-Jaurès) was laid. The road-side facade was reconstruted, and the building served as a tax and then a tourist information center. Remains of a gallery from Saint-Martial’s cloister (with a floor-level reconstitution) can be seen in the public gardens ; as can the prominent buttressed chevet and the belfry.

The Saint-Martial Monastery, like that of the Celestines, attests to the new influence of the flamboyant style, which until then had not appeared in Avignon. The church has a simple plan : a nave with five bays, no side aisles, and a pentagonal apse. It is characteristic by virtue of its apse, distinctively higher than the nave, from which it is separated by a diaphragm wall bearing the arms of Cluny and of Etienne de la Grange, the brother of the Cardinal.

A highly varied flamboyant vocabulary (identical with that of the outer walls) is displayed through the upper reaches . Above alternating plain and decorated walls the six vault compartments are linked by pendant boses bedecked with the arms of the La Grange brothers. These, along with the ornamented ribs in very high relief (perforated quatrefoil freizes, cusps), and the console with shield-bearing anges in vigorous postures, attest to surprising decorative exuberance.

Walk around the tourist office to Rue Jean-Henri-Fabre where you will find the entrance to the Eglise Saint-Martial. Then, at the traffic light, turn left onto Rue des Trois-Faucons. Number 14, the mid eighteenth-century Hôtel de Luynes, Further along, Hôtel de Rochegude at numbers 4-6, was restored by the Côtes-du-Rhône Interprofessional Commitee.
The facade was designed by
Louis-François de la Valfenière in 1683. The magnificent iron guard rail on the front projection’s balcony was added in 1732.

Turn right on Rue du Roi-René, on the other side of Place Saint-Didier.

Hôtel de Crillon

Starting in 1648, the grand-nephew of the famous soldier of the French Religious Wars (tomb in the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-des-Doms), Louis III de Berton, Baron de Crillon, and General of the pontifical artillery, had this very beautiful hôtel built on the site of the former Livrée (Cardinal’s palace) de Pampelune.

The architect, Domenico Borboni, originally from Bologna, also directed the interior decoration. But it is possible that Jean-André Borde, who witnessed the agreement of conditions, collaborated on the project and designed the exceptional staircase « à l’impériale », with its architectural trompe-l’œil decoration, as well as the facade reliefs. After La Valfenière, Borde is considered one of the most important Avignonais sculptors of the time.

The very abundant and slightly antiquated decoration uses a mannerist vocabulary, based in floral garlands and mascarons. Like the more sober Hôtel de Fortia de Montréal across the way, the Hôtel de Crillon is evocative of Roman residences. However, with scrutiny one finds that « the Italian language is spoken here with a strong local accent ».

Hôtel de Fortia de Montréal

Built in 1637, this was the first modern private building in Avignon. François de Royers de la Valfenière designed the imposing facade that fronts Rue du Roi-René. The disposition of the three levels of vertically aligned bays, and their powerful alternating round and triangular pediments on the piano nobile, converge to give this building a pronounced Italian character. The style is sober. Only lion’s muzzles ornament the consoles of the pediments. The recessed main door is adorned with « more expressive figures, perhaps Sileni » (A.Breton).

This hôtel was commisioned by Captain Paul de Fortia de Montréal, of the Royal Navy at the Port of Marseille. De Fortia de Montréal was the first patron of the painter Nicolas Mignard, from whom he commisioned the decoration of the large gallery of this hôtel. The result is the series Adventures of Théagène and Charyclée (1638-39). Having reverted to the state during the Revolution, the hôtel was divided into two separate properties ; none of the original interior remains.

Hôtel d’Honorati de Jonquerettes (number 12) is related to its two neighbors. It was built in the eighteenth century and then served as a women’s prison during the Revolution. The Clare Couvent is located off a recess further down the street.

Couvent de Sainte-Claire

The former site of this couvent and the vestiges of its church are worth mentioning in a tour of Avignon because of their connection to one of the most famous literary references to the city. It was here that Petrarch, the illustrious Italian humanist author who wrote about the Avignon papacy, saw his beloved Laura for the first time. This singularly important event in his private and literary life was recorded by the author himself on the back of the fly leaf of his Virgil, in the manuscript kept by the Ambrose Library in Milan.

