Villeneuve-lès-Avignon lays on the right bank of the Rhone in the Gard department. Villeneuve is close to Avignon, as its name suggests - "lès" means "near" in old French language. Villeneuve and Avignon are only separated by the two arms of the Rhône and the island of Barthelasse.
The Rhone linking Villeneuve and Avignon is also a boundary that separates them. Today Villeneuve-les-Avignon is located in two separates departments ( Gard and Vaucluse) and two different regions (Provence and Languedoc). In Middle ages, Avignon and the left bank of the river was under the remote authority of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, then the territory of the Holy See until the Revolution, while the lord of Villeneuve was the king of France.
Far from being a city under the influence, simple extension of its larger neighbor, Villeneuve-les-Avignon boasts a rich heritage and a personality who deserves to cross the Rhone to discover them.
Overlooking Villeneuve-les-Avignon, a wall surrounds the imposing summit of Mount Andaon: the Fort St. Andre. The fortress was built by the King of France to protect the Abbey of St. André who was behind the foundation the city in the 10th century. The village, then also called St. Andrew, is rapidly developing and prosperous, enjoying the wealth generated by the Saint Benezet bridge built by the people of Avignon. The King of France grants protection to Villeneuve, and besides the fort, he built the Philippe le Bel Tower that controls access to the bridge.
The permanent residence of the pope and his court at Avignon would profoundly change the appearance of Villeneuve. The Cardinals, Princes of the church are cramped in the papal city, they built palaces in Villeneuve, called "Livrée", we counted fifteen Villeneuve. In the 14th century, Villeneuve is a kind of "palace estate". These palaces were abandoned after the departure of the pope, they are modified, dismembered and incorporated into future homes. It is worth identifying the traces visible assets while walking in the old Villeneuve.
It is remaining in the old Villeneuve charm of a village of Provence, with the peaceful streets, the time-worn walls, where time moves more slowly.
The haughty Tour Philippe-le-Bel stands solidly anchored on a rock near the Rhone. 39 meters high, it kept access to the bridge Saint Benezet. King Philippe le Bel of France ordered its construction in 1293 with a series of fortifications have disappeared. The king wanted to mark the belonging of Villeneuve to the Kingdom of France and to keep watch on expansion of Avignon.
The Tower Philippe le Bel has three storeys. The top floor was added in 1360 against the incursions of the Great Companies pressing.
From the top floor of the Tower Philippe le Bel, the scenery is beautiful, the Rhone encloses its two arms of the Island of Barthelasse green. The mighty Palace of the Popes stands out clearly above the roofs and steeples of Avignon. Further sight is limited only by the Mont Ventoux, the "Dentelles of Montmirail" and the Alpilles
A visit to the Museum Pierre de Luxembourg perfectly complements that of the Chartreuse. The works of art rescued from the revolutionary turmoil and the ruin of the monastery are preserved in this former cardinal palace, converted in mansion during the 17th century . These works give a good idea of the richness and decoration of the Chartreuse du Val de Benediction at the time of its prosperity.
The Museum Pierre de Luxembourg houses a masterpiece of 15th century: "The Coronation of the Virgin" by Enguerrand Quarton. It is a great altarpiece (he was placed behind the altar). We found the "order" detailing specific elements of the painting. Virgin crowned by the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (in the form of a dove) are the central characters, surrounded by angels and the dignitaries of the Church. Further down, the earthly kingdom with the cities of Rome and Jerusalem. Finally below the hells are full of fascinating details.
Accommodation in Villeneuve-les-Avignon
selection of B&B near Villeneuve-les-Avignon
Website of the Office of Tourism : www.tourisme-villeneuvelezavignon.fr
Sights & Monuments :
- Charterhouse of the Val de Benediction
- Church of Notre Dame (14th century)
- le Fort Saint André
- The Museum Pierre de Luxembourg
- Philippe le Bel Tower
- Market on Thursday morning and Saturday morning
- Village fete last weekend of July (four days)
- Festival d'Avignon
Coming to Villeneuve-les-Avignon:
GPS coordinates: N 43°58'02'' - E 4°47'48''