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All information gathered first-hand, since 1995



The Théatre [photo] is at the base of the Colline St Eturope, dominating the opposite square with the museum and the cafés. A hike up to the top of the hill (Colline St Eutrope) gives a great view down into the Théatre.

Apart from its justly-famous Roman ruins, the center of Orange isn't particularly picturesque. It's nice though, and the center is compact, with walking streets and squares lined with small shops, restaurants and terrace cafés, and large shady plane trees. Our Beyond page covers only the central "old town" part of Orange.

village photo

A small river, the Meyne, runs through part of the town, passing tightly between buildings and backyard gardens. The cleanliness of this town-center river can be attested to by the fish it has. While taking a picture of a typically shady part of the river, a lad fishing [photo] first offered to move out of the way of our photo. He then held up his catch for us, proudly displaying a half-dozen or so foot-long fish [photo].

village photo

Parks, Playgrounds

Colline St Eutrope

This is a very large park area across most of the hilltop. There are open grassy areas, big shade trees, and walking and running paths, and a promenade botanique. There's a fantastic view from parts of the hill, including across the plains to the Dentelles de Montmirail in the east, or down on to the Roman theater at the base of the hill. The photo shows a carved wooden statue that stands in a part of the park.

Cours Aristide Briand

Located behind the main Office de Tourisme is a long grassy park. A playground in one corner has some basic equipment.



History of Orange

Name

First record, 2nd-c BC, Capital of the Cavares: Aurosia; 36 BC: Colonia Julia Firma Secundanorum Arausio

Prehistoric: Neolithique remains have been found at La Bertaude, near Grès, and on the hills of Saint-Eutrope and Moure Rouge.

Celto-Ligurian: The Cavare confederation dominated the region from Cavaillon to Valence (dept. Isères) during the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. Their capital Aurosia was on St Eutrope Hill, overlooking the current Orange, and dominating a rich agricultural plain beside the Rhône and Aygues rivers.

Gallo-Roman:

village photo

Marseilles and Rome traded with the Cavares. When the Cimbri and then the Teutons of Jutlan began migrating here, the Romans became more concerned with the strategic position, and brought in two armies, one which camped on St Eutrope Hill. In 105 BC, the Roman armies suffered their worst defeat since losing to Hannibal at Cannae.

The Roman colony was founded by Octavian (then called Augustus) in 36-35 BC, and the Legion II Gallica was given land here. The walled Augustian city enclosed about 70 ha, enclosing most of St Eutrope Hill and extending about a km north, just short of the Triumphal Arch.

Medieval: A bishop was installed here in the 4th century, and a small university was located here. The town was ruled by the Baux in the 12th century, and by the Chalon in the 14th. In 1530, it came under the rule of the Nassau, and was integrated into the Principality of Orange-Nassau. Later in the 16th century, the town suffered from the Wars of Religion.

In the 17th century, Maurice de Nassau built an imposing castle on St Eutrope Hill, cannabilizing other Roman buildings for the stone. The castle was dismantled in 1672 by order of Louis XIV, during the war between France and Holland. The Roman Triumphal Arch was converted into a castle guarding the northern approaches to the town; it was largely restored in the 1850s, and completed a hundred years later.

More Recently: In 1924, a major flood covered most of the town, with water about 2 m deep in the center, at the Place des Freres Mounet.


Tourist Office

5 Cours Aristide Briand (on Ave De Gaulle)

Tel (CDT): 04 90 34 70 88; Fax: 04 90 34 99 62

Web: www.otorange.fr

Email: officetourismeorange@wanadoo.fr

Open: Mon-Thur 9h-17h; Fri-Sat 9h-18h; Closed Sun, holidays
The OT has a free leaflet with details of the town's hotels, campsites and restaurants, and includes an excellent map.


Place des Frères Mounet (across from the Théatre Antique)
Open: Apr-Sept

Dates

Market day, 15 Aug - 15 Oct: daily
Market day, 15 Oct - 15 Aug: Mon, Wed, Fri
Every June - Amateur Jazz Festival - free, 21h30-23h
Every July - Festival d'Orange - every summer, long and complex schedules; for program, tel: 04 90 34 24 24.
Fête: 24 Aug - St. Barthélemy; and beginning Oct
Foire aux Vins: end July


Museums

Orange Municipal Museum

  • Location: Place des Frères-Mounet
  • Hours in-season: Mon-Fri 9h-19h; Sun 9h-12h, 14h-19h
  • Hours off-season: daily 9h-12h, 13h30-17h30
  • Cost (museum and theater): adults about 5 euros; under-10 free

Théatre Antique - Roman Theater

  • Location: Place des Frères-Mounet
  • Hours Easter - 30 Sept: daily 8h-18h45
  • Hours off-season: daily 9h-12h, 14h-17h
  • Cost (museum and theater): adults about 5 euros; under-10 free

Wine

Orange is the center town for the main part of the Rhône Valley wines (excepting the narrow northern band between Vienne and Valence). Principal aoc vineyards in the commune and area of Orange include Côtes de Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. (see Rhone Wines)


Hiking

• GPS: 44.136643, 4.805007

Maps

IGN (1/25,000) #3040 OT "Orange, Massif d'Uchaux"

Didier Richard (1/50,000) #27 "Ventoux"

The area immediately around Orange is urbanized or farmland, and hiking isn't great. In the forested hills about 10 km north, between Sérignan-du-Comtat and Bollène, there is some good hiking, including the GR4 hiking trail and the "Tour du Massif" trails. About 15 km east are the Dentelles de Montmirail and the beginning of Mont Ventoux.

Dining

There are several good restaurants in the center of Orange. The Office de Tourisme brochure lists over 50 restaurants (including pizzerias and a McDonalds). We had lunch in Le Garden on the place de Langes. Our selections from the middle-range (99 F, 135 F) were great, including a meal with Poitrine de Pintade Farcie and a vegetarian meal with Mitonnée aux Cinq Légumes.


Transportation Orange

Park and Walk. Parking along the Cours Aristide Briand gets crowded, and is metered. About 8 blocks north of the center, at the Arch de Triomphe, you'll find free parking. It's only a ten-minute walk back into the center, and there's a free navette (shuttle bus) between the Arch and various points of interest in the town (Arch, Office de Tourisme, Théatre Antique, Colline St Eutrope, Maison de la Principauté).

Department 84, Vaucluse Buses

  • See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 2: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map [Plan global des lignes] and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).
      • Avignon has train or bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Nîmes, Saint Remy-de-Provence, Paris.
    • Cavaillon has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Saint Remy-de-Provence.
    • Pertuis has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.

Nearby Places


Nearby Hotels

Nearby Places

Nearby Hotels