Escorted Rail Tours to Avignon
France's Papal city
Although successive tribes settled in and took control of Avignon, the town was generally seen as insignificant until the early 14th century. At this time, the city became home to the first of seven successive popes, based here to avoid factional fighting in Rome. In a bid to rival Rome's Papacy, Avignon's architects designed many of the city's magnificent surviving features, including the grand city fortifications and the marvellous Palace of the Popes - one of the most important Medieval Gothic buildings in Europe. Throughout the entire era, Avignon developed into a thriving centre of culture; the celebrated Avignon School of painting derived from Italian artists sent for by the popes, and Avignon's University was established in the 1330s.