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Musee du Petit Palais Avignon

Avignon had the first human settlements from around 4000 BC. It was a matter of time before the city expanded and flourished. It has taken some centuries to make Avignon what it is today, a very modern city seeped in history. Avignon, at one point of time was the residence of quite a few popes who left the politics of Rome behind to settle here. The monasteries or other structures established by the popes still exist, though a few parts of these ancient and archaic buildings are in ruins. Some have been turned in to museums. One such very attractive and historical museum is Musee du Petit-Palais .

This is where the popes lived before Pope's Palace was constructed by Benedict XII . His birth name was Jacques Fournier.

And nothing much is known about him, but he is believed to have been born in a very modest family. Becoming a monk was a calling for him and he became a Cistercian monk soon. In 1311 he became Abbot of Fontfroide Abbey and gained name for his intelligence and meticulous administrative capabilities. He became Pope in 1334 AD. He made peace with the Emperor Louis IV, and reached an agreement with the Franciscans, who were at loggerheads with the Roman See . Benedict XII constructed the Palace of the Popes (Palais des Papes) for not only his residence but for the residence of future popes.

Petit Palais was the residence of the Popes before Benedict XII constructed the Popes Palace in Avignon. It is also known as Museum of Art of the Middle Ages and has a major part of the collection of the Marquis de Campana which are dedicated to early Italian artists, copious works from the Provencal school of the 15 th century and an extensive collection of sculptures from around the same time. It also has an wide-ranging and exceptional collection of paintings from the 13 th century through to 16 th centuries. Italian schools dominate, and most of the works are from Venice, Siena, and Florence, but there are also rooms devoted to art that are native to Avignon. There is a good collection of sculptures including pieces from the Middle Ages. Renaissance art is well represented too.

It is open daily from 9:30 AM till 12 PM and again from 2 PM to 6 PM.

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