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Provence Sights

Roman ruins

  • Av. Général-de-Gaulle at Pl. du 11 Novembre Map It
  • Vaison-la-Romaine
  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

Updated 12/19/2013

Fodor's Review

There are two broad fields of Roman ruins, both in the center of town. Like a tiny Roman forum, the Maison des Messii (Messii House) spreads over the field and hillside in the heart of town. Closest to the entrance, the foundations of the Maison des Messii retain the outlines of its sumptuous design. A formal garden echoes similar landscaping in ancient times; wander between its cypresses and flowering shrubs to the Musée Archéologique Théo-Desplans (Théo-Desplans

Archaeology Museum). In this streamlined venue the accoutrements of Roman life have been amassed and displayed by theme: pottery, weapons, representations of gods and goddesses, jewelry, and sculpture.

Cross the park behind the museum to climb into the bleachers of the first-century theater, which is smaller than Orange's but is still used today for concerts and plays. Across the parking lot is the Quartier de la Villasse, where the remains of a lively market town evoke images of main-street shops, public gardens, and grand private homes, with floor mosaics. The most evocative image of all is in the area of the thermes (baths): a neat row of marble-seat toilets.

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Sight Information


Av. Général-de-Gaulle at Pl. du 11 Novembre, Vaison-la-Romaine, 84110, France

Map It



Sight Details:

  • €8
  • Tourist office: June, weekdays 9:30–5:45, Sat. 9:30–5:45, Sun. 9:30–12; July and Aug., weekdays 9:30–6:45, weekends 9:30–6:45; Apr., May, and Sept.–mid-Oct., Mon.–Sat. 9:30–5:45 and Sun. 9–12; mid-Oct.–Mar., Mon.–Sat. 9:30–5:45
  • Closed usually between 12 and 2

Updated 12/19/2013


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