Wednesday, July 21, 2010


My first visit to Vaison-la-Romaine occurred some years before we bought our home in Sablet. I was visiting cousins Jean Marc and Christine in Montpellier and we had gone together to Chateauneuf-du-Pape to see the vineyards and déguster - taste wines.

Late that afternoon, Jean Marc asked me if I had been to Vaison-la-Romaine. I admit, I had never heard the name. He said "we must go", there is a wonderful Roman bridge that you must see. So off we went. We arrived at dusk and parked at Place Montfort in the center of the lower town. That was my introduction to Vaison-la- Romaine.

Shirley and I have returned to Vaison-la-Romaine many times since. The wonderful Tuesday morning market is the biggest attraction for us but we also come to shop for staples at Intermarché, for cheese at Lou Canesteou on Rue Raspail and fish at Poissonnerie des Voconces on Rue du Maquis.

Despite the fact that Vaison la Romaine is a quick 10 km drive along a winding road from our home in Sablet, we had never explored the Haute-Ville - upper town. So one Tuesday morning after the market, with our friends from Bistro Des Copains in tow, we set off to hike up to the castle at the top of the Haute-Ville.

Vaison-la-Romaine is divided into two parts by the Ouvèze River and connected by the aforementioned single arch Roman Bridge which has been in daily use for more than 2000 years.

On the left side of the rivcr, the lower town - Ville-Basse, the modern side of Vaison-la-Romaine, has two large archeological sites where exceptional ruins of the Roman period have been uncovered. On the other side of bridge, the medieval quarter stands high on the hill in the Haute-Ville.

The entrance to the traffic-free Haute-Ville is through a 14th century fortified gateway with its belfrey tower.

It is said that the fortifications for the Haute-Ville were built partially of stones from the Roman town acrosss the river.

Wife Shirley sitting on a fountain in the Haute-Ville with our friends Kari, Allison, Adam, Lisi and Julia from our Bistro Des Copains.

Narrow cobbled streets wander through the Haut-Ville.

Beautiful fountains can be spotted throughout the Haut-Ville.

Another fountain in the Haut-Ville.

There are ancient doorways.

Pretty facades.

Another enchanting fountain.

A cobbled lane leads up to the castle.

Wife Shirley and friend Julia at the castle ruins.

There is a steep narrow path that goes up to the castle. The castle is closed but the hike up is rewarded by wonderful views out over Vaison-la-Romaine's Ville-Basse.


  1. Vaison is one of our most favorite towns in all of France!I was introduced to it by some Americans who live nearby and call it "an almost perfect town".
    It's been two years since we have been there, and I miss it.......!

  2. I think that Vaison la Romaine is under appreciated despite its fabulous market, ruins and Haute-Ville. Most people don't even make the trip up through the Haute-Ville at all. Thanks for sharing your memories about Vaison.