Vapour trail over the Palais des Papes, Avignon, France, 2004.
© Richard Bosomworth / Science & Society
The Palace of the Popes, one of many bearing the name, is one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe. Avignon became the residence of the Popes fleeing the violent chaos of Rome in 1309. It was built between 1335 and 1364 on a natural rocky outcrop at the northern edge of Avignon, overlooking the river Rhone.