French city Orange (Provence region)


Arausion (lat. Arausio) - an ancient Roman city in Narbonne Gaul, in the lower reaches of Rodan (Rhone). Population during its heyday - approx. 110 thousand people. In 105 BC e. in the battle of Arausion, the Romans suffered a crushing defeat from the nomadic Germanic tribes. The original Celtic settlement, named after the local goddess, in 36 BC. e. converted to a Roman colony by veterans of the legion II Augusta, its territory was classified asager limitatus per centurias divisus et assignatus"(That is, land demarcated and distributed as allotments) later became a city. He was badly damaged in 21, during the Gallic uprising led by Julia Sacrovira and Julia Flora, but the proceeds from trade that went from Mediterranean to Lugdunum (Lyon) allowed the city to be restored and a triumphal arch built in honor of the suppression of the uprising. Under Augustus, a cadastre was compiled in Arausion, where it was recorded how much land was allocated (allocated) to allotments, how much was returned to local residents and how much was exchanged. Destroyed by alemanns and Visigoths.

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It is known for its huge antique theater and well-preserved triumphal arch, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Here, in the center of a small Provencal city, is the Museum of Art and History, dedicated to Roman artefacts found during excavations. Of all the ancient monuments in France, it is believed that the Orange Theater is the most impressive and best preserved. It is difficult for me to judge this, because I have not seen all the Roman monuments in France (and few can boast of it). But I visited Orange, and here are the impressions I have - in this article

How much time is allocated to Orange

Orange itself is small, and the theater with an arch is its main (and almost the only) sights: the streets of the town do not differ in any particular Provencal flavor that would not be in other places of Vaucluse. On Mondays or Sundays, there is a risk of stumbling into closed cafes and restaurants, even in the center. If you get to Orange out of season, for example, at the end of autumn or, God forbid, in winter, you will be enveloped in an atmosphere of 100% provincial longing: bored faces of merchants in rare kiosks, shops everywhere closed for the winter (whether they open in the summer too big question), boarded up and painted doors of houses.

The old city of Orange, with its dilapidated housing, today is inhabited mainly by migrants. Narrow streets with linen hanging from the windows, the smell from the doorways, children of all ages playing on the doorsteps of houses and groups of teenagers bored with idleness in the squares ... All this does not cause much desire to linger in Orange, and evening walks here, I think, are completely deprived of amenities . By the way, Orange and its center reminded me very much of Grass (a prototype place of the main city in the Perfumer of Suskind).

On a trip to Provence, I advise you to plan for Orange about 2, maximum three hours (this is if you have lunch at a local cafe). However, you cannot call it a backwoods at all: in the most central places of the town, foreign tourists are not uncommon (their flow is stably provided by the Roman theater). Most likely, you will even come across a waiter who speaks English, the menu will also be printed in two languages ​​- French and English.

Antique Theater of Orange

Built at the beginning of the Christian period in the Roman city of Arausion, present-day Orange, this theater is a well-preserved example of Roman architecture. Its walls accommodated up to 9,000 spectators. The hill, at the foot of which the theater was erected, served as a natural protection from the sun in the evenings, when performances for the townspeople began. The main decoration of it became columns and, presumably, statues in the niches of the wall behind the stage, but only one of them has survived to this day - the statue of Emperor Octavian Augustus with a triumphantly raised hand. It was on the orders of this ruler that a gigantic theater was built in the 1st century BC. According to some reports, this is the best-preserved ancient theater not only in France, but also throughout Europe.

In the IV century, the theater survived a devastating fire that destroyed many of its elements, and for centuries it was no longer used for its intended purpose. Over time, residential buildings began to be built around the huge theater, and today it is densely surrounded by the buildings of the Old Town.

Historians believe that the preserved statue, 3.5 meters high, is a monument to Emperor Augustus, but the head of the statue is not original, it was reconstructed later.

At the end of the 19th century, the abandoned theater received a rebirth, it began to be ennobled and concerts began again in it, mainly classical music. The Orange Theater annually hosts the festival at the end of June; many first-rate French and foreign stars performed here, such as Placido Domingo, Montserrat Caballe, Dalida, The Cure, David Gilmore and others.

