Tag Archives: Chateauneuf-du-Pape Wine and UNESCO Palace of the Popes of Avignon France

Chateauneuf-du-Pape Wine and UNESCO Palace of the Popes of Avignon France

I love Chateauneuf-du-Pape Wine so I went to the Rhône wine region in southeastern France and I also visited The Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) in Avignon France. It is one of the largest Gothic buildings in Europe; surrounded by crenellated walls. It was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995. It covers over two and a half acres in a maze of galleries, chambers, chapels and passages.Image result for "Southern Rhone" Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Castle and vineyard, Southern Rhône region, southeastern France (above) and (below)

Avignon became the residence of the Popes in 1309 during the Avignon Papacy. Nine popes lived in Avignon; only seven were officially recognized by Rome and the others were considered anti-popes.

Avignon is one of the oldest cities in France and dates back to at least the 6th century BCE. While the earliest evidence for the permanent settlements in Avignon dates to the 6th century BCE, several artifacts dating to Neolithic times, around 4000 BCE, have been discovered just outside of the city. So no one knows for sure when Avignon was first permanently settled.

Like many of France’s oldest cities, Avignon was strategically located along trading routes used by the Greeks and Romans. Under Roman rule, Avignon became a fortified city and for a time during the Middle Ages, Avignon became an Arab stronghold. Eventually, Christianity came to Avignon and the city remained a papal possession until the French Revolution of the 18th century.

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It lies at a point on the east bank of the Rhône River where the narrow valley opens into a broad delta plain, northwest of Nîmes.

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It was the capital of the papacy from 1309 to 1377. Recognized for its architectural beauty and historic importance, the center of Avignon served as the European cultural capital for 2000.

“The private chapels and apartments used by the popes still have the priceless frescoes which bear witness to the innovative artistic work created by the French and Italian schools of painting in the 14th century. The wall paintings in the Saint Martial chapel, in the Saint John chapel and in the Grande Audience hall were painted by the Italian artist Matteo Giovannetti.”

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In the 14th century Avignon was the most important city in Europe: It was the seat of the Catholic church, represented in spectacular style by the Palais des Papes, the largest Gothic building in the world.

The Grand Chapel, where the Avignon popes wors...

The Grand Chapel, where the Avignon popes worshiped.

The Avignon Papacy, also known as the Babylonian Captivity, was the period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven successive popes resided in Avignon rather than in Rome:

Among the popes who resided in Avignon, subsequent Catholic historiography grants legitimacy to these:

Image result for inside north sacristy avignon

Image result for inside north sacristy avignon

 

Front of Pope's Palace in Avignon. Deutsch: Vo...
Front of Pope’s Palace in Avignon.
Avignon, Palais des Papes, France
Avignon, Palais des Papes, France

The papacy spent vast amounts of money on the facade and the luxurious frescoes in the interior. They were lavishly decorated by Simone Martini and Matteo Giovanetti. There are fabulous paintings and tapestries just like the Vatican in Rome.

The Palace was sacked during the French Revolution and the original luxurious contents is gone. Originally, the sumptuous fortress was the home of seven popes. It was eventually taken over by Napoleon and used for the military purposes. It became a museum in 1906.

SAINT MARTIAL CHAPEL

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Commissioned by Pope Clement VI, the frescoes tell the story of Saint Martial who was sent by Saint Peter to spread the word of the Gospel in the Limousin area of France – the Pope’s native region.

Français : 4 anges - Cortège funèbre de saint ...
 Chapelle de saint Martial, Palais des Papes, Avignon, Vaucluse, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SAINT JOHN CHAPEL

The walls and vault are decorated with frescoes which tell the story of the lives of Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist. This cycle of frescoes was painted between 1346 and 1348 by a team of artists under the direction of Matteo Giovannetti.

Frescoes inside Saint John's Chapel. Painted by Matteo Giovannetti in 1347-1348. This photo only: WikiMedia.org via JM Rosier.

Avignon lies on the Rhone river. It is surrounded by stone ramparts that were built in 1355.

Image result for Châteauneuf-du-Pape estates in the Rhone Valley.

The Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine region  is located in the Vaucluse departement halfway between Avignon and Orange in the valley of the Rhone.

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Châteauneuf-du-Pape literally translates to “The Pope’s new castle” and, indeed, the history of this appellation is firmly entwined with papal history. The wine produced in this region is considered “Southern Rhone”.

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As is typical of the southern Rhône, almost all Châteauneufs are blended wines, with 13 grape varieties permitted. Most are blends of four grapes, with grenache playing the dominant role, abetted by mourvèdre, syrah and cinsault.

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“The first thing to realize about the Southern Rhône is that virtually all the wines made there are blends. Grenache is the most widely planted grape, followed by Mourvèdre, Syrah, and Cinsault. While single-varietal wines can be found, the vast majority follow the GSM (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre) template. It’s a natural pairing, since Grenache is vigorous and flavorful, but also thin-skinned and lacking pigment. Hence, the darker, more powerful Mourvèdre and the fruitier Syrah are blended together to achieve a more complex, enjoyable wine.” Note that the bottles are embossed with the keys of St Peter and papal hat; unique to Châteauneuf-du-Pape bottlings.

