Jeanne Kalogridis

The burning times places

The Palais Des Papes (The Palace of the Popes)
At the beginning of the fourteenth century (in 1309, to be exact), the new French Pope Clement V declined to move to Rome, instead settling in Avignon in the south of France. The next six Popes, all French, ruled from Avignon, where a massive palace (according to historian Barbara Tuchman, it housed more than 400) was eventually built, and lavished with all manner of decoration. The famous Italian painter Matteo Giovanetti was commissioned to paint Biblical scenes on the walls and ceilings; rooms were draped in splendid tapestries and silks; and banquet-goers dined off the finest gold and silver.
So famous was Avignon for the excesses of its inhabitants that Petrarch called it the Babylon of the West. Although the papacy finally moved back to Rome by the middle of the next century, the Palace of the Popes still stands.

The City of Carcassonne
The city of Carcassonne has existed since antiquity, yet even today, tourists wander down its streets and admire the beautiful Cathedral of Saint Nazaire and the city towers. Historians believe the first stone fortifications surrounding Carcassonne were built by the Gallo-Romans; these were restored in 1130, the same year construction began on the Chateau Comtal. The walls were rebuilt a third time in 1852, allowing the public an accurate view of how the city appeared in its heyday.