This full day Marseille shore trip
visits Avignon Palace of the Popes and the famous bridge Pont d'Avignon. In the afternoon you visit the impressive Roman aqueduct, Pont du Gard, which is truly an amazing sight.
After meeting your drive guide, you drive to Avignon. In 1309 Pope Clement V decided that Rome was no longer suitable for the Papal Seat, and so he moved the Papacy to Avignon. Though he died in 1314, another six French Popes resided here, and Avignon became a cultural center with a flourishing university and home to a beautiful medieval palace built by the Popes. From 1378 until the early 1400s two Popes simultaneously vied for power, one in Avignon and the other in Rome, until finally the Papal Seat was returned to Rome.
Today the Palais des Papes or Papal Palace is a highlight of any visit to Avignon. The Palace is composed of two buildings, built one after the other, in the mid-1300s. Quite different than the Vatican, this palace was fortified to withstand attacks from enemies. You'll find battlements, turrets, arrow slits and deadly gateways. Today the interior is empty except for tapestries and frescos. You can tour the palace (entry feee not included) by audio guide to imagine what life was like here and how the Popes lived.
After a visit to the palace, you can climb up to the Rocher des Doms, a park offering views over the town and its famous bridge, the Pont St-B̩nezet. This medieval bridge was once nearly 3,000 feet long and was supported by 22 arches. A flood in the 17th century reduced it to 4 arches and now it has been made famous by a French children's song "Sur le Pont d'Avignon".
Before leaving Avignon you have free time for lunch (meal not included).
This afternoon you visit Pont du Gard (entry fee not included), or bridge of the Gard, considered one of the best preserved Roman sites in all of Europe. The bridge was built in 19 BC and was part of an aqueduct system that was 35 miles long and brought water from Uzes to Nimes. Today you can cross the bridge on its lower level and climb into the surrounding hills for wonderful views. As you cross over it, try to imagine this being built over 2000 years ago. The stones are perfectly carved and placed so that no mortar was needed. The Grand Expo near the parking facilities includes an interactive museum about Roman life and the use of water in Roman times.
You end your day by returning to Marseille.Mobility
: NO wheelchairs
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and Marseille Shore Excursions
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