« Laura, remarkable for her own virtue and long celebrated by my verse, first appeared to me during my youth on Appril 6th in the year of our Lord 1327, in the church of St. Claire in Avignon ». Immortalized by Petrarch, this couvent was founded by the sisters of Sainte-Claire. Like many other convents of the city, it thrived on the fervor elicited by the presence of the popes and their entourage during the fourteenth century. This particular establishment was reconstructed during that time. Today, it is occupied by the Théâtre des Halles.

In the fifteenth century, King René’s residence (decorated by Nicolas Froment) was located on the left, near the corner of Rue Grivolas. In 1625 these buildings were transformed into a couvent for the Ursulines Royales. Its is now occupied by an institution that trains specialists in the restoration of old structures. Next, turn left on Rue Bonneterie, Hôtel de Cambis de la Faleshe is located at number 44.Its court opens onto the street through a large coach entryway.

Number 39, the Maison Raoulx, was constructed in 1696 by Jean Péru. The scope of the project and the neat design of the facade which, according to A. Breton « derives directly from the Hôtel de Beauvais that Antoine Lepeautre built (in Paris) in 1654 near Rue Saint-Honoré » assures its aristocratic quality. Next door, at number 33, stands the eighteenth-century house of the architect Pierre Bondon. Notice its lovely corner niche with Virgin. Look up at number 17 to see the southern facade of the old parish church Saint-Geniès. The Place de la Principale is located to the left towards the end of the street

Eglise Notre-Dame-la-Principale

This is one of the seven original churches of the Avignon parish that extended in a circle around the Rocher des Doms and the cathedral. The exact date of its enlargement in the fourteenth century is difficult to place. During the invigorated building activity that accompanied the move of the papacy to the city, north and south chapels were added to the single nave. The gutter-wall and simple belfry (the rectangular first level is surmounted by an octogonal bell tower with narrow windows) are located on the south side.

The church was repartitioned during the Revolution, and only the nave and lateral chapels were maintained for workship. These were separated from the choir by a newly-erected wall. At the beginning of the nineteenth century it was transformed into a chapel for the White Penitents. The current facade dates from the nineteenth century and is the work of Abbot Pougnet. The eastern entrance is surmounted by a pediment with kneeling men in the garb of penitent brothers on either side of Christ.

Today this church serves as a performance space during the Festival d’Avignon, and is used by the Institut Supérieur des Techniques du Spectacle.

To leave the plazza, pass in front of the multiple surfaces of the Hôtel de Joannis de Verclos which was built in 1680, probably according to Louis-François de la Valfenière’s design. Now take the small Passage de la Principale to Rue Rouge. After a few yards you will arrive at the Place du Change. Imagine, this plaza, although much smaller, was the largest in Avignon before the creation of the Place du Palais in 1404. At right, near the beginning of Rue du Rappe, The Hôtel Peilhon still as a pair of atlantes in a commercial emporium.

At the end of the street, take a left onto Rue des Marchands. In passing, notice the hatter’s boutique which is protected as an historical monument. Take a right at Rue Edmond-Halley, continue through the Place Nicolas-Saboly and continue along Rue de l’Arc-de-l’Agneau until the Place Saint-Pierre.

Eglise Saint-Pierre

According to tradition there has been a Saint-Pierre Church on this site since the seventh century, housing the tombs of the first bishops of Avignon (most notably Saint-Agricol, 600-700).

Having been destroyed several times, it was built thanks to Cardinal Pierre du Pré, Bishop of Palestrina. He founded a collegiate church and constructed the canons’quarters, a cloister, the chevet and a steeple. It remained in this state until the fifteenth century, when lateral chapel were created and the nave was enlarged by two bays. The steeple was added in 1495. Its design is familiar in the region : a square tower surmounted by an octogonal drum and a spire. Its pretty, slender outline accentuated with a balustrade and pinnacles is characteristic of Flamboyant Gothic style.
This facade is
rightfully one of the most famous in Avignon.

