"Holy (anti)papal cannonballs!" Top 5 Page for this destination Palais des Papes - Popes' Palace Tip by CatherineReichardt

Palais des Papes - Popes' Palace, Avignon: 56 reviews and 127 photos

  Hand hewn stone cannonballs, Palais des Papes
by CatherineReichardt

Apologies for the title, but it just seemed like the sort of bizarre epithet that Robin would utter in the 1960s Batman TV series, and I couldn't resist!

The question of course is, why would a papal palace - home to a man of God and his earthly representative - need instruments of warfare?

The answer of course is obvious. Popes may have been men of the cloth, but they were in effect warrior princes who just happened to have taken holy orders - often as a matter of political expediency rather than out of any deep religious vocation - and conducted themselves as such. Added to that, for much of its papal history, Avignon was home to the Antipope, whom powerful political influences (backed by significant military might) were trying their best to dislodge.

The Palais des Papes may be described as the largest Gothic palace ever built, but it isn't really a palace: it's a beautiful fortified corporate headquarters.

Aesthetically, I just loved this pile of cannonballs, which are located just inside the entrance to the palace. I was enchanted by their erratic hand hewn shape, rough texture, varying size and differing colours - in fact, I was sorely tempted to 'borrow' a few for my rockery!

Address: Place du Palais
Phone: 04 90 27 50 73
Website: http://www.palais-des-papes.com

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 12, 2012
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