Sites to be visited


Built on the banks of the river Ouvèze, Vaison is at the cross-roads which leads to thearble statues representing three emperors - Claudius (41-54 AD) with his civic crown made of oak leaves; Domitien (81-96AD), a war chief who played a very important role during the wine crises and Hadrian (117-138 AD), an idealised hero, with his Greek philosopher"s beard, his imperial prince"s coat, and a laurel wreath on his head.


The archaeological remains which can be seen today date from the first and second centuries AD. From the remains of the large public buildings which have been conserved, we can estimate that the city covered about 60-70 hectares. A theatre was cut out of the rocks of Puymin hill (I-II century) and could seat between 5 and 6 thousand spectators. Today this theatre has become a magnificent site where the annual Summer Festival is held.

Archaeological Museum

On the southern side of the Puymin hill can be seen objects and inscriptions which have been found on the site, and from which we can understand the life of the people of those bygone days. The most interesting relics are the large m of Good Taste. Presentation of the new wine, Christmas traditions and exhibition of santons, lively activity in the cellars and the streets.
A temple of the Augustine period was erected to the east. The vast gardens surrounded with columns can still be seen. This was a public building used for religious ceremonies. Remains of several thermal baths can be seen in different locations - baths on the east of the paved street (site Villasse), the southern baths on the right bank of the river Ouvèze. Better known are the northern baths built in the middle of the first century on two thousand square metres of land. The oldest baths (2,300 sq metres) are on the inside of the "Maison du Buste en Argent".
The heart of the Roman city (the forum and basilica) is buried under the modern town and cannot be seen. In all, about one fifth of the original town has been revealed.

Other things to see:
Models of the theatre, and of the Maison du Dauphin. Everyday household objects, frescoes and exquisite mosaics found at the Villa du Paon (Peacock). The mosaic of the Peacock (see photo) was originally in the dining room (Salle à Manger) of the villa. The frescoes and mosaics give an idea of the superb interior.

The Roman bridge

One of the most important bridges of the Narbonnaise Province, and one of the very few antique bridges still in use today. The bridge played a strategic role - it was the only means of crossing the Ouvèze and in the time of the Comte de Toulouse it was used as a toll bridge. During the 15th century it served as a look-out post. In the Roman ages, the Ouveze was a main passage of communication.

The old town

The old town is a charming place of narrow, cobble-stoned streets interspersed with small squares and old fountains of the 18th century. One can find many art galleries, small cafés and restaurants of character.


The chateau built by the Comtes de Toulouse dates from the twelfth century.

Les Dentelles de Montmirail

The Dentelles de Montmirail are chalk cliffs, very popular with rock climers. At the top there is a fine view stretching from Mont Ventoux to the Rhône.

A brief history

Two thousand years ago, Vaison-la-Romaine was called Vasio Vocontiorum, "the Vase of the Voconces" . This name was eventually shortened to Vaison, and only in 1923 to Vaison-la-Romaine.
Vaison (Vasio) became the capital of the celtic populations called "Voconces" in about the third century BC. After having obtained the status of federal or allied city in Rome, in about 50-30 years BC, the village perched on a rock was slowly deserted and building started in the more accessible valley. The rich proprietors built large communal rooms and gardens surrounded by columns.
The town extended into the surrounding agricultural lands which became building zones. An area of some 2,000 to 5,000 square metres was taken up by residences and became amongst the most important in Gaul.
The Abbé Sautel spent 48 years removing the earth to uncover the gallo-roman treasures which were buried under the houses and gardens of the lower town.