•Vaucluse (84300) • Population: 24,563 • Altitude: 75 m
The center of Cavaillon is west of the main road, towards the high cliffs that look down on the town. The Cours Bournissac that takes you to the center is wide, and bordered by nice looking buildings and shops. You're bound to find a large merry-go-round or other attraction in the middle of the "Cours", and the town people wandering here with the typical Provencal relaxation.
This is a town of over 23,000 people, not very picturesque at first view. If you're just passing through, you'll have a poor impression unless you stop and give the town a chance.
At the end of the Cours Bournissac, below the cliffs, are the Roman Arches (photo above) and the Office de Tourisme. There are some pedestrian streets in the old part of town (Vieux Cavaillon), along side the Cours Bournissac. If you walk up some of the streets going off the Cours Gambetta, such as the Rue Pomme d'Or, you can see the 12th-century Canal St Julien still carrying water through the center of the town.
There is a walking tour through Vieux Cavaillon; no map or guide available, just follow the signs "Circuit du Vieux Cavaillon". In part of Vieux Cavaillon we found an ancient sundial (cadran solaire) high on the wall of the cathedral. The cathedral and cloisters visiting hours were marked as: 10-12h, 14-16h Oct-Mar; 10-12h, 15-18h Apr-Sept.
At the Place J. Guis are some buildings in soft Provençal colors, and several of the windows aren't windows [photo-5]. Up the nearby Rue Raspail is a magnificent cheese shop [photo-6 and -7] with some great varieties of goat cheese (fromage de chèvre). Along the same street we found another amusing trompe l'oeil: one of the persons is actually real [photo-8].
Brocant markets are often held on the Place Philippe de Cabassole in Vieux Cavaillon. This view of the place [photo-9] shows Mont St. Jacques and the chapel St-Roch at the top. You can climb up to Mont St. Jacques, at the top of the cliffs, using the 16th-century steps carved out of the solid rock (starting just beside the Office de Tourisme). Further back at the top is the 11th-century Chapelle St. Jacques and hermitage, the ruins of the ancient village, and a splendid view of the town below.
These comments were contributed by Candace Andrews, 12 Mar 1999:
... my mother and I "discovered" Cavaillon last June. We enjoyed three nights at the delightful Hotel du Parc and a delicious meal at Le Cours (the pizzeria you recommend). We found other charming eateries...and recommend Cote Jardin. We travel on limited budgets so this was a bit of a splurge for us. The Cavaillon melons are THE best anywhere! Other Provencal favorites: the Roman ruins at Glanum and Atelier des Cendres at Oppede Le Vieux (probably the next Les Baux!).
History of Cavaillon
Prehistoric: Cave dwellings in the Baume des Enfers and the large grotto of Vidauque.
Celto-Ligurian: Artifacts of several Ligurian and Gaulois settlements, including the Celtic-Ligurian
Gallo-Roman: An established pre-Roman town, continued and expanded by the Romans. Some of the artifacts include statues and a small 1st-century Arc de Triomphe. The Roman road Domitienne Way (Voie Domitienne) passed through two arches that still stand [photo-1 and -2].
Medieval: Cavaillon belonged to the Kingdom of Arles and the Marquis de Provence. The town was ruled by bishops, including St. Veranus in the 6th century and Philippe de Cabassole in the 14th century. In the 12th century, Cavaillon was involved in the Albigeois crusades.
Tel : 04 90 71 32 01; Fax: 04 90 71 42 99
At the base of the cliffs, by the Roman arches. Not the most helpful OT we've visited. You need to think of every thing you want (like a map of the town) and ask for it specifically; no helpful advice offered.
- Located next to a beautiful 18th-century synagogue. The museum, installed in what was the old bakery, contains relics of the original 14th-century synagogue.
- Open: all year
- Located in an old hospital building and chapel. Many of the items on display are 1st and 2nd-century objects from the ancient village on Mont St. Jacques.
- La Porte d'Avignon
- Open: all year
Creche Provencal Museum - Musée de la Crèche Provençal
- Location: 1713 route de Robion - (Les Taillades)
- Tel: 0490 712 597; Fax: 0490 714 746