VILLENEUVE-LES-AVIGNON, a town of south-eastern France, in the department of Card on the right bank of the Rhone opposite Avignon, with which it is connected by a suspension bridge. Pop. (1906) 2582. Villeneuve preserves many remains of its medieval importance. The church of Notre Dame, dating from the 14th century, contains a rich marble altar and remarkable pictures. The hospice, once a Franciscan convent, part of which is occupied by a museum of pictures and antiquities, has a chapel in which is the fine tomb of Innocent VI. (d. 1362). The church and other remains of the Carthusian monastery of Val-de-B6nediction, founded in 1356 by Innocent VI., are now used for habitation and other secular purposes. A gateway and a rotunda, built as shelter for a fountain, both dating from about 1670, are of architectural note. On the Mont Andaon, a hill to the north-east of the town, stands the Fort of St Andre 1 (14th century), which is entered by an imposing fortified gateway and contains a Romanesque chapel and remains of the abbey of St Andr6. The other buildings of interest include several old mansions once belonging to cardinals and nobles, and a tower, the Tour de Philippe le Bel, built in the 14th century, which guarded the western extremity of the Pont St Be'ne'zet (see AVIGNON).
In the 6th century the Benedictine abbey of St Andre was founded on Mount Andaon, and the village which grew up round it took its name. In the 13th century the monks, acting in concert with the crown, established a bastide, or " new town," which came to be called Villeneuve. The town was the resort of the French cardinals during the sojourn of the popes at Avignon, and its importance, due largely to its numerous religious establishments, did not decline till the Revolution.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)