Entrance to the theater is paid (9.5 euros at the end of 2018), but the ticket also gives you the right to enter the museum of art and history, located across the street from the giant theater. The tariff includes an audio guide, but there is no Russian language in it.

On that day, when I was going to visit the theater at all costs in order to look at the statue of Octavian Augustus and feel like a citizen of ancient Arausion, who came to rest on a performance on his legal day off, I was disappointed. The theater was under reconstruction, and cashiers honestly warned visitors that paying an entrance fee of almost 10 euros would fail to see either the statue (it was completely covered by scaffolding) or the original antique columns depicting scenes of Roman life. Having learned that I am a blogger and author of a travel portal, and I need good photos, the girls waved their hands all the more, dissuading them from undertaking. Well, thanks for that. However, the Russian blogger, as you know, does not give up. So I decided to climb the hill above the theater.

Here is a life hack that allows you to save in Orange, if you wish, 10 euros per person.

Going around the theater’s colossus on the left and rounding it, climb a narrow narrow adjacent to the theater Montée Lambert. A narrow path begins with it, allowing you to climb the hill above the theater and see it from above in full view. This is, let’s say, a “wild” option, but allowing you to see a paid attraction from the closest distance. The trail is littered with debris and broken glass, so be careful when climbing.

There is another path, more “civilized”, paved with stones and asphalt steps, leading to the hill and the park located on its top. To do this, follow the signs "to the park" from Rue Pourtoules. At the top of the hill, as I said, is a pretty decent park with several playgrounds and observation decks. It offers panoramic views of the theater, Orange and the whole of Provence. Very beautiful, albeit windy. Only for the sake of these species can Orange immediately be forgiven for its “non-tourism” and sleepiness.

Useful Orange is considered one of the hottest places in Provence, so in the summer you should keep this in mind and stock up with sunscreen and cream (as, however, walks under the scorching sun without protection are not recommended throughout the region)

Read more about the local climate here: When to go to Provence

The Orange Theater is impressive in size - 103 meters long and 37 meters high

View of the theater from the "goat trail" on the hill

Observation deck over a hilltop theater in Orange

From here you can see it in full view.

Panorama, far on the horizon - Mount Ventoux, the highest in Provence

That same playground on the hill. This, by the way, is the know-how of many of the cities here - parks are laid out on top of the hills.

The beautifully preserved Triumphal Arch of Orange. It is located at the entrance to the Old Town.

Sights of Orange

Since 1981 roman amphitheater and Triumphal Arch with their environment are listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to them, several other buildings are classified ashistorical monuments of France. Most of them are connected with the ancient history of Orange. Then it was the ancient Roman city of Arausion. In the peak period, the population of the city was about 110 thousand people.

In 105 BC near Arausion, a battle of Roman troops with the tribes of nomadic Germanic tribes took place, where the Romans suffered a crushing defeat. In 40 g BC a Roman colony was founded here.

In 21, the city was badly damaged by the revolt of the Gauls. Due to its favorable location on the way from the Mediterranean Sea to Lungudum (present-day Lyon), the city's income grew, and in honor of the suppression of the uprising, they built the Arc de Triomphe.

Roman Amphitheater Orange

Théâtre antique d’Orange - This is the best-preserved ancient Roman amphitheater. This unique venue with 60 spectators was created at the end of the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus in the first half of the 1st century AD. The amphitheater was designed for 11 thousand spectators. This is a rare case when even the back of the stage is preserved: the walls are 103 meters high and 37 meters long, in the central niche of which there is a huge statue 3.55 m high.

This amazing construction is the main attraction of Orange. Previously, it was a one-stop entertainment complex, although only ruins survived from the surrounding buildings to our days. Locals spent most of their free time here. The amphitheater served not only to spread Roman culture among the colonies, but also a way to suppress their political activity.

The theater held pantomimes, poetic readings and comedy performances, most of which lasted all day. The amphitheater was open to all, and performances were free.

Spectacular locations in Orange Theater located in a natural recess of the hill. The theater is famous for its excellent sound, thanks to which it is still actively used for opera performances. The acoustics of the amphitheater were further improved by the newly installed wooden roof over the backdrop of the stage. If you look closely, you can see the groove in front of the stage, dug specifically for the curtain of the theater.

