Week-end du 1er mai 2006 en Avignon : le palais des papes, le fameux pont ...
Le palais des papes
C'est la plus grande des constructions gothiques du Moyen Age. Depuis 1995, groupé avec le centre historique d'Avignon, il est classé sur la liste du patrimoine mondial de l'Unesco. Il est situé à l'intérieur de l'ancienne enceinte de remparts de la ville, à proximité du Rhône.
Avignon est devenue la résidence des papes en 1309 et le palais a été construit entre 1335 et 1352 sur une protubérance rocheuse au nord de la ville, surplombant le Rhône, sous les pontificats de Benoît XII et Clément VI. Il est visible du sommet des Alpilles (Bouches-du-Rhône). Il contient des fresques exceptionnelles peintes dès 1343 par des peintres venus de toute l'Europe, dirigées par Matteo Giovanetti, originaire de Viterbe.
Le pont d'Avignon
Le pont Saint-Bénezet est un pont construit de 1177 à 1185 sur le Rhône, partant de la ville d'Avignon sur la rive nord-ouest. Sur la deuxième de ses quatre arches est édifiée la chapelle Saint-Bénezet. . Il enjambait le Rhône sur environ 900 mètres et comportait 22 arches. Il n'en reste que 4 aujourd'hui !
Sur le pont d'Avignon
L'on y danse, l'on y danse
Sur le pont d'Avignon
L'on y danse tous en rond .
Ce pont, poste-frontière entre l'état pontifical et le territoire de France, était l'un des seuls pour traverser le Rhône sur des kilomètres en amont et en aval. Il a été, durant toute une période, l'unique pont entre la ville de Lyon et la mer. Auparavant, on traversait le Rhône en barque.
La plus grande partie du pont était la propriété du roi qui l'a peu entretenu. Suite à de fortes crues du Rhône, une première arche s'est effondrée en 1603, puis trois autres en 1605... toutes les quatre ont été rebâties vers 1628. En 1633, juste après la ré-ouverture du pont, deux nouvelles arches se sont effondrées. En 1669, une nouvelle crue du Rhône a emporté plusieurs arches.
Week-end of May 1st 2006, in Avignon : the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) where the Popes lived for much of the 14th century.; the famous Pont d'Avignon, also known as the Pont St-Bénezet, a famous medieval bridge on the Rhone river. The bridge has achieved worldwide fame through its commemoration by the song "Sur le pont d'Avignon" ("On the bridge of Avignon").
The Palais des Papes is one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe. Avignon became the residence of the Popes in 1309, when the Gascon Bertrand de Goth, as Pope Clement V, unwilling to face the violent chaos of Rome after his election (1305), moved the Papal Curia to Avignon. Clement lived as a guest in the Dominican monastery at Avignon, and his successor Pope John XXII set up a magnificent establishment there, but the reconstruction of the old bishops' palace was begun in earnest by Pope Benedict XII (1334-42) and continued by his successors to 1364. The site, on a natural rocky outcrop at the northern edge of Avignon, overlooking the river Rhône, was that of the old episcopal palace of the bishops of Avignon. The Palais was built in two principal phases with two distinct segments, known as the Palais Vieux (Old Palace) and Palais Neuf (New Palace). By the time of its completion, it occupied an area of 11,000 m² (2.6 acres). The building was enormously expensive, consuming much of the papacy's income during its construction.
The Palais Vieux was constructed by the architect Pierre Poisson of Mirepoix at the instruction of Pope Benedict XII. The austere Benedict had the old episcopal palace razed and replaced with a much larger building centered on a cloister, heavily fortified against attackers. Its four wings are flanked with high towers.
Under Popes Clement VI, Innocent VI and Urban V, the building was expanded to form what is now known as the Palais Neuf. Jean de Louvres was commissioned by Clement VI to build a new tower and adjoining buildings, including a 52 m long Grand Chapel to serve as the location for papal acts of worship. Two more towers were built under Innocent VI. Urban V completed the main courtyard (known as the Court d'Honneur) with further buildings enclosing it. The interior of the building was sumptuously decorated with frescos, tapestries, paintings, sculptures and wooden ceilings.
The popes departed Avignon in 1377, returning to Rome, but this prompted the Papal Schism during which time the antipopes Clement VII and Benedict XIII made Avignon their home until 1408. The latter was imprisoned in the Palais for ten years after being besieged within in 1398. The building remained in the hands of antipapal forces for some years – it was besieged from 1410 to 1411 – but was returned to the authority of papal legates in 1433.
Although the Palais remained under papal control (along with the surrounding city and Comtat Venaissin) for over 350 years afterwards, it gradually deteriorated despite a restoration in 1516. When the French Revolution broke out in 1789 it was already in a bad state when it was seized and sacked by revolutionary forces. In 1791 it became the scene of a massacre of counter-revolutionaries, whose bodies were thrown into the Tour des Latrines in the Palais Vieux.
The Palais was subsequently taken over by the Napoleonic French state for use as a military barracks and prison. Although it was further damaged by the military occupation, especially under the anti-clerical Third Republic, when the remaining interior woodwork was cleared away for use of the structure as a stables – the frescos were covered over and largely destroyed – ironically this ensured the shell of the building's physical survival. It was only vacated in 1906, when it became a national museum. It has been under virtually constant restoration ever since.
The majority of the Palais is now open to the public; it also houses a large convention center and the archives of the département of Vaucluse.
DIAPORAMA PHOTOS - SLIDESHOW