France // Provence //

Vaison-la-Romaine

The charming old town of Vaison-la-Romaine, 27km northeast of Orange, is divided into two distinct halves, connected by a single-arched Roman bridge across the River Ouvèze. Throughout its history, Vaison’s centre has shifted from one side to the other. Now known as the Haute Ville, and topped by a ruined twelfth-century castle, the steep, forbidding hill south of the river was the site of the original Celtic settlement. The Romans, however, built their homes on the flatter land north of the river. That’s now the modern town centre, so the medieval Haute Ville remains a self-contained and largely unspoiled village.