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Palais des Papes, Avignon

Place du Palais
France 84000
Tel: 33 4 90 27 50 00's insider take:

The massive Palais des Papes, built when the Holy See moved its seat to Avignon in the early 1300s fearing insurrection in Rome, is impregnable and austere. It dominates the town, both with its bulk and as a tourist attraction. It claims to be Europe's largest Gothic palace and is undeniably impressive—even beautiful—from outside, with its towers, spires, and crenellations. However, it is tedious to visit: The opulent trappings of papal power have long since been stripped out, and the palace's 25 rooms are mostly bare. The exception is the papal bedroom, which is frescoed with vines and birds and laid with a richly colored (reproduction) tile floor.

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