Over time its niches have lost many of their sculptures, but is has preserved a mannered elegance due to the harmonious combination of its Flamboyant Gothic and Renaissance elements. Its two doors are separated by a column surmounted by a sculpted canopy with a Virgin and Child attributed to Jean Péru. Two pinnacles frame the front portal. At the top, a niche is finely inscribed within the gable whose leaf-decorated veins join to form a stem with a flamboyant fleuron at its tip. The beribonned crowns at each side of the gable belong to a Renaissance decorative vocabulary, like the foliage surrounded oculus. This facade was realized at the initiative of some parishioners, and the signed conditions, notarized in 1512, reveals the names of such virtuoso masters as Perrinet le Picard and Nicolas Gasc, while Philippe Garcin was responsible for what is called the facade’s « portrait ».

The work, which included the addition of a span in the church, was not completed until 1525 when the final payment was made. The sculpted wood doors derive from a later date. Michel Lopis commissioned them from Antoine Volard in 1551. The tall, solid sculpted walnut doors are striking for the richness of their typical late Renaissance decoration : baskets, putti bearing cornucopias, sheathed caryatids, fruit and mascarons. Four human figures are represented against the blackground of this mannerist decorative universe : Saints Jerome and Michael on the left, the Virgin and the Angel of the Annunciation on the right.

Inside the church there are several works that merit attention. On the right, see the fifteenth-century white limestone throne, ornamented with sculptures, and the Burial, a sculpted group commissioned by the Galéans family for their Saint-Sépulcre chapel (purchased 1431). To the left of the choir, note the sculpted altarpiece featuring a Last Supper framed in Renaissance elements by the Avignonnais sculptors, Imbert Boachon. It was commissioned by Perrinet Parpaille in 1524.

Parpaille was also one of the sponsors for the building of the facade. Of the tableaux that are still in the church note Simon de Châlons beautiful Adoration of the Shepherds (c.1550), Parrocel’s scenes of the Life of Saint Anthony of Padua, and Nicolard Mignard’s Saint Barbara and Saint Margaret. The architect François de Royer de la Valfenière designed the gilded woodwork of the choir.

Finally, the church memorializes Pierre de Luxembourg, a popular Avignon figure. His Dalmatic tunic and cardinal’s headdress are preserved.

Unfortunately, his great sculpted monument (by Antoine Le Moiturier, 1461), was destroyed in the seventeenth century ; portions can be seen at the Musée du Petit Palais (salle 17).

The promenade continues along Rue des Ciseaux-d’Or and then Rue de Taulignan. As you enter this street notice the exciting second-story Gothic window that came into view during restorations. Continue until you reach Rue Banasterie.

Hôtel de Madon de Châteaublanc

The Hôtel de Madon de Châteaublanc is located in close proximity to the Hôtel de Vervins. They were constructed at the same time (1687) by the same architect, Pierre II Mignard, known as « le Chevalier Mignard ». Their status as chef-d’œuvre of private architecture is undeniable.

The general plan is U-shaped, but the lateral wings close onto the street with a fourth lower wing enclosing an interior court.

The facade is wonderfully balanced. The entrance is capped with an Ionic portico that opens into a central element comprised of only one partly blind story above the ground level. This element is capped by a triangular pediment.
The lateral pavilions have a raised attic level.

The windows on the ground floor have segmented marcaroned arches, and those of the piano nobile are topped with panels sculpted with garlands, birds and other motifs.
Henri Barrelet’s magnificent calade (mosaic with pebbles) can be seen in the
courtyard. Note the comets, most likely inspired by the appearance of Halley’s Comet in 1759.

You are now aimed back towards the city’s center. Cross through the small Place Henri-Manguin, where the Fauve painter had an atelier, and then the Place du Cloître-Saint-Pierre or the Place des Châtaignes (chesnuts). After having gone around the chevet of the Eglise Saint-Pierre, you must also traverse the Place Carnot.
At the corner of Rue des Marchands there is a corbelled, half-timbered house.

