From 1309 to 1376, seven successive Popes – Clement V, John XXII, Benedict XII, Clement VI, Innocent VI, Urban V and Gregory XI – based their court there instead of Rome. They were followed by two antipopes (competitors for the office) – Clement VII and Benedict XIII. Their legacy is a monumental building and the world’s largest Gothic palace – the Palais des Papes.
Since 1947, the Palais des Papes has hosted the annual Festival d’Avignon, an important cultural event. Then in 2013, a new summer show was launched, a Son et lumière spectacle - the Avignon Light Show - to rival those of Amiens and Le Mans.
Called Les Luminessences d’Avignon, this is a remarkable light show that reviews the dramatic history of the Avignon Popes and the central role of the Palace.
In 2015 the show will be held every evening from mid-August to the beginning of October, in a 360° screening that lights up the medieval walls. Over 130,000 viewers have already taken this journey back in time, and the success of the show, particularly with Anglophone visitors, has led to three shows a week being given in English.
Les Luminessences d’Avignon tells its story using cutting-edge sound and image technology, taking the viewer into a visual feast and narrative at a sustained and exciting pace. Monumental images cloak the four wings of the palace and surround the audience in a poetic fusion of architecture, light and music.