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Avignon

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Carte Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Flag region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Avignon
Administration & Statistics

Administration
Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Departement Vaucluse
Postal code 84000

Statistics
Elevation 10-122 m
land area 65 km2
Population 91,283 (2007)
Density 1,409 /km2
Located in the southern part of France, Avignon is one of the important cities around the area of Provence. Situated along the banks of the Rhone River, it is a part of the Vaucluse department. The city is known to house more than 200,000 people, more than 15,000 of who inhabit the ramparts that had been built during the 14th century.

Avignon is no ordinary city; in fact, it is deep-rooted in history. According to records, the city has constantly seen inhabitants since the Stone Age when people would prefer to live in caves, which, for them, were their homes. These caves would typically be situated in a rocky area arising out of the Rhone River. This erstwhile area now houses a public park where people can sit and view the vast stretches of the countryside. Along with the park, the area also has a playground and a café.

If there is anything that makes Avignon a well-known French city, it is the fact that the Pope, who fled Rome during the 14th century, had taken shelter here. Historically, Avignon, because of its location between the Rhone River and the now barren Durance River, was considered strategically important. Interestingly, both these rivers were considered important trade routes even during the prehistoric era.

The city of Avignon prides itself in a number of historic sites, which are an attraction for travelers. The most significant among them is undoubtedly the Palais de Papes, the palace built by various Popes when they reached here during the troubled times. The structure of the palace is overbearing, considering it to be the largest Gothic construction existing in the world today.

The other tourist site of great significance in Avignon is the Le Pont Saint-Benezet. This ruined bridge is located close to the Palais des Papes and is believed to have been constructed to help the papacy maintain distance from the lawless city.

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