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Vaison-la-Romaine

Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Vaucluse

Vaison-la-Romaine - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Vaucluse
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Vaison-la-Romaine… The name makes its history clear, as "Romaine" means "Roman" in French! This town in Vaucluse indeed has a rich Roman heritage represented by the impressive remains of Villasse and Puymin. Covering fifteen or so hectares, the two sites are evidence of the scale and splendour of the ancient Gallo-Roman city of Vasio, forming France's biggest archaeological site! On the Puymin site, the Théo Desplans Museum contains some wonderful archaeological collections: marble statues, funerary and everyday objects, and fresco and mosaic decorations. A listed Historic Monument, the single arch Roman bridge over the Ouvèze connects the town centre to the Upper Town (Haute Ville), providing another reminder of this rich ancient past.

Vaison-la-Romaine also has a medieval heritage that is very much in evidence. Discover it on a walk around the Upper Town, after crossing the Roman bridge. Perched on a rock, this picturesque neighbourhood is protected by a double enclosure of ramparts and a fortified door topped by a belfry, marking the entrance to the medieval town. As you stroll around, you can admire beautiful houses, pretty squares and art galleries. A wander along the charming lanes will lead you to an old cathedral dating from the 15th to 18th centuries as well as the castle of the Counts of Toulouse. Accessible via a steep path, this ruined building dates back to the 12th century and offers a splendid view of Vaison and the surrounding area from its forecourt!

A beautiful example of Provençal Romanesque architecture, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Nazareth and its peaceful cloister date from the 11th and 12th centuries. Built on the site of an ancient Roman temple, of which a few vestiges still remain, the church has kept a fine octagonal cupola adorned with the symbols of the Four Evangelists. In the same architectural style, the Chapel of St. Quenin is interesting with its 12th-century triangular apse and lavish carved decorations.

Before you leave, pay a visit to the Garden of the 9 Maidens (Jardin des 9 Damoiselles), a poetic and philosophical space featuring 81 carved granite stones! Nine of them represent the nine European cities of culture in the year 2000. And each one is engraved with a quote from a local poet, in its original language and translated into French.

Additional information
Vaison-la-Romaine

Vaison-la-Romaine is a town in the Vaucluse, in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region, 28 km north-east of Orange.

The municipal area of ​​nearly 27 km² is located between the corridor of the Rhone Valley to the west and the foothills of Mont Ventoux and Baronnies Provencal in the east.

Crossed by the course of Ouvèze, the site of Vaison is inhabited since Prehistory but it is under Gallo-Roman Antiquity that the city develops. Capital of a Celtic tribe vanquished by the Romans, it becomes one of the richest cities of the Narbonne province after an alliance with Julius Caesar.

Initiated in modern times and continued in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, archaeological excavations will highlight this golden age and give its name to the city.

In the Middle Ages, the Count of Toulouse builds a castle on a rocky height and a second city surrounded by ramparts, safer for the inhabitants, takes its rise.

Now consisting of an upper town and a lower town in which the ancient relics alongside the contemporary urban extensions, Vaison-la-Romaine which has nearly 6,200 inhabitants has preserved a rich heritage covering more than 2000 years of history. In addition to its wine vocation (Côtes-du-Rhône appellation wines), it is a key tourist attraction in the heart of a region with a privileged climate.

Things to see and do

On either side of the Ouvèze, whose deadly flood in 1992 still haunts memories, the upper town and lower town form a formidable open-air museum that appeals to heritage lovers.

You can start a long journey discovered by the upper town, surrounded by medieval ramparts.

The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption was built on the east of the hill in the fifteenth century, and was enlarged in the late sixteenth. Its rich decorations were victims of looting during the Revolution then it was abandoned in favor of the first cathedral cathedral, in "low city". Restored, the building now houses regular cultural events.

Dominating the whole, then direction the castle of the Count of Toulouse built in the thirteenth century, including three fortified building and a square dungeon surrounding a beautiful courtyard. From the forecourt one can enjoy an unparalleled view of the whole of Vaison.

It is pleasant to stroll through the narrow and winding streets of the medieval city, dotted with old houses and picturesque squares decorated with fountains.

After this city in the city, the visitor is called to plunge into a more distant past still apprehending the 15 hectares of ancient ruins of Puymin and Villasse. Old thermal baths, opulent villas, water tower, shops and magnificent theater: you will discover these well preserved remains of the prestigious Roman city during a free visit or commented. Special sessions for families are also scheduled. Open all year except the second weekend of January to the second weekend of February. Price: 4 and 9 euros (pass valid for all archaeological sites). Information and reservations on +33 4 90 36 50 48.

We will not forget the Roman bridge built during the first century and listed as a Historic Monument since 1840. A strategic site for utilitarian and commercial purposes, this large work has withstood weather and flood thanks to its clever architecture.

