Vaison-la-Romaine is a small town in the Vaucluse region that sits nestled into the very top of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. The town is uniquely split into two sections, thanks to the Ouvèze river, leaving its "haute-ville", or old town as the locals call it, on the left bank and the more "modern" part of town, along with it's famous Roman ruins, on the right. The two halves are connected by a first century Roman bridge, famous for surviving a flood in the 90's that carried away many homes that lined its banks.
There are around 6,000 people who live in Vaison, making it the ideal size for people looking to stay in a town with traditional Provençal charm, without the feeling of complete isolation one could experience in a tiny village or hamlet.
Before our visit, we had never heard of Vaison-la-Romaine. After arriving, however, we were swept up in the town's infectious charm and the ability to walk to absolutely everything we could possibly need. It very much has a small town culture and big town amenities without giving off a commercialized/unauthentic feel. We were surprised to find that most of the tourist who come to visit the town are, in fact, French, making it a hidden little gem for someone who wants to experience Provence without the throngs of tourist or kitschy gift shops. No matter what time of year you visit, there is always something going on, be it a festival, performance, classes, brocantes or art shows. The residents are also very warm and welcoming, which makes a stay in Vaison not only memorable, but also immersive and authentic.