This very ancient town sits in a low basin along the Ouvèze river, beneath the watchful chateau on top of the Haute Ville hill on the south side of the river. The town, with its vast collection of ancient ruins, is picturesque and dynamic. During the summer season, Vaison is alive with music festivals, dance festivals and theater. The two parts of Vaison-la-Romaine are joined by a unique single-arched Roman bridge over the river, still in use after some 2000 years.
Apt Lavender Itineraries |
Mont Ventoux |
Avignon 47 km |
Cairanne 14 km |
Carpentras 27 km |
Gigondas 13 km |
Malaucène 10 km |
Montélimar 62 km |
Richerenches 23 km |
Sainte Cécile-les-Vignes 18 km |
Séguret 9 km |
Suze-la-Rousse 25 km |
Vacqueyras 17 km |
Valréas 26 km |
Villes-sur-Auzon 34 km |
Visan 17 km |
Hotels near Vaison-la-Romaine: |
14 km Cairanne |
17 km Vacqueyras |
17 km Visan |
27 km Carpentras |
47 km Avignon |
62 km Montelimar |
The Haute Ville (upper town), on the high rock south of the river, has narrow little medieval streets and small squares, in addition to the chateau.
North of the river, the main part of town has shaded squares lined with terrace restaurants, shops, parking, and the Roman ruins.
The best-known attractions here are the Roman ruins. The Puymin Quarter, north of the town center, contains the House of the Messii, Pompey's Portico and the 6000-seat Roman Theater. The La Villasse Quarter, by the center of town, has excavated houses, streets and baths.
- Entry: 37 F (12 F 10-18 yrs) for both Roman sites and the cathedral, but you can see a lot of it from the exterior without paying.
First record, First record, around 40 BC: Vasio Vocontiorum
Many traces of ancient civilization found here are from the chalcolithic period, 2500-2000 BC.
During the Iron Age, a major Celtic-Ligurian Vocontii oppidum was located on the Haute Ville hill on the south bank of the Ouvèze river.The Vocontii, along with the rest of the southern Gauls, were defeated in the Roman campaigns of 125-118 BC and brought into Transalpine province as a federated city, leaving it a large amount of autonomy.
During the 60's BC, the Vocontii were formally allied to Rome. Tribal leaders wre granted Roman citizenship, and warriors were became citizens by commanding cavalry units in the Roman army. The Romanization took place under Pompey, Caesar and finally Augustus, by which time Vaison (Vasio Vocontiorum) was the political capital, with the center at the site of the current town. [See also Roman Empire Chronology.]
In the 12th century, the Counts of Toulouse, who built a chateau on the hill, and the bishops began a conflict that lasted for 100 years. From the 13th century, the local population for safety from the north side of the river to the base of the chateau on the rock. The move increased during the 14th century, because of the Hundred Years war and the marauding Routiers. Vaison was an important diocese in the Comtat, and was controlled by Saint-Siège from 1274 to 1791.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, some of the population began moving back to the plains north of the river, and by the middle of the 19th century, a new town was in place on the site of the ancient Gallo-Roman town.
Office de Tourisme
Tel : 04 90 36 02 11; Fax: 04 90 28 76 04
Every Tue, Thur, Sat - Marché
Daily - Marché (daily market during the growing season)
3rd Sun - Brocante
Every July - L'Eté de Vaison- Danse, théâtre, musique
Every Nov - Les journées gourmandes- 2ème semaine de novembre
Vaison-la-Romaine is in the region of the Rhône Valley Côtes de Rhône wines, with some good vineyards in the commune.
Department 84, Vaucluse Buses
See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 2: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map [Plan global des lignes] and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).
• Avignon has train or bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Nîmes, Saint Remy-de-Provence, Paris.
• Cavaillon has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Saint Remy-de-Provence.
• Pertuis has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.
Orange-Vaison bus service (by Cars Lieutaud (tel 04 90 36 05 22):
- Orange, Camaret, Travaillan, Cairanne, Rasteau, Roaix, Vaison.
- Orange, Camaret, Violés, Sablet, Séguret, Roaix, Vaison.
Vallée du Toulourenc-Vaison limited bus service (by Cars Lieutaud):
- Saint-Léger-du-Ventoux, Brantes, Savoillan.
Malaucène-Valréas bus service (by Cars Lieutaud, tel 04 90 36 05 22) during school days only:
- Malaucène, Crestet, Vaison, Villedieu, Buisson, Visan, Valréas.
Nyons-Vaison bus service (by Cars Petit Nice, tel 04 75 26 35 58)
Carpentras-Vaison bus service (by Cars Comptadins, tel 04 90 67 20 25:
- Carpentras, Caromb, Le Barroux-Bas, Malaucène, Crestet, Vaison.
Schedules. We do NOT have schedules for any of these bus lines.
Main-line train service is availble at Orange.
Rental and Repair
9, rue des Ormeaux
Tel: 0490 287 786
Mag 2 Roues
Rental and Repair
Tel: 0490 288 046
IGN (1/25,000) #3040 ET "Carpantras, Vaison-la-Romaine"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #27 "Ventoux"
The GR4 (Grande Randonnée) passes through the forested hills south of Vaison, between Roaix and Malaucène.
There are several other trails that branch off from the GR4, including many loop-hikes, extending south to Gigondas and Beaumes-de-Venise.
East of Vaison, there is some hiking in the wooded hills south of St Romain-en-Veinnois and Faucon.
Auberge de la Bartavelle
12 place sous Auze
Closed: 15 Feb-15 Mar; Mon
Tel: 0490 360 216
Centre ville; theme of Marcel Pagnol, and decorated with photos of his work. Good Provencale cuisine. Terrace.
Le Bisro du O
• In the Michelin Bib Gourmand Guide 2010
r. Gaston Gévaudan
Closed: janvier, lundi midi et dimanche
Tel: 0490 417 290
Cuisine au goût du jour. Limited places, best to phone ahead.
La Fete en Provence
Closed: Wed; 15 Nov-15 Mar
Tel: 0490 363 643
The restaurant is perched in the upper town, on the ramparts. Good cuisine; good wines at very moderate prices.
Lodging - Hotels