See also the Cathedral of Our Lady of Nazareth, built from the eleventh century (before the rise of the upper city), and for which were reused blocks of ancient monuments. Imposing or even austere (few openings), it is however an example of Provencal Romanesque art with its sculpted decorations. In the twelfth century, it was endowed with an octagonal cupola where the evangelists appear. The remarkable cloister adjoining the cathedral, with its galleries and ornamentations, completes the visit.

On the religious level again, the chapel Saint-Quenin dating from the twelfth century was built on an old necropolis. A visit can admire its amazing triangular apse and its very elaborate Romanesque decorations. Access by reservation only at +33 4 90 36 50 48.

Logically, this rich heritage and historical journey ends at the Théo Desplans museum where are presented numerous statues and collections of objects testifying to everyday life during the Gallo-Roman era. Models, frescoes and 3D reconstructions including the medieval city are also proposed. Access included in the pass including archaeological sites.

For a quicker tour of the city, a small tourist train travels all over Vaison and connects its main sites from April to September. Price: 3 and 5 euros.

In addition, guided tours of the various sites and monuments, and even of certain districts in particular, are possible all year long. Information at the Tourist Office on +33 4 90 36 02 11.

The city is also renowned for its important cultural leisure offer.

Housed in a typical Provençal farmhouse, La Ferme des Arts programs throughout the year exhibitions of contemporary artists (painters, sculptors, visual artists, photographers). Information on +33 4 90 28 84 49.

To go also, the singular Garden of 9 Damoiselles with its granite blocks carved and engraved with contemporary poems. Free access.

In another genre, away from the city, the observatory of Vaison Ventoux with its 8 telescopes and astronomical glasses welcomes for observation evenings discover children and adults. To privilege in summer where the nights are particularly clear. Price: 7 and 12 euros. Reservation desirable to +33 7 88 37 08 75.

The city, its surroundings which announce the valley of the Rhone where the pre-alpine summits in the east are also suitable for hiking or mountain biking. Some circuits are specifically dedicated to wine tourism. Maps and information on +33 4 90 36 02 11.

For those who prefer a horse ride in these typical landscapes, join the Palis equestrian center at +33 4 90 36 25 82.

From mid-June to the end of August, a cool break including swimming and relaxation is possible at the summer pool, which enjoys a wooded setting and has a solarium and lawns. Entry: 1.50 and 2.50 euros. Information on +33 4 90 36 50 00.

Finally, for a game of tennis, you must reserve a court with the local club at +33 9 51 76 59 56.

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Monuments

Events and festivities

In July, international dance festival (various styles: classical, jazz, contemporary) with shows given in particular at the Roman amphitheater.

End of October, gourmet meetings.

Every Tuesday morning, typical market of Provence. Created in the Middle Ages, an unmissable event to discover the richness of regional terroir.

The 3rd Sunday of each month, flea market Place Montfort.

Photos

Roman bridge
Roman bridge
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Medieval castle
Medieval castle
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Roman ruins with the village and the castle in the background
Roman ruins with the village and the castle in the background
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Burrus garden
Burrus garden
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Detail of the Roman bridge
Detail of the Roman bridge
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Ancient theater
Ancient theater
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Vaison-la-Romaine
Vaison-la-Romaine
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Iris of the Burrus garden
Iris of the Burrus garden
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The surroundings of Vaison-la-Romaine
The surroundings of Vaison-la-Romaine
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Castle of Vaison-la-Romaine
Castle of Vaison-la-Romaine
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Roman bridge of Vaison-la-Romaine
Roman bridge of Vaison-la-Romaine
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In the medieval village
In the medieval village
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Stroll in the alleys
Stroll in the alleys
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Another view of the village
Another view of the village
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Still in the village
Still in the village
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Ancient city
Ancient city
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Another view of the theater
Another view of the theater
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Roman ruins
Roman ruins
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Roman ruins
Roman ruins
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Roman ruins
Roman ruins
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Roman ruins
Roman ruins
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Vaison-la-Romaine on its plinth...
Vaison-la-Romaine on its plinth...
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Bridge of Vaison-la-Romaine
Bridge of Vaison-la-Romaine
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Church Vaison-la-Romaine
Church Vaison-la-Romaine
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Remains of Vaison-la-Romaine
Remains of Vaison-la-Romaine
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Church Vaison-la-Romaine
Church Vaison-la-Romaine
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Remains of Vaison-la-Romaine
Remains of Vaison-la-Romaine
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Remains of Vaison-la-Romaine
Remains of Vaison-la-Romaine
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the vineyards at the foot of Vaison-la-Romaine
the vineyards at the foot of Vaison-la-Romaine
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Fountain Vaison-la-Romaine
Fountain Vaison-la-Romaine
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the artist, market at Vaison-la-Romaine
the artist, market at Vaison-la-Romaine
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby

Mont Ventoux 16 km.

Restaurants

Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals

Campsites

Hotels

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