It dates to the late fifteenth century, and is the last of a kind of house that was very common in Medieval Avignon. It is often wrongly called « Maison de Rascas » because Bernard de Rascas, founder of the Hôpital Sainte-Marthe, perhaps possessed a house on the site in the fourteenth century. Now take Rue des Fourbisseurs. The large Hôtel de Belli, still entirely Gothic, occupies the corner of Rue du Vieux-Sextier.

Also notice its flamboyant corner niche with Virgin, dating from the same period. Take a left onto Rue du Vieux-Sextier, which was laid in 1754 by Jean-Baptiste and Jean-Pierre Franque who created the butcher, tripe and fish shop buildings near the Place Pie market.

The buildings have arcades with decorative partitioning, and keystones with animal heads or tools relating to the meat trade than can still be seen among the commercial trappings. An arcade to the left gives onto Place Jérusalem. This passageway constituded one of the three main gates to the ghetto, or carrière des Juifs. Jews were required to inhabit this quarter from the thirteenth century. Most of the ghetto disappeared during nineteenth-century urbanization.

Synagogue

Local place names attest to the secular presence of a Jewish community in Avignon. The old ghetto was located along the slopes of the Rocher, and Rue Vieille-Juiverie recalls this fact. In the thirteenth century, the « Carrière » was moved near to the Saint-Pierre parish, a neighborhood that also still bears marks of this history. Place Jérusalem and Rue Jacob still exist ; Rue Abraham no longer does.

Members of the Jewish community were required to live in this area, and the « Juiverie » was sealed off by three gates : the Porte d’En-Haut, the Porte d’En-Bas, and the Portalet de la Calandre.

In the midst of the Carrière, a synagogue, entirely rebuilt in the eighteenth century, was reconstructed. During the Revolution the Carrière, like all ghettos, was eliminated. At the end of the nineteenth century this part of Avignon underwent many transformations due to the laying of new roads and the enlarging or elimination of others. Stones along the ground indicate the contours of former areas of habitation. The synagogue was constructed based on the plans of the architect Joffroy between 1846 and 1848 after the previous structure burned down in 1845.

From the Place Jérusalem, head right to the Place Saint-Jean-le-Vieux, and then wals through the Place Pie to reach Rue Thiers (laid between 1869 and 1878). At the second corner turn right on Rue Four-de-la-Terre. The beautiful door at number 37 belongs to the Hôtel de Montaigu. It was built in 1668 by Louis-François de la Valfenière and Jean Rochas. The « à l’impériale » stairway is striking.
The building is a municipal property that was conferred to the
Compagnons du Travail for the teaching of their complicated and traditional building techniques. Turn left at the end of the street, and take Rue Bonneterie to Rue des Teinturiers.

Rue des teinturiers

Rue des Teinturiers is without doubt one of the most picturesque streets of the old city. It follows the course of a branch of the Sorgue River, which originates at the Fontaine-du-Vaucluse, and formely fed the moat of the twelfth-century ramparts (at the canal is now covered over). In the fifteenth century it was called Rue du Cheval-Blanc, after a planted with mulberries, thanks to the Confrérie Notre-Dame-du-Salut.

In the eighteenth century the water was used in printed cotton factories, an industry that was particularly profitable at the time, to be reactivated in the nineteenth century. Eventually other industries took over the sites, harnessing the power of the Sorgue with large paddlewheels.
A beautiful
gothic house, the Maison du Quatre de Chiffre, is located at the corner of Rue Guillame-Puy.

Across the way, at the intersection of Rue des Lices, the final vestiges of the Cordeliers’monastery can be seen, an absidal chapel from what was one of the largest churches in Avignon. Halfway down Rue des Teinturiers stands the Chapelle des Pénitents Gris, the only brotherhood still active in Avignon –and its first. A popular miracle took palce there in 1443 : during floods caused by the overflow of the Rhône and the Sorgue, the waters nevertheless remained suspended along the walls of the chapel, permitting the brothers to preserve the holy sacrament.

