Orange tourism & sightseeing
Visit Orange (Provence, France)
The town of Orange, France is found towards the north-east of the Vaucluse department of Provence, and is north of Avignon in the lower Rhone Valley. It is on the Meyne River, a tributary of the Rhone.
Although best known and most visited for its Roman monuments, the town of Orange has other sites of interest including a cathedral so allow time to explore.
Roman monuments in Orange, France
Central to your visit to Orange are the two monuments of Roman architecture: the Ancient Theatre and the Triumphal Arch. Both have been very well conserved over the centuries, and have also been the subject of extensive studies to identify all the symbolism they contain, above all that of the Triumphal Arch.
The Arch has a height of about 22 meters and a width of 21 meters, with three arches of which the Central Arch is the largest. It is located on the ancient Via Agrippa (the Roman trade route from Lyon to Arles) and features numerous ornate carvings relating to the history of the conquests of Augustus, the Roman supremacy over the gauls and also various religious symbols.
Roman Theatre in Orange
The Ancient Theatre in Orange is one of the best conserved Roman monuments in France. The Roman Theatre, at 37 meters high and over 100 metres long is in fact among the best preserved artefacts of the Ancient World. Also built in the Augustan period, it has almost perfect acoustics. The stage is in very good condition and very high, and only the original decorations have disappeared. The theatre can hold almost ten thousand spectators (opera performances are still held here).
Other highlights in Orange
A short walk from the theatre in Rue Roche is the Municipal Museum which contains many artefacts from the excavations carried out in Orange and surrounding area – note in particular the Roman cadastre from the time of Emperor Vespasian (9-79 A.D.), a remarkable marble slab engraved with the allocations of land.
There are also prints, drawings, collections of old and medieval coins and some artefacts from the Theatre (for example, a fragment with scenes of Amazons, centaurs and nymphs); along with some remains from the Neolithic age which show that Orange was an area of ancient settlement; some Gallo-Roman ruins (it was at in the second century BC that the Gauls founded their village, at that time capital of the Cavaria tribe). Various textiles and paintings can also be seen at the museum in Orange.
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth in Orange dates originally from the 4th century, was rebuilt in the twelfth century, and consecrated in the early thirteenth century. It is of Romanesque style, with one nave and lancet vaults and various decorations inside by Italian painters.
Orange Cathedral has a long and troubled history; especially during the wars of religion when the church was sacked by the Huguenots and converted to the Protestant religion (1562), being later restored to Catholic worship in 1584. The Temple was also devoted to the ‘Goddess of Reason’ during the French Revolution and then again returned to the Catholic religion at the end of the Revolution.
In terms of architecture and art in general the Cathedral is a real jewel. It has a single wide nave, with a twelfth century vault, and various richly painted chapels and sculptures. The broader fresco is one that represents the “Assomption de l'Arc Triomphale” (1819), by two Italian painters, Perattoni and Zanetti but the whole cathedral is filled with paintings which can be seen in various chapels.
Some frescoes in the cathedral date from the sixteenth and the seventeenth century, with subjects that are not easily decipherable, while others have plant motifs, with acanthus leaves and also very beautiful mosaics (XIX century).
There are also many examples of the neoclassical style to be seen, such as the portal to the West (1827). Other portals have very ancient styles, of Romanesque and pure Provençal style (XVI century). There are also some spectacular stained glass windows.
Church of Saint-Florent and other sites in Orange
Another important stop is to see the 14th century Church of Saint Florent, founded by the Franciscans. It is simple and austere, according to the style of the Franciscan Order, with one nave, and contains the relics of St. Florent, a Bishop of Orange in the sixth century. Inside note the 17th century painting by of ‘The Virgin and the Child’ by F. Girardon de Troyes.
Orange is a pleasant city to amble around, while naturalists will enjoy the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful park of the hill of St. Eutropia.
Local cuisine and Orange markets
Visit the Thursday market (or the Provençal market, in Rue de la Republique), where you can acquire some typical local food products, such as the justly famous Orange Muscat wine. Wines of the Rhone have been appreciated since ancient times, which, thanks to the particularly fertile soil, give us the famous red wines of the Rhone. Orange is famous for its Chateauneuf du Pape but it also produces a remarkable variety of other local wines.
For local dishes to in the restaurants try the Blanquette of Agneau, the Poulet à la Provençal, the zucchini gratin and the Champignons à la Provençal.
Related article: see history of Orange, France
There is a great deal to enjoy in this region, and Orange is well placed for discovering historical Avignon a short distance to the south, the lovely countryside and villages of the Luberon to the east and also the Roman monuments at Arles and Nimes a little further south.
Map of Orange and places to visit
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Address: Orange, Avignon, Vaucluse, Provence, 84100, France || GPS: latitude 44.1383, longitude 4.80972
Plan your visit to Orange, Provence
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Orange Roman Theatre: heritage site
- Jardin du château de Brantes: remarkable garden (15km)
- Seguret: most beautiful village (19km)
- Fort Saint-Andre: national monument (19km)
- Villeneuve-les-Avignon: secteur sauvegarde (19km)
- Dentelles de Montmirail: site of natural beauty (21km)
- Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Repos de Montfavet (Avignon): religious monument (21km)
- Avignon Centre: heritage site (21km)
- Carpentras: town of art and history (21km)
- Avignon: secteur sauvegarde (22km)
Market days in Orange, France
Regular market(s) are held in Orange each every day except Sunday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Orange (Francais)