Avignon Cathedral (Cathédrale
Notre-Dame des Doms d'Avignon) is a Roman Catholic cathedral, and a national
monument of France, located in Avignon, above the Palais des Papes. It is the
seat of the Archbishop of Avignon. It was built on the Rocher des Doms and
overlooks the Rhone valley. The bell tower is now crowned by a gilded statue of
the Blessed Mary.
The earliest recorded mention
of Notre-Dame des Doms cathedral dates from 1037. The current cathedral as we
see it today was built in the 12th century in three successive phases. The
belltower and nave, then the cupola, and lastly the portico. The cathedral was
enlarged during the last two centuries of the Middle Ages, with the addition of
side chapels. A new apse and tribunes were added in the late 17th century. There
is a chapel with the tomb of Pope John XXII, and the church treasure of
liturgical vestments and objects.
The cathedral is a Romanesque
building, mainly of the 12th century, and underwent renovations in the 15th and
17th centuries. the most prominent feature of which is the gilded statue of the
Virgin Mary which surmounts the western tower. Among the many works of art in
the interior, perhaps the most beautiful is the mausoleum of Pope John XXII, a
masterpiece of Gothic carving of the 14th century.
Inside, the cathedral
contains the Flamboyant Gothic tombs of some of the Avignon popes. Like most of
Avignon's churches, the cathedral was sacked during the Revolution. From the
cathedral, enter the promenade du Rocher-des-Doms to stroll through its garden
and enjoy the view across the Rhône to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.