Between the Rhone Valley and the Mont Ventoux, Vaison is situated at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, in a hilly countryside perfumed by vines and olive trees.
Vaison only got its full name in 1924. Excavations undertaken by the Abbot Sautel in the early part of the 20th century uncovered such an array of ancient splendours that the city was re-baptised “la Romaine”, or the Roman City.
Under the old Roman bridge flows the Ouvèze whose course separates the town into two parts
On the left bank, the medieval town, called the "high town", clings to the abrupt slopes of the hill and surrounds the ruins of the 12th century castle. The panoramic view from the summit will compensate for the effort of climbing to the top. A stroll along the narrow winding lanes is an enchantment. You can admire the double fortifications, the belfry, the Catholic church, the old and richly ornate doors, the squares adorned with cool fountains, the houses built on the side of the cliff...
On the right bank of the Ouvèze the lower town stretches out. The Roman town has been brought to light over an area of 15 hectares, revealing a rich Roman city, capital of the Voconces, a Gallic people allied with the Romans. Right in the town centre, on each side of the Tourist Office, the ancient sites of Puymin and Villasse have their place amidst the squares, cafés, restaurants and houses and still today form the biggest archaeological dig in France.
The Roman Theatre houses prestigious cultural events, such as the Festival of Vaison-La-Romaine and the Choralies. The cultural events, concerts, expositions, conferences, theatre all year round make Vaison an authentic City of Art.
Nature is also part of the life in Vaison la Romaine. Between the Baronnies, the Dentelles de Montmirail and the Mont Ventoux, sports lovers will be spoiled for choice with all the hikes, rock-climbing, cycling and skiing.
To see in Vaison la Romaine
- The "Puymin" and the "La Villasse" archeological sites
- The Theo Desplans archeological museum on the Puymin site
- The Cathedral Notre Dame de Nazareth and its cloisters
- The St Quenin Chapel
- The Roman Theatre
- The Medieval Town and the Chateau
- The Roman Bridge
- The 9 Damoiselles Garden and its 81 blocks of stones, all carved with poetic glyphs by Serge Boyer.
Many events animate the town throughout the year:
- The Journees Gourmandes de Vaison-la-Romaine every year in November.
- The Choralies, every three years in August. Vaison la Romaine is European Choral City since 1993 (next Choralies : 2004).
- The Ferme des Arts offers exhibitions all year round.
- The Festival des Soupes in October.
- Provencal market, every tuesday from 8:00 to 14:00.
- Festival Vaison Danses: international dance festival that takes place every year in the month of July for 3 weeks. It hosts the greatest names in present day dance.
Medieval town of Vaison la Romaine
Roman bridge in Vaison la Romaine
Pathways and fountain of the medieval town of Vaison la Romaine
The so-called Church Cathedral-high Vaison la Romaine
Remains of the castle of Vaison la Romaine
Panorama of the Black Madonna, the ouvèze and the Mont Ventoux
Ancient Roman theater of Vaison la Romaine
Archaeological site of the Villasse in Vaison la Romaine
Archaeological site of Puymin in Vaison la Romaine