Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Avignon (classic Avenio), the capital of the department of Vaucluse, France, an ancient and beautiful city standing on the left bank of the Rhone near the confluence of the Durance. It was founded by the Phocaeans about 539 B.C. and was for many years the capital of the Cavares. Under the Romans it was included in Gallia Narbonnensis, and on the disruption of the empire passed successively into the hands of the Burgundians, Goths, Franks, and Saracens. After the defeat of the latter by Charles Martel it was incorporated with the dominions of Charlemagne, and on their division it fell as part of the kingdom of Aries to the Counts of Toulouse and Provence jointly, and became a kind of republic. In the war of the Albigenses it was taken from Raymond of Toulouse (1226) by Louis VIII., and in 1273 was ceded to the Pope by Philip III. From 1309 to 1377 it was the residence of the Popes, and was purchased by Clement VI. from Joanna I. of Naples. The anti-popes established themselves there from 1379 to 1418, when Charles VI. of France drove out Benedict XIII. Avignon remained a Papal possession until 1791, at which date the French seized it. The palace of the Popes is preserved, and the fine Gothic cathedral dates from the twelfth century. The ancient walls still surround the town, with a noble boulevard outside them. Some of the older .streets are narrow and gloomy, but the newer quarters, the bridges, and the many public buildings rival the architecture of any city in France. A large trade is carried on in wine, oil, dried fruits, olives, almonds, and other local produce. Silk is grown and manufactured in considerable quantities, and the preparation of dyes from madder is a staple industry. Railways connect the town with Paris, Marseilles, and Cette.