Window Seat: Palace of the Popes, Avignon, France
Travel Photo – Palais des Papes, Palace of the Popes
The Palais des Papes, or Palace of the Popes in English, is a colossal structure in Avignon, France that became the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in the 14th century as the result of a schism between King Philip IV of France and Pope Boniface VIII. When Clement V (a Frenchman) became the Pope in 1305, he declined to move to Rome and moved his court to the papal enclave in Avignon where it remained for the next 67 years, and eventually housed seven popes.
The Palace of the Popes has a number of open spaces where light can get inside the structure, but as you might imagine, most of the structure was damp, dark, and lit only by the flickering of candles. Therefore, little areas like this must have been popular places to steal away for a conversation, or perhaps a quiet place to contemplate, pray, or perhaps read by the light of the window.
Because our Viking River Cruises tour guide was using a QuietVox sound system for our tour, my headset allowed me the opportunity to sneak ahead or stay behind the group and still hear our guide’s historical information. For this photograph, I stayed behind our group and was able to make a composition without the distraction of people in the photograph. Therefore, our minds are free for a little more unobstructed imagination as we gaze upon the scene.
I’m not certain, but I suspect that those windows are not original to the 14th century. So, I found myself wondering if there was glass in the window back then. I wondered what smells might be wafting in the window. Our guide taught us that the popes had their own zoo just outside the palace. I wondered how long people actually sat on those hard stone benches. Perhaps they brought pillows. It looks to be a very conversational space. I wonder, what important conversations might have happened in this very space?
The other thing that comes to my mind is how our minds find beauty in a scene where there is light shining in the darkness. Have you ever wondered why that is? In pure darkness, we find insanity. But, when light invades the darkness, we find beauty. The theologian in me thinks that it’s a God thing.
In any event, I hope you enjoy this scene as much as I enjoyed capturing it to share with you. 🙂
Does this scene bring any wondering to your mind? If so, share it in the comments section below.
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