Couvent des Cordeliers

This major convent was destroyed in 1806 and all that remains are a few vestiges of the church ant the partial bell tower, which were incorporated into the structure of the Lycée Saint-Joseph built on the site in the middle of the nineteenth century. This couvent participated in two phases of the medieval urban development of Avignon. First, the Cordeliers (Franciscans) made their home in 1233 near the Imbert gate, on the banks of the Sorgue, during the same movement that established the Dominicans, Carmelites, Augustines, etc… , outside the earlier city walls. All of these establishments soon gave rise to boroughs. Secondly, the convent underwent further changes in the fourteenth century, including the reconstruction of a very large church. Such work was also done for the Augustines and several others convents that enjoyed the largess of the popes or cardinals. Here, John XXII began this reconstruction tat was still being subsidized by Clement VI.

This typical Avignonnais church consisted of a single nave with lateral chapels built under the buttresses. The bell tower, however, belongs to the same style as that of the Carmelites or of Notre-Dame-la-Principale. The lateral chapels housed the tombs of Avignon’s most important families. It is said that Petrarch’s famous Laura was buried there in 1348, in a tomb where supposedly François I himself would come to meditate.

In the cloister that was rebuilt once again in the seventeenth century, Louis XIV came in 1660, attempting to heal the scrofulous patients who had been gathered for his visit. During the Revolution, on October 16th 1791, a patriot by the name of Lescuyer was assassined by papists in the church. This assassination, along with the reprisals for the Glacière massacre that took place in the Palais des Papes, caused a national uproar.

Chapelle des Pénitents Gris

Accessible from Rue des Teinturiers, the Chapelle des Pénitents Gris was constructed in several stages on the site of the Sainte-Croix Oratory, where tradition has it that Louis VIII Prayed in 1226. Of the many penitent brotherhoods in Avignon subsisting until the French Revolution, only the Black Penitents and the Grey Penitents remain.
Its members continue to commemorate the miracle reputed to have occurred on November 30, 1433.

Visitors approach the chapel through a large vestibule whose paneled ceiling was constructed in 1631 by Antoine Coste and Barthélemy Blachère. In the eighteenth century the Chapelle des Vignerons was constructed in the vestibule for the winegrowers’broterhood. There is also a beautiful hexagonal chamber, dating from the end of the sixteenth century. Its vault is decorated with liernes and tierceron ribbing by the master masons Barthélemy Legar (or Loyal) and Coste (1591-94).

Paintings by Nicolas Mignard and by Parrocel line the walls. A conversion of Saint Paul formerly attributed to Simon de Châlons is depicted on a large wood panel. This work embodies the vigorous and turbulent style of Michael Angelo adapted by mannerist Proençal painters in the second half of the sixteenth century. On the left is the Chapelle de Notre-Dame-de-Délivrance (1708-9). It was constructed within three arcades of the cloister of the former monastery and replaced the Chapelle des Morts.

Services are conducted in the main nave, called the Nave of the Miracle, which was reconstructed 1816-18. It is flanked by wooden stalls that were originally in the Abbey of Sénanque.
Among the paintings on the walls is a
Nativity by Parrocel. The stained glass windows are signed by Martin and date from the nineteenth century.

Maison du Quatre de Chiffre

This one of the Gothic houses extant in Avignon. It owes its name to a now barely legible monogram on the facade, often interpreted to have had commercial significance. A small cartouche indicated the date of construction (1493). Despite the numerous modifications it has undergone, especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, its Gothic character remains intact, thanks to crenellations, merlons, loopholes and fantastic gargoyles. A gracefull winding stair connects the stories. The salon contains a remarkable ceiling and a majestic fireplace.

Head back to Rue Bonneterie, and take left on Rue de la Masse which is rich in hôtel particuliers. Number 19, the Hôtel Salvador was built between 1706 and 1712 by Jean-Baptiste Franque, is on the right of the narrowest part of the street. Next, turn left and follow Rue Noël-Biret to Rue des Lices, whose name, meaning jousting space, corresponds to this location between the old ramparts. The convent of the Dame-du-Verbe-Incarné is the immediate left. Its chapel was built between 1725-28 by François and Jean-Baptiste Franque. A little further down is the Collège Saint-Joseph, a newer Jesuit establishment, built in the nineteenth century on the side of the Cordelier Monastery. Now turn right onto Rue des Lices.

