Vaucluse is a region in France that many tourists flock to because of the variety of attractions that are there. The old town of Avignon is one of the most famous towns of Vaucluse which sort of defines the history of the region. And the dominant Mont Ventoux looks down upon the rest of the beautiful countryside that Vaucluse is famous for. In this article we look at some of the best things to do and see in this most magical place.
Palais des Papes
If you are into Gothic palaces, then the majestic Palais des Papes will be right up your street. It is the biggest Gothic palace in the whole of Europe with fifty thousand feet of space. Many popes lived here during the 14th Century as at the time it was competing against Rome for the seat of religious power. Visiting the Palais des Papes you will be able to see ceremonial halls, cloisters, chapels and the private apartments of the previous Popes that are adorned with priceless frescoes. If you are based in Avignon, you can easily go to see this historic palace.
In the same city there is the Musee Calvert, a must for tourists, especially if you love art and beauty. The museum is known for its large collection of antiques and art which focus on carved sculptures, designs and crafts and exciting paintings from all over the world. One of the real highlights is the collection of Islamic and Asian arts, including many rare Egyptian exhibits that have been painstakingly restored at the museum. There are also temporary displays, so, depending when you visit, you may be lucky to see some visiting exhibitions.
This fine bridge has almost become a symbol of Avignon, the Pont d’Avignon was built in the latter part of the 12th Century and was originally almost three thousand feet long. At the time it was bigger than any other bridge, and its graceful arches made the bridge stunningly beautiful. The bridge has seen plenty of conflicts, and it has been rebuilt many times, it arches have been gradually eroded due to the first time it suffered harm in a siege back in 1226. Nowadays, only four of the original twenty-two arches still exist, but even so the Pont d’Avignon still proudly guards the entrance to the ancient city.
Roman Theatre of Orange
Orange is not far from Avignon and has plenty of great things to see, including this magnificent first century theater. It is without doubt one of the best examples of Roman architecture that dates back to the Julian era and the colony of Arausio.
It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980 and still is a working theater that regularly hosts a summer opera festival. In the past, Roman audiences could have seen pantomime, poetry, mime, readings and farces similar to commedia dell’ arte. The theater was originally built as a way for the Romans to forget about the colonies and also to discourage the populace of any civil unrest. Part two continues to look at some amazing things to do and see in Vaucluse.