Europe

Orange, a French city with a unique Roman theater

Very close to the famous Côte d’Azur in France is Orange, a French city with a lot of history under its foundations. For much of its history it was the capital of the Principality of Orange, called by many “the city of Princes”. Would you like to know why? Do you dare to visit it? I’m sure you’ll love it!

Orange is one of the towns in France that is most dedicated to viticulture. This means one thing: its surroundings will be surrounded by beautiful vineyards and stunning scenery. Nature, sun and history come together in this place to show us endless charms.

Orange, why is it so special?

Orange

We are talking about a small town that is located in the Rhône Valley. It was founded by Roman soldiers around 30 BC with the name of Arusio.

Being in the south of France and relatively close to Rome, became a city twinned with the Empire a few years after its foundation. Due to this Roman influence, most of the historical heritage of the municipality is from that time.

After the disappearance of the Roman Empire and already in the Middle Ages, became a county that is passed from generation to generation. Until the 16th century arrives and the last count makes Orange remain in the hands of William I of Nassau, Prince of Orange, who is named after him, from what is now Holland.

This moment was very important for the history of the municipality, since the town was under Dutch rule, there was a large protestant presence who fortified themselves in Orange during the crusades of the 16th and 17th centuries.

It will not be until 1703 when Louis XIV expels the Protestants and with the treaty of Utrecht the city comes under the domain of the French crown.

All these brushstrokes of the history of Orange make one thing clear to us, that although it is the same scenario, empires, peoples and characters of great power have passed through it: Romans, counts, Protestants… And all of this has a considerable influence on the city.

What to see in one day in Orange

As we have already told you, the influence of Rome affected Orange to the point that all we can see of it are remains of the Roman Empire. Some of the most outstanding places are the following:

Roman theatre

Roman Theater of Orange

It is a very special Roman monument, since it is the only one in Europe that keeps the stage wall intact. Only two more, in Syria and Tunisia, also maintain it. Very well preserved, it is a World Heritage Site.

It was built during the 1st century AD and was used to transmit Roman culture. A total of nine thousand spectators could attend it to witness dance, theater or acrobatic performances.

 

The Roman theater continues to have an artistic life. Every year it hosts the Avignon Festival where very diverse works are exhibited during the summer. Also the Orange Lyric Festival and the Roman Festival, in September.

Orange Triumphal Arch

Arc de Triomphe in Orange

Like the theater it was built during the 1st century AD at one of the entrances to the city, next to the wall. It is located north of the theater a kilometer walk. It may be that when thinking of the triumphal arches in France, the imagination flies to the one in Paris. But this one in Orange is unique in something: it has stood up to two thousand years of history.

Due to its architecture, something different from the rest of the Roman arches, it could mean that it was one of the first to be built in the Empire because the central arch is larger than the two lateral ones. Something that is not usually seen in all the bows that were made later. Would the Romans be doing the first tests on it?

other monuments

Notre Dame Cathedral – Marcel Musil / Flickr.com

In addition to the two Orange jewels, you can visit Notre Dame Cathedral, impressive inside. You can also see the Georges Clemenceau square, next to the town hall. But above all, take advantage of the visit to lose yourself in its narrow, stone streets, and feel like you’re traveling back in time.

Finally, to end your visit, We advise you to go to the hill of San Eutropio to enjoy fabulous views of the city. There, in addition, you can see the ruins of the castle where the Princes of Orange lived, along with other Roman remains.

These are the best activities you can do during your trip through Orange. Stroll, enjoy and soak up an atmosphere that you will not be able to experience anywhere else in Europe. Feel lucky about it!

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