Gallo-Roman Ruins

Top choice in Vaucluse

The ruined remains of Vasio Vocontiorum, the Roman city that flourished here between the 6th and 2nd centuries BC, fill two central Vaison sites. Two neighbourhoods of this once opulent city, Puymin and La Villasse, lie on either side of the tourist office and av du Général de Gaulle. Admission includes entry to the 12th-century Romanesque cloister at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Nazareth, a five-minute walk west of La Villasse and a soothing refuge from the summer heat.

In Puymin, see houses of the nobility, mosaics, workers' quarters, a temple and the still-functioning, 6000-seat Théâtre Antique (c AD 20). To make sense of the remains (and collect your audioguide; €3), head for the Musée Archéologique Gallo-Roman, which revives Vaison’s Roman past with incredible swag – superb mosaics, carved masks and statues that include a 3rd-century silver bust and marble renderings of Hadrian and wife Sabina.

The Romans shopped at the colonnaded boutiques and bathed at La Villasse, where you'll find Maison au Dauphin, which has splendid marble-lined fish ponds.

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