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Introducing Avignon

Ringed by incredibly preserved 800-year-old stone ramparts, graceful Avignon's turn as the seat of papal power bestowed the city with a treasury of magnificent art and architecture, none grander than the massive medieval fortress and papal palace, Palais des Papes. In romantic counterpoint, Pont d'Avignon – of nursery-rhyme fame – spans halfway across the Rhône. Ancient cobbled streets pass inviting boutiques; leafy squares overflow with cafe tables; and in July thousands come for Avignon's renowned performing-arts festival.