Aumône générale

This intitution was created in 1592 for the purpose of receiving and aiding the poor. It was also conscientiously motivated by a mission to check the misdeeds that poverty may provoke. It was established on the edge of Rue des Lices in 1610, and built in several stages of construction. The U-shaped ensemble of buildings, with its four superposed arcaded galleries, went up between 1669 and 1778. The architectural contributions of Jean-Baptiste and Jean-Pierre Franque were made towards the end of this period. The men’s quarters were on the east. Their respective courts were separated by a north-south oriented chapel, and the women’s area abutted the road with a shorter building, called the « Galley », in which fallen women were housed.

Towards the middle of the nineteenth century the Aumône générale was renamed, and transformed into, the « Travelers’Barracks ». In 1890 the Ecole des Beaux-Arts moved in. In the interim the chapel, the « Galley » and several other buildings were destroyed. When the art school moved out, in 1998, the city sold the building, which is now scheduled to be restored.

Continue to the traffic light at the intersection of Rue des Trois-Faucons, and bear left to reach the Place des Corps-Saints. Move along next to the large structures of the Eglise des Célestins, on the right.

Eglise du couvent des Célestins

When Cardinal Pierre de Luxembourg died in 1387 at the age of nineteen, he hoped to the buried with humility « as the Roman court instructs » in the Cemetery for the Poor, on the banks of the Sorgue. Very soon miracles began to take place at the tomb which became such an important pilgrimage site that Marie de Blois, Queen of Sicily, had a small wood chapel built there in 1389. In 1393, Clement VII granted the Celestines the authorization to found their monastery on this very site.

The church’s first stone was laid on June 25, 1395 by the Dukes de Berry and de Bourgogne, as well as the Duke d’Orléans, uncles and brother of King Charles VI, the monastery’s founder. The details of the construction of the edifice are known thanks to an agreement with the Lyonnais sculptor and stone mason, Pierre Morel, dated april 11, 1396. The apse and transept ere ready to receive their vaults in 1398 and were completed c.1401. But the construction of the nave was halted in 1424 due to insufficient resources. The last span was then closed off with a wall, and traces of this modification are still visible on the western facade.
Eventually, a number of
chapels were added on the north and south sides, enlarging the church.

The original wood chapel was replaced by a fourbayed construction. This chapel went up at a right angle to the original and was also eventually edged with lateral chapels. The monastery received many donations in the fifteenth century. The chapels were adorned with tableaux and altarpieces, such as Francesco Laurana’s well known Bearing of the Cross, donated by the King René d’Anjou in 1480 (on view in the Eglise Saint-Didier).

By the seventeenth century the Celestine monastery was one of the most sumptous in Avignon, with one of the richest accumulations of art. It was during this period that the church and the cloister’s gothic doorways were reworked by François Royers de la Valfenière, and that the relics of Saint Bénezet were added to those of Saint Pierre de Luxembourg (1674).

The monastery’s prestige did not save it from being pillaged during the Revolution, nor from being tranformed into a branch of the Invalides in 1801, and then into a prison. The tombs of Clement VII and Pierre de Luxembourg, as well as those of number of prelates (whose vestiges, however, can be seen in the Musée du Petit Palais), sculpted wood confession booths, and paintings were destroyed. Currently occupied by administrative offices, the chevet of the main church , as well as the perpendicular construction added to the original can be seen along Rue Saint-Michel. At the far end, the Chapelle de Saint-Michel-et-de-tous-les-Saints (today the Maison de l’Habitat) can be seen.

It was constructed between 1369 and 1378 in the Cemetery for the Poor. Its apse presents similar characteristics to that of Saint-Martial, apparently executed by the same master in 1390. This apse is also pentagonal and offers an alternation of large open bays and plated tracery resembling that of the exterior. An impressive ornamental vocabulary was deployed for the vault, which is even more complex than the one at Saint-Martial.

