Rome was politically unstable during the 14th century and this caused six Popes to reign in Avignon from 1309 to 1376.
Avignon became a wealthy city as Cardinals and other church officials built sumptuous residences around the palace. Avignon became the most populous city in France.
During this time the church in Avignon became very wealthy which allowed the Popes to build summer residences along the Rhone at Chateneuf du Pape where they developed vineyards.
Plague And War
During the later half of the 14th Century the plague coupled with pillaging armies demanding tribute from wealthy Avignon forced Pope Gregory XI, in 1377, to return the Papacy to Rome.
With the return of the Papacy to Rome, a Roman Pope was elected and a schism developed between French and Roman church leaders. The French elected their own Pope who would reign from Avignon. The Avignon Papacy continued until 1405
Avignon's Palace of the Popes has been undergoing repair and restoration since becomming a musem in the 1920s.
Tours are offered within the buildings.
Palace of the Popes
The Palace of the Popes was built in the early Fourteenth Century as a fortified palace when Popes followed the lead of Pope Clement V in 1309 and established residence in France rather than Rome.
The Popes first lived as guest of the resident Dominicans who occupied buildings built in 1252. These bishop residences and convents would eventually be expanded over the 14th century to become home to six Roman Popes and then to Popes of the French church during a schism between Roman and French church leaders.