With the decline of the Roman Empire in the 4th century and the rise of Christianity, the theater was officially closed by the edict of 391, as the church was against such performances. After that, the theater was completely abandoned for a long time. It was plundered by barbarians, and in the Middle Ages was used as a defensive post. During the religious wars of the 16th century, the avfitheater became a refuge for the townspeople.

During the 19th century, the theater began to gradually regain its greatness, mainly thanks to the efforts of Prosper Merime, who at that time was the director of “Historical Monuments”. Under his supervision, restoration work began in 1825, and in 1869 the “Roman Festival” was held here, glorifying the greatness of Rome. Towards the end of the century, all the major classical music performers in France attended the Orange Festival, including Sarah Bernhardt, who played on stage in 1903 at Phèdre.

Triumphal Arch of Orange

Triomphe d’Orange is one of the most famous ancient Roman triumphal arches. It was built around 20 A.D. in honor of the suppression of the revolt of the Gauls. They were placed on the ancient road Via Agrippa, which led from Ancient Rome to the north. It was built in 40 and connected between Rome and Boulogne-sur-Mer, passing through the cities Orange, Valence in Lungudum (current Lyon) along the Rhone Valley, and then through Amiens to Boulogne.

The arch was built in honor of the veterans of the Gallic Wars and the II Augustow Legion. Later, the arch was restored by Tiberius in honor of the whitewash of Germanicus over the Germanic tribes from the Rhine valley. The arch has preserved inscriptions in honor of Emperor Tiberius dating back to the 27th year.

On the north side of the arch, facing the side external from the city center, the architrave and cornice were cut off and a bronze inscription, now lost, was inserted. The surface of the arch is decorated with numerous bas-reliefs on military subjects, including naval battles, military trophies and scenes of the battles of the Romans with Germanic and Gali tribes. French On the north side of the bas-relief, a Roman infantryman bears the shield of August II Legion.

In the Middle Ages, the arch was built into the city's defensive wall, becoming the northern gate of the city. In 1850, restoration work was carried out.

The arch was originally built from large limestone blocks with three arches. The whole structure has a height of 19.21 meters, a length of 19.57 m and a width of 8.4 m. Each facade is decorated with 4 semi-protruding Corinthian columns.

The Triumphal Arch of Orange is considered the oldest example of the architectural style, which was later used in Rome itself, for the Septimius Severus Arch and the Arc de Triomphe of Constantine. The visible holes, like smallpox, on the surface of the arch remained from medieval crossbowmen who trained on the arch and did not read history or art too much.

The ruins of the castle of the Princes of Orange

Château des princes d’Orange

The castle was built in the 12th century by the daughter of Count Raimbaud de Nice. It was an attempt to restore the ancient Castrum Aurasice. In the 14th century, Seniors Bo decided to combine the dungeon and the fortress to withstand the onslaught of the "big companies" that devastated the wholeProvence. During the attacks, the population gathers around the fortress inside the building, the perimeter of which is significantly smaller than in the Roman era. In recent years, Jean Chalon has added ri wings to the dondon, giving it a square shape.

During the religious wars of the 16th century, the "old castle" was completely destroyed. In the years 1621-24, on the old plan, Maurice Nissau built a modern fortress consisting of a 14th-century donjon, a protective wall and an esplanade, which was enough for a system of 10,000 troops.

The citadel, with 11 bastions and thick walls, was so well built that during the siege of the citadel by Louis XIV in 1672, it took a lot of gunpowder to tear down these huge walls.

Hotel de jonc

Hotel de Jonc Orange - This is a mansion in the city center, ranked among the historical monuments of France. It was named after the de Jonc family who built this typical hotel particulier in the 18th century.

Hotel rush

This private mansion is a historical monument of the Vaucluse department in Provence. It was classified as a monument on September 13, 1984. The mansion overlooks Place des Cordeliers, near the church of Saint-Floren.

It is located at 12bis-14 rue Petite-Fusterie, Orange, France.

City Hall

The City Hall of Orange - Hôtel de ville d’Orange - is listed as a historical monument in Vaucluse on October 11, 1907. It is located in the city center, in the square where the Rue de la Republique begins.

