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The commune has been awarded one flower by the "National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom" in the "Competition of cities and villages in Bloom". Avignon is located on the left bank of the Rhône river, downstream from Lyon. The city is surrounded by hills that are part of a limestone plateau covering an area with some forests to north-west (for example Mont Ventoux) but mostly farmland for much of its surface. To south-east, land usage changes from agricultural to residential as an urban agglomeration with several suburbs: Palais des Papes was built at this time on a hillside overlooking Avignon; it was later expanded into a medieval fortress before being converted into a palace during Renaissance times. The climate is Mediterranean, but tempered by maritime influences (milder winters than inland areas).