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Published on Aug 2, 2009
Home to nine popes during the 14th century and one of the most beautiful cities in France today, Avignon is a treasure house of palaces, museums and meandering lanes, surrounded by an old fortified wall that still protects it from modernization. This city in the heart of beautiful Provence lays claim to dozens of historic monuments, especially the great Palace of the Popes which was gradually enlarged into an imposing fortification during the 60-year papal residency and is now a museum open to the public. Stroll over to Rue Joseph Vernet, perhaps the prettiest street in town, lined with lovely shops, galleries and restaurants. Detour a few blocks up and down Rue St. Agricol, which offers a similar environment of pleasant shops and leads to the main square of town, Place de lHorloge. Continue with a stroll along the main street of Avignon, Rue de la République, which extends through the center from the train station nearly to the Popes Palace in a straight line about a mile long. Look for one of the most picturesque streets in town, Rue des Teinturiers, the street of the tinters. Several ancient water wheels along this cobbled lane are still turning, pushed along by a quaint little, tree-lined canal. The wheels were once used to provide power for the manufacturing and dyeing of textiles. Now this is a trendy street, with cafes, boutiques and a small theater, a mere ten-minute walk from the town center.