Originally it was a private house built in the 17th century. In 1713, the building was acquired by the city.

The former hospice building was built in the 16th century. It became the “General Hospital for Needy Patients” in 1638 by order of Prince Maurice de Nassau.

The college was founded in 1573 by Louis de Nassau. At the time of Philippe Guillaume, college staff were recruited equally from Catholics and Calvinist prostitutes. The reason for this clear equality was religious strife.

The college can be found near 7 Rue de la République, Orange.

Municipal Theater

The Municipal Theater of Orange was opened in 1885. It was designed by Avignon architect A. Boudoy in collaboration with Charles Garnier, creator of the famous paris opera. The facade of the building is decorated with busts of Moliere, Cornell and Felicien David as symbols of comedy, tragedy and music, respectively.

Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth Cathedral

Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth d’Orange - This is the Roman Catholic Church, a former cathedral, listed as a historical monument France. Previously, there was the residence of the Bishop of Orange, canceled by the concordat of Napoleon in 1801. This was an agreement between the pope and the French emperor, according to which Rome recognized the new power in France, and Catholicism was declared the state religion, although while maintaining the religion. As a result, Rome abolished more than fifty Catholic church structures of the Old regime, including the Bishopric of Orange.

The church building itself was built in the 6th century and consecrated in 528. Throughout its history, the building was going to be demolished many times. Most of the current building dates from the 12th century. The church tower, dating from 1338, served as the home for the head of the vice-rector. In February 1480, in the church building, King Louis XI confirmed with his letter the protection of patents.

The cathedral was severely damaged during the religious wars in 1561. For some time, the victorious Huguenots even turned it into a Protestant temple. During the French Revolution and the subsequent secularization of religious buildings, the church turned into the "Temple of the Mind."

Church of st floren

Église Saint-Florent d’Orange - The Church of Saint-Florent is the former chapel of the Order of the Franciscan Monks.

The Franciscan Order settled in Orange in the early 14th century, when it built this chapel. The Church of Saint-Florent served as the burial place of many Seniors Bo - one of the powerful rulers of Provence in the Middle Ages. Their power extended to Provence and the Sicilian kingdom, and even to Sardinia, in which they tried to become kings of Arborea.

During the religious wars, in 1561, the chapel was burned by the Huguenots. 18 years later, the church was almost destroyed, and a mill was built in its place. Thanks to the return of the Franciscan order to Orange, the chapel was restored.

During the French Revolution, the church building was used as a barracks and even as a prison. In 1803, it was again used for religious purposes, and in 1844 a parish was created named after the patron saint of the city of Florent. He died around 526 and became famous for his miracles.

The church is characterized by its Gothic facade in a simple style.

Chapel de Gabet

This chapel serves as the burial place of 32 blessed martyrs of Orange and 300 other people, including 36 priests and monks. This chapel appeared thanks to the generosity of Pierre Millet, who built the church in 1832 on the site where in 1794 the victims of revolutionary terror were simply thrown mixed with quicklime.

IN Paris Robespierre dictated her own laws, and Megre, his worthy representative, implemented them throughout the country. His victims were 63 people in Bedouin, 47 in Avignon and about 10,000 in Orange. A court was established by the People’s Committee, which held 44 meetings from June 19 to August 4, issued 595 decisions, of which 147 acquittals, 116 defendants were sentenced to imprisonment and 332 to death. The average sentenced were 36 priests, 32 nuns and 264 other people from different classes of society: 43 Ferreri and workers, 13 shoemakers, 12 women including 6 widows, 11 silk workers, 6 jewelers, 6 carpenters and joiners, etc. All sentenced were charged because of their religion or lack of enthusiasm for the republic.

The mass slaughter was stopped only by the fall of Robespierre. In memory of those sad events, Pierre Millet built a church at his own expense.

