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A roman and medieval city in Provence near the Mont-Ventoux

Vaison-la-romaine © VF

Vaison-la-Romaine, roman and medieval city in Provence near the Mont-Ventoux

Vaison-la-Romaine is a Provençal town of 6,000 inhabitants in the north of the department of Vaucluse, at the entrance to the valley of the Ouvèze, a river descending from the mountains of the Alps (Drôme Provençale).

The "Upper Town" of Vaison is a medieval citybuilt on a steep hill, tighted around the castle of the Counts of Toulouse. The Roman bridge spans the Ouvèze river to join the modern city in the plain, it covers the ancient Roman city "Vasio Vocontiorum" ("Vaison of Voconces") that only a small portion (1/5th) has been discovered by archaeologists. The importance of these remains gave the i name "Roman" to Vaison.


Visit Vaison is browse a summary of 2000 years of history, from antiquity to the present day. Human occupation of this site is even older, as archaeological evidence of Neolithic have been found. At the beginning of the historical period, Vaison was the capital of a powerful Celtic-Ligurian tribe that dominate the region. Defeated by the Romans in -125, the Voconces is quickly adopt Roman culture,They are allies of Julius Caesar during his conquest of Gaul to -50 av.JC. Vasio gains the status of "Confederate City" and became one of the most opulent city of the province. The city lies on the plain, with rich patrician houses, markets, shops, baths, a theater, an amphitheater. An aqueduct brought running water from the source of Grozeau in Malaucène. The remains of Vaison on Villasse and Puymin sites reflect the relaxed lifestyle of the elite of Voconce people, some of its representatives have held prestigious positions in the Empire administration.

Middle age is marked by the fierce struggle between the bishop and the Count of Toulouse for possession of Vaison. The inhabitants leave the plain too exposed to build the "Upper Town" on the left bank of the river. Surrounded by ramparts, around the castle of the Counts of Toulouse (built in the 13th century), it offers better protection.


The ancient theater of Vaison-la-Romaine, built there more than 2000 years , hosts shows of a renowned dance festival in July. Near the Roman ruins of Puymin, Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth 12th century, with massive shape, was built before people move to the Upper Town on the opposite bank of the Ouvèze.

The Roman Bridge over the Ouvèze marks the transition from the medieval town to the modern and the Roman city on the right bank. The Roman bridge to have withstood the terrible flood of 22 September 1992 when the water rose above the deck and destroyed the parapet. Bridges downstream have not withstood the raging and devastating waters.

Photos of Vaison-la-romaine : slideshow

The town of Vaison-la-Romaine is located in the north of Vaucluse, on the border of the Drôme department.

Accommodation and practical information

vaison-la-romaineSelection of bed and breakfast in Vaison-la-romaine on the guide of guest houses in Provence

Bed and breakfast Vaison Le Vieux Figuier
Charming guest house in Séguret, 8 km from Vaison, with a superb swimming-pool.

tourist office website : vaison-la-romaine.com

Sights and activities:

Coming to Vaison-la-romaine

GPS coordinates N 44°14'27'' - E 5°04'30''

Location : altitude 214 metres, 6100 inhabitants, 16 miles from Malaucène, 7 miles from Séguret, 8 miles from Gigondas, 10 miles from Cairanne, 10 miles from Nyons, 21 miles from Orange, 22 miles from Montbrun-les-bains, 32 miles from Avignon

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