Papal Palace

1128 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2017

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

On your own

Reasons for trip

The “tour”: begins in the large Courtyard of Honour separating the Old and New Palaces. The difference in architecture between the two is clearly visible with the Old palace on the left. In the corner is the Indulgence window used to present a new Pope and for Papal blessings.

A doorway and corridor leads into what is described as the Cloisters in the centre of the Old Palace. The gallery gives access the the different parts of the old palace. Many of these now house the archives which are not open.

The first room visited is the Consistory Room. The Pope surrounded by his Cardinals sat on a throne at one end. They deliberated on major political, judicial and theological issues and received foreign dignitaries or gave public audiences. The room is now used as an exhibition space. The remains of wall paintings by Matteo Giovannetti can be seen round the top of the walls. Off the Consistory Room is the Chapel of St John whose walls are covered by “frescoes.”: This is admired from the doorway and there is no photography allowed.

Next to this is the Grand Tinel which was the Papal banqueting hall and would have been decorated with frescoes. Banquets were lavish and could last for several days. The remains were given to the poor of Avignon. The room was also used for conclaves to elect a new pope.

Off it is the chapel of St Martial (again only visible from the doorway and no photographs) with its beautiful painted “frescoes,”:,_par_JM_Rosier.JPG with scenes from the life of St Martial. The deep blue colour comes from lapis lazuli.

Beyond the Grand Tinel is the Parement Chamber 714 which acted as an antechamber to the Pope’s private apartments. People granted a private audience with the Pope waited here. The Pope and his cardinals could also debate in private here. Its walls would have been hung with tapestries hence the name. On the walls are the remains of a false marble dado dating from the C14th. There are also displays of Medieval tiles.

A narrow passageway and stairs lead to the Pope’s bedroom in the Papal Tower. The walls here are covered with wonderful “frescoes.”: These form scrolls of vine leaves painted on a pale blue background. The brightly coloured floor tiles are reproductions of Medieval tiles. Beyond is the Pope’s Office with walls covered with “hunting”: and “fishing scenes.”:

Beyond the private apartments, the tour enters Clement VII ’s New Palace. The sacristy now houses statues including a polychrome entombment and copies of statues of French kings and queens. This leads into the Grand Chapel, now a large bare space used for exhibitions. The doorway from the ceremonial staircase and Indulgence window is particularly splendid.

The ceremonial staircase was used for major ceremonies leading to the chapel from the Courtyard of Honour. Guard rooms off it were used to keep watch and control over entry to the Chapel.

Below the Chapel is the Audience Chamber. This is a large empty space with massive pillars supporting the rib vaulted ceiling. There are the remains of frescoes on the walls, including a C15th Coronation of the Virgin. One of the roof vaults still has the remains of a Matteo Giovannetti fresco showing Old Testament kings, prophets and patriarchs.

A series of rooms off the chapel leads to the staircase to the Audience Tower with the terrace cafe. It is worth climbing up here for views down onto the Palace, the Cathedral and also Avignon.

I’m not sure that I would bother with a guided tour again. It was a large group and the Palace was busy. It quite difficult to hear wheat the guide was saying even though we had earphones. There are Information boards in English in each of the rooms. The main advantage was not getting lost and making sure we did see all the the palace. Another time I think I would just use the audio guide from the ticket office.

I visited here on Day 7 of Burgundy, the River Rhone and Provence, a river cruise with Riviera Travel.

My full account with all the pictures can be found “here.”: here.


Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.