Sculpture of Jean Antoine Ingalbert

Jean-antoine injalbert - famous French sculptor born in the town Beziers in southern France in the region Languedoc-Roussillon. He was a student of Dumont and won the prestigious Prix de Rome award in 1874. Among his creations are four allegorical figures of Paris, Navigation, Commerce and Abundance, adorning mirabo bridge in Pariscrucifix in Reims Cathedral, tympanum with the image of the city of Paris surrounded by muses, in Petit Pale in Paris, figures of Electricity and Commerce on Bir Hackheim Bridge in Paris, Monument to the deadin Beziers, Hippomenes in Luxembourg Garden in Paris, Honore Mirabeau's figure Pantheon of Paris, bust of Louis Galle in Valence, etc.

Ingalberto's sculpture is located opposite the royal gates of the Roman theater and symbolizes antiquity, fueling contemporary art.

Sculpture of Reimbaut Oransky

This was the only son of the Earl of Orange and one of the most powerful lords of Provence, who became famous as a troubadour. His exquisite works are distinguished by a special artistry and virtuosity of unusual rhymes and complex poetic forms.

He participated in the Crusade of 1099 and in the capture of Jerusalem.

The sculpture is located on the Rue de la Republique, near the city hall.

Arrival, city information and accommodation in Orange

The train station is located approximately 1.5 kilometers east of the center at the end of Frederic-Mistral Avenue. The bus stop closest to it is at the lower end of Jean-Reboul Street, the first to the left if you go from the station. Bus No. 2 of the route to Nogent takes you to the ancient theater, opposite which there is a summer tourist office.

At the next stop on Aristide Briana Boulevard, there is the main tourist office (cours Aristide-Briand). The bus station is located near the center on Edouard Daladier Boulevard (boulevard Edouard-Daladier).

Of of hotels we can recommend a small, pleasant Herbes (8 place aux Herbes), L'Arene (place de Langes) with spacious rooms and all modern amenities and very comfortable Le Glacier (46 cours Aristide-Briand). Camping Le Joqueier (rue Alexis-Carrel, closed from October to March) has tennis courts and a pool. A double tent will cost € 22.80 per night.

Where to eat, drink and have fun in Orange

In terms of food, pizza, pasta and more expensive seafood-based dishes can be found in Chez Daniel (rue Segond Weber, open only Friday evening on Sunday) and La Yaca (24 place Silvain, closed on Tuesday evenings, Wednesday out of season and in November), where in the old vaulted room offers a large selection of dishes costing no more than 22 €.

However, the restaurant Le Parvis (3 cours des Pourtoules, closed on Sundays and Mondays) is famous for its best cuisine in Orange, where on weekdays a lunch menu is offered at a cost of 16.50 €. If you want a drink, head to Place Clemenceau in the city center, where the Cafe de l`Univers is painted yellow. Across the street from Aristide Briand is Cafe de Thremes (26 rue des Vieux-Fosses) with a good selection of beers, which is popular with young people.

The main festival of Orange, the Choregie, which includes operas, oratorios and orchestra concerts, is held in July. For information about him and tickets, contact Bureau des Choregies (18 place Silvain). The theater hosts year-round concerts of jazz, folklore and rock music and film music.

Ticket prices range from 4 to 180 €, and some events are free. For details, contact the City Office of Culture (Service Culturel de la Ville, 14 place Silvain). Tickets for all events can be purchased at the stores of the National Federation of Trade Agencies (FNAC) in all major cities in France, as well as at the box office of the theater in Orange.

Neighborhood of Orange (Serignan-du-Comte)

The town of Serignan-du-Comtat, 8 kilometers northwest of Orange, connected by three daily bus services to Orange and Avignon, was the last refuge of Jean-Henri Fabre, an amazing self-taught scientist, famous for his insect research who also wrote poetry and songs and decorated his works with illustrations that were distinguished by artistic brilliance and scientific accuracy.

In the 1860s, he had to leave teaching at Avignon, as his parents and priests considered his lectures on insemination of plant flowers immoral, if not worse. His house, to which he gave the name Harmas, stands on the N-976 highway towards Orange and has been open to visitors since 2006 after five years of reconstruction.

At the house there is a garden similar to a jungle, in the study of Fabre a complete classification of plants of France is stored, and on the ground floor there is a series of watercolor images of Vaucluse mushrooms. At the crossroads in the center of the town, in front of the church and city hall with red shutters, is a statue of Fabre.

More photos of the sights of the French city of Orange here: Photo gallery