There truly is something for everyone in Vaison-la-Romaine, which was part of the reason why we fell so hard for this sweet, little town. Below are just SOME of the activities and events that take place throughout the year. For a full list, please visit: https://www.vaison-la-romaine.com
Architecture As the name hints, Vaison is known for having the largest archeological Roman ruin site outside of Italy. History lovers will be captivated by the many centuries of antiquities found within the walkable, small town's limits. The Haut-Ville's charming cobbled stone paths winding up through the old town to its chateau ruins, along with its church, date back from the 13th century and are a beautiful display of Medieval architecture. Notre Dame de Nazareth Cathedral and its cloister give it's visitors a gorgeous glimpse of the Romanesque style, while Puyman and La Villasse archeological sites allow visitors to immerse themselves in Gallo-Roman craftsmanship.
Hiking, Biking, Skiing and more! If nature is your thing, Vaison is a 30 minute car ride away from Mount Ventoux. Famous for being included on the Tour de France course, Mount Ventoux is known as one of the most challenging professional courses for bike riders in the world. For winter visitors, the mountain is also home to two small ski stations. Weather conditions have been know to make the courses challenging, however, giving the tiny slopes a slogan with the locals: Qui skie au Ventoux, skie partout (If you can ski Ventoux, you can ski anywhere).
For fabulous hiking trails for any level, the Dentelles de Montmirail is a 15 minute drive from Vaison-la-Romaine. Different trails are different lengths of time, making the hikes customizable depending on your schedule or ability.
The region is known for it's biking, but the hills can get pretty steep, so if you aren't a professional, I would suggest an E-bike for your tour around the countryside. E-bikes can be rented in town at Sun E-Bikes and there are a few horseback riding facilities in and around Vaison. The one I would suggest is, Centre Equestre Et Poney Club De Vaison.
Food and Beverages For foodies, the town is home to one of the oldest and largest weekly markets in the area. The market happens every Tuesday and goes from 8 am to 3 pm and literally starts at the bottom of our steps in the warmer months. There is also a smaller market on Saturday mornings, hosting local farmers and cheesemakers who come ready to sell what they have picked/made that morning. This market is located in the post office parking lot. Make sure to go early, they usually do not have a large inventory and tend to sell out early!
For a more relaxed food experience, Vaison has over 50 restaurants in town, three of which are Michelin starred. If you are looking to indulge in "fait maison" (homemade) baked goods, Vaison has eleven bakeries, so you are always within walking distance of a fresh baguette!
Wine! Ok, so this one is going to veer a little away from the town of Vaison, but I thought it was worth a mention. While there are countless wineries within just a few minutes drive of Vaison, the picturesque wine village of Gigondas is a short 15 minute drive from the house and doubles as the entrance to the hiking trials of the Dentelles. You could easily make a whole day (and we have!) out of an early morning hike, a relaxing and reenergizing lunch at one of their fabulous restaurants and then a tour around the village and the local vineyard's tasting rooms.
Heading just a little further south from the house, around 40 minutes, and you will hit the world-famous wine town of Châteauneuf du Pape. There are many tours that will pick you up in Vaison and take you to Gigondas and/or Chateauneuf du Pape, so you can experience the wine without the worry of driving home. If you want a more personalized experience, though, you could easily book a tour on your own of the many vineyards or just stop by their tasting rooms for impromptu glass or two of their offerings. I will say that booking a tour, whether with a company and driver or on your own, definitely gives you a certain appreciation for all of the work that goes into the process and you really get a sense for the passion behind the work. When visiting Châteauneuf du Pape, we booked a tour at Château la Nerthe after an incredible lunch at Le Verger Des Papes. The tour was not only informative, walking us through each step meticulously of the wine making process, but we were able to sample 8 different wines, really allowing us to compare each vintage and grape.
Entertainment For entertainment seekers, Vaison-la-Romaine is home to an antique Roman amphitheater dating back from 20 AD. This venue hosts a plethora of events throughout the year and is beautiful to walk around even without seeing a show.
Vaison is also home to "The Choralies," a festival that happens every three years and hosts more than 5,000 choral singers from around the world! The last one happened this past summer, 2022, so they wouldn't be back around for a bit. As someone who isn't particularly into singing, I will say that watching a Choralie performance in the antique amphitheater under the stars was such a memorable experience. If you happen to be in town for the festival, I would say try to make it to at least one event. If you are a fan of dance, "Festival Vaison Dances" is an international dance festival that takes place in July each summer, hosting some of the biggest names in dance from around the world.
For the avid reader, secondhand books are placed all around the town, thanking it's new reader for "adopting" it and giving it a new home. (as shown above) It is one of the quirky things about this town that captured my heart as we wove through the streets and found our way to the real estate office during our first visit.