Liven up your holidays!

Cathedral Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth

Monument in Vaison-la-Romaine

Cathedral Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth - Monument in Vaison-la-Romaine

From the ancient city to the medieval town, a few centuries have passed. Urban organization is then partially superimposed on the Roman relics, often reused for the construction of new buildings as seen in the foundations of the cathedral. With the spread of Christianity, the town was first established around its religious monument, on the right bank of the Ouvèze.



The Cathedral of Our Lady of Nazareth, Mother Church of the Diocese of Vaison (forty parishes in the Papal State and the Dauphiné), was at the center of a medieval city disappeared. The bishop resided in the near Bishop's Palace and canons in the cloister and its adjoining buildings. Built in the eleventh century on the site of paleo-Christian buildings, according to a basilica, then rebuilt in the following century, its architecture is a fine example of Provençal Romanesque art. One of its characteristics is the presence of ancient remains reused during construction. Attached to the cathedral, the cloister has four galleries surrounding the garden, small perforated arches grouped in threes under discharge arcs. The columns are topped with capitals leaves water for most, but some are figurative. The rooms reserved for canons (dining hall, dormitory, chapter house...), served by the gallery of the cloister, have now disappeared. The cathedral thus transformed consists of a nave of three bays, flanked by two aisles without transept. The tripartite bed comprises a rectangular central apse and outside semicircular inside. The nave is barrel-vaulted broken on doubleaux. The collateral were creeping vaults. Shady surroundings and the tranquility of the cloister make it a pleasant place to visit. In the second half of the twelfth century, the city is subject to pillage ordered by the Count of Toulouse, disagree with the bishop of their respective possessions. It follows the construction of the count's turn, who will become the castle on the left bank and the abandonment of the medieval city in the thirteenth century for the new upper town.



The cloister that rises north of the cathedral housed the canons. The plan of the building, four galleries surrounding a courtyard, reminds the function of the peristyle of the Roman house: enlighten, aerate and connecting parts. Thus the cloister served the cathedral and the rooms reserved for canons: the armarium (that is to say the library), chapter house, refectory and kitchen, storeroom, dormitory... Remains clean facilities daily life, the only remaining sink in the north gallery. It is in the form of a simple cavity made in the thickness of the wall and in connection with a well. Simple and harmonious, the galleries are small perforated arches that bring light from the central courtyard. They are supported by columns with capitals and are topped by larger arcs. Most capitals are decorated with water leaves (palm leaves), but some in the west gallery, one can admire acanthus leaves, interlacing, and small stylized characters. These decorations are carved in marble blocks recovered by the artisans of the Middle Ages on the ancient remains. Several quality and marble colors side by side. You have to approach to discover the finesse of this material covered by a thin layer of limestone which is deposited to the son the years. Apart from this traditional setting, it should be noted an unusual engraving that arouses curiosity: It is integrated in the west gate lintel key: This is a male face. Almond eyes, straight nose, the forked beard reminiscent of Byzantine representations of Christ. What is surprising, it is the bull horns he wears on his head. They often give rise to various interpretations: Is there a Christ on A? Is it represented in Gallic chief, or in connection with the cult of Mithras or with a lunar symbol? Continuing the visit, you come into the garden that offers a beautiful view of the massive, crenellated bell tower. The monumental inscription in Latin which is followed on the side of the cathedral is exceptional in its size and it recalls the great ancient dedications. This is an invitation to live under the rule of the Church. There are the classic notion of the opposition between the north (north which is sin) and Auster (south which is the fervor). The monastery also houses some lapidary elements Christians from different periods which we shall mention only a few rooms: a beautiful marble sarcophagus of the fourth century shows the twelve apostles. Next, note early Christian funerary inscriptions of the late third century or early fourth century. Further, a cross double face of the late fifteenth century is decorated of Christ and the Virgin on the other side. She decorated the tomb of the family of Blegier (Mansion in Upper Town) Finally fragments chancels and gravestones complete the collection presented in the galleries...



To understand the disappearance of the medieval city which in addition to its cathedral, its cloister, civilian buildings and private houses, we must remember the quarrels of possession which opposed the counts of Toulouse and the bishops. The city suffered attacks people Count of Toulouse who wanted to recover their property. Damage, looting, fires have followed from the second half of the twelfth century. These rivalries were spread over several generations have produced a significant change in urban planning. It starts with building the count's turn, who will become the castle on the left bank, is accompanied by the desertion of the population fled the valley. In the end, the attraction of the castle and the hopes for peace explain the abandonment of the medieval city in the thirteenth century for the new upper town.


AddressRue Alphonse Daudet, Vaison-la-Romaine
Telephone+33 4 90 36 05 65


Cathedral of Our Lady of Nazareth
®2 Cathedral of Our Lady of Nazareth
See photo
Gallery of the cloister
Gallery of the cloister
See photo

Other monuments nearby

Archaeological Site of the VillasseVaison-la-Romaine
Chapel Saint-QueninVaison-la-Romaine
Archaeological Site of PuyminVaison-la-Romaine
Roman Bridge of Vaison-la-RomaineVaison-la-Romaine
Castle of the Comtes de ToulouseVaison-la-Romaine
Cathedral Sainte-Marie de l'AssomptionVaison-la-Romaine
Chapel Notre-Dame de NazarethEntrechaux (4.1 mi)
Wayside Cross of MalaucèneMalaucène (5.7 mi)


Wednesday 8 july
Min. 15°C - Max. 32°C
Thursday 9 july
Min. 16°C - Max. 35°C
Friday 10 july
Min. 19°C - Max. 33°C

Leisure activities


Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals



Your holidays
A hotel
A vacation rental
A bed & breakfast
A campsite
A leisure activity
A restaurant
A rental car
A plane ticket
By continuing to browse our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies to improve your experience and make targeted offers.
Find out more and make settings