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In 1308, Pope Clement V, former Archbishop of Bordeaux, relocated the papacy to the town of Avignon. “Avignon Popes” were said to be great lovers of Burgundy wines and did much to promote them during the 70-year Avignon Papacy.

Châteauneuf du Pape © VF

John XXII, who succeeded Clement V, regularly drank wine from the local vineyards to the north and did much to improve viticultural practices there. Under John XXII, the wines of this area came to be known as “Vin du Pape”, this term later becoming “Châteauneuf-du-Pape.” John XXII also built the famous castle which is the symbol of the appellation.

Image result for What does Châteauneuf-du-Pape mean

Image result for What does Châteauneuf-du-Pape mean

In Avignon, visit the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes), set majestically on Dome Rock. This Provençal town served as the papal seat of the Roman Catholic Church from 1309 to 1377.

Avignon is a town of art and culture best known for its annual July arts festival and the famous Pont d’Avignon also known as  The Pont Saint-Bénézet , the medieval bridge spanning the Rhône River.

Image result for Pont d’Avignon, the medieval bridge spanning the Rhône River.

 

Facade of the Palais des Papes in Avignon, France. Facade of the Palais des Papes in Avignon, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Statue on the
Statue on the “Palais des Papes” in Avignon, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Français : La vie de saint Martial - Remise du...
 Chapelle de saint Martial, Palais des Papes, Avignon, Vaucluse, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Avignon Avignon (Photo credit: LucaXino)
Français : La vie de saint Martial - Guérison ...
Français : La vie de saint Martial – Guérison de la fille d’Arnulfus – Voûtain sud. Chapelle de saint Martial, Palais des Papes, Avignon, Vaucluse, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Français : La vie de saint Martial - Prédicati...
Français : La vie de saint Martial – Prédication du Christ devant saint Martial – Voûtain nord. Chapelle de saint Martial, Palais des Papes, Avignon, Vaucluse, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Français : Chapelle saint Martial - mur ouest ...
Français : Chapelle saint Martial – mur ouest et porte. Chapelle de saint Martial, Palais des Papes, Avignon, Vaucluse, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Français : La vie de saint Martial - Miracle à...
Chapelle de saint Martial, Palais des Papes, Avignon, Vaucluse, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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Stag Chamber Fresco above

Avignon, Palais des Papes depuis Tour Philippe...
Avignon, Palais des Papes depuis Tour Philippe le Bel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Rhone at Avignon.
The Rhone at Avignon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Visit the historic papal city of Avignon to see the Papal Palace, the Episcopal Ensemble and the Avignon Bridge.

Here’s the UNESCO description:

La Cité des Papes dans la lumière du soir le 3... La Cité des Papes dans la lumière du soir le 31 décembre 2012, île de la Barthelasse, Avignon, Vaucluse, Provence, France. (Photo credit: byb64)

“The surrounding ramparts and the remains of a 12th-century bridge over the Rhone. Beneath this outstanding example of Gothic architecture, the Petit Palais and the Romanesque Cathedral of Notre-Dame-des-Doms complete an exceptional group of monuments that testify to the leading role played by Avignon in 14th-century Christian Europe.”

UNESCO

Avignon has many interesting historic treasures and interesting things to see and do: a famous performing arts festival in the summer called Festival d’Avignon, Europe’s largest Gothic palace, Côtes du Rhône wine, a partially finished rhyme bridge and a historic 14th century crenellated walled city.

Book a room at the luxurious Vino con Vista La Mirande, housed in a 15th century building. www.la-mirande.fr

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Image result for www.la-mirande.fr

You can even take a cooking class http://www.la-mirande.fr/#/en/programme/

Check out the Avignon Cathedral.

 

Avignon Cathedral Avignon Cathedral (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Schedule a Vino con Vista adventure to the  Châteauneuf-du-Pape estates in the Rhone Valley.

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Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a French wine appellation from the Southern Rhone region known for its bold Grenache-based red blends about 12 km from Avignon.  Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of thirteen varietals: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Muscardin, Counoise, Vaccarese, Picpoul, Terret Black, Clairette, Bourboulenc Roussane Picardon. Composition is the secret of the winemaker.

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List of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine estates

Image result for Châteauneuf-du-Pape estates in the Rhone Valley.

The imposing ruins of a 14th century castle overlook Chateauneuf-du-Pape was erected by Pope John XXII of Avignon who used it for a temporary residence. It was heavily damaged during the Religious Wars when the village was occupied by the Huguenots.

 

France Cotes du Rhone Map by Wine Folly

Here’s a link to events in Vaucluse:

http://www.provenceguide.co.uk/

Vaucluse has plenty of Michelin Stars. Find them here:

http://www.provenceguide.co.uk/home/vaucluse-in-provence/food-and-wine/restaurants/all-restaurants.aspx

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ http://www.vino-con-vista.com

Watch the UNESCO video:

http://www.unesco.org/archives/multimedia/?pg=34&pattern=avignon&related=

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