The ribs of the vault’s compartments bear the same perforated and cusped quatrefoils as Saint-Martial’s. The ribs descend toward musician angels who raise their heads adoringly towards a seated, wounded, Chrit who occupies the keystone. Each of the vault’s compartment is enriched with liernes and tiercerons and ornamented keystones (kneeling Virgin and John the Baptist, and the four Evangelists).

Along with Saint-Martial, this church marks Avignon’s adoption of the International Gothic style

Come off the church square and follow Avenue de Lattre-de-Tassigny along the buildings of the Hautpoul Barracks.

Caserne Hautpoul

The gardens of the Couvent des Célestins extend along the ramparts from the monastic buildings to the Jesuit novitiate. After the Revolution, and untill 1850, the Invalides occupied the Celestine’buildings (known as Saint-Louis) as well as the extensive gardens whose paths bear the names of victorious battles. In 1861 the city of Avigno gave the site over to the state for the purpose of building new barracks, thereby freeing up the Palais des Papes for other purposes.

The Hautpoul Barracks were completed in 1865, and the first regiment of artillery pontoneers moved in. It became the Seventh Regiment of Engineers, renowned for their continued organization of the Festival of Saint Barbara. The main quadrange was sealed off by a heaby iron gate and flanked by two guard-rooms that were destroyed in 1950 when the station was appropriated by the state for administrative offices. Behind it, in the former Cour de Chine, modern buildings designed by Fernand Pouillon were erected. Their coolness and severity is quite impressive. Their style and position, on the Cours Jean-Jaurès (former Cours Bonaparte) laid during the Second Empire, brings out the changes Avignon underwent in the nineteenth century.

The Chamber of Commerce is across the street from the Hautpoul Barracks. It occupies the hôtel of the industrialist Olivier, built c.1870 by the architect Florent Olagnier. This promenade ends by taking the Cours Jean-Jaurès to Rue de la République.

Rue de la République

The arrival of the railroard radically changed the pontifical city. Openning a station led Mayor Pamard’s administration to adopt a general plan of realignment that called for the construction of a large thoroughfare traversing the ramparts and leading up to the Place de l’Horloge. The plan was adopted by Napoléon III, and in 1855 the construction of Rue de la République began, in three main phases. The lower part, from the rampart to Rue Joseph-Vernet, was accomplished in 1856-57.

This was the easiest portion, since it mainly traversed the gardens of the Celestines. The second part was achieved in 1863. This required truncating and ripping open a number of classic and medieval houses (such as the Hôtel de Sade and the Aubanel print works), and the elimination of Rue Saint-Marc. The third stage, occasioning the destruction of a famous café on the site of the last jeu de paume in Avignon, came up to the Place de l’Horloge, and was completed in 1867.

Once completed, it was necessary to line the new thoroughfare with buildings. Despite a lack of documentation, we can say that most of the buildings are a good deal newer than the street. They mainly present the typical proportions of their epoch, although some are more elaborated and better-designed. Such is case of the Hôtel Danieli (number 17), constructed by the architect Valentin and completed in 1874.

Rue de la République also accommodated department stores, such as the Nouvelles Galeries (completed in 1904, perhaps by Léon Lamaizière, architect of Saint-Etienne) and Dames de France (inaugurated in 1926, whose construction led to the laying of a new perpendicular street, Rue Pourquery-de-Boisserin). Finally the laying of Rue de la République occasioned the creation of a new gate in the ramparts : the Porte de la République. Its current appearance is due to the intervention of Viollet-le-Duc. While it typically shows his unconvincing pseudo-medieval style, it now fits in the urban landscape.

Saint MartialNotre Dame de la PrincipaleEglise Saint PierreHôtel Madon - ChateaublancMaison de RascasLa boucherie, rue du Vieux SextierRue du Vieux SextierRue des TeinturiersCouvent des CordeliersChapelle des Pénitents grisL'aumone généraleLes CélestinsLes CélestinsHôtel DanieliHôtel Danieli