It's hard to imagine Champasak (ຈຳປາສັກ) as a seat of royalty, but from 1713 until 1946 it was just that. These days the town is a somnolent place, the fountain circle (that no longer hosts a fountain) in the middle of the main street alluding to a grandeur long since departed, along with the former royal family. Scattered French colonial-era buildings share space with traditional Lao wooden stilt houses, and the few vehicles that venture down the narrow main street share it with chickens and cows.
With a surprisingly good range of accommodation and several attractions in the vicinity – most notably the Angkor-period ruins of Wat Phu Champasak – it's easy to see why many visitors to the region prefer staying in Champasak over bustling Pakse.
Just about everything in Champasak is spread along the riverside road, both sides of the fountain circle.