Orange is a charming city located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southern France. Known for its rich history, well-preserved Roman architecture, and delightful Provençal ambiance, Orange offers a multitude of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Orange, France:
1. Théâtre Antique d’Orange (Orange Roman Theatre)
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This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the best-preserved Roman theaters in the world. Built in the 1st century AD, it boasts remarkable acoustics and hosts an annual opera festival during the summer months. Exploring this ancient theater and attending a performance is a must-do experience in Orange.
2. Arc de Triomphe
Adjacent to the Roman Theatre, the Arc de Triomphe of Orange is another remarkable Roman structure. Dating back to the early 1st century AD, this triumphal arch stands as a testament to the Roman influence in the region. Visitors can admire its intricate carvings and learn about its historical significance.
3. Musée d’Art et d’Histoire (Museum of Art and History)
Housed in a former archbishop’s palace, the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire offers a fascinating collection of Roman artifacts, medieval art, and contemporary exhibitions. The museum provides insights into the rich cultural heritage of Orange and the wider region.
4. Colline Saint-Eutrope (Saint-Eutrope Hill)
For breathtaking panoramic views of Orange and its surroundings, a visit to Colline Saint-Eutrope is highly recommended. This hilltop site features the remains of a Roman temple and offers scenic hiking trails. The ascent to the top rewards visitors with stunning vistas of the city and the picturesque landscape.
5. Les Chorégies d’Orange
Orange is renowned for its annual opera festival, Les Chorégies d’Orange. Held in the Roman Theatre, this internationally acclaimed event showcases world-class opera performances. Attending a show during the festival season is an unforgettable experience for music enthusiasts.
6. Saint-Florent Cathedral
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Admire the architectural beauty of Saint-Florent Cathedral, a Romanesque-Gothic church dating back to the 12th century. Inside, you can appreciate its stunning stained glass windows and ornate decorations.
7. Orange Public Gardens (Parc d’Orange)
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Relax and unwind in the tranquil Orange Public Gardens. This lush green space offers a peaceful retreat, featuring beautiful flowerbeds, fountains, and shaded pathways. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.
8. Local Markets
Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture by visiting one of Orange’s markets. The weekly Provencal market, held on Thursdays, is a fantastic opportunity to sample fresh produce, regional delicacies, and handmade crafts.
9. Wine Tasting
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Orange is situated in the renowned wine-producing region of Côtes du Rhône. Don’t miss the chance to visit local vineyards and partake in wine tastings to savor the distinctive flavors of the region.
10. Trips to Nearby Châteaux
Orange serves as an excellent base for exploring the stunning châteaux in the surrounding region. Plan day trips to nearby castles such as Château de Suze-la-Rousse and Château de Grignan, which offer fascinating insights into the region’s medieval history and boast picturesque settings.
11. Château des Princes d’Orange
Explore the Château des Princes d’Orange, a medieval fortress that sits atop a hill overlooking the city. This well-preserved castle offers captivating views and exhibits on the history of Orange and its rulers.
12. Lavender Fields
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During the summer months, take a day trip to the stunning lavender fields that blanket the landscapes of Provence. Visit the renowned Valensole Plateau, located within driving distance of Orange, and immerse yourself in the fragrant beauty of lavender fields stretching as far as the eye can see.
13. Gourmet Delights
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Indulge in the delicious cuisine of Provence by dining at the city’s finest restaurants and cafes. Sample regional specialties such as bouillabaisse (fish stew), ratatouille (vegetable stew), and tapenade (olive spread). Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of local Côtes du Rhône wine.
14. Les Halles
Explore the vibrant Les Halles market, where you can find a wide array of fresh produce, local cheeses, cured meats, and other culinary delights. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the flavors and aromas of Provençal gastronomy.
15. Outdoor Activities
Enjoy the natural beauty surrounding Orange by engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking, horseback riding, or even hot air balloon rides. The region offers numerous trails, countryside paths, and adventure opportunities for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
16. Relaxation in Les Thermes d’Orange
Unwind and rejuvenate at Les Thermes d’Orange, a wellness center offering thermal baths and spa treatments. Pamper yourself with a soothing massage or soak in the therapeutic waters, providing a serene retreat amidst your sightseeing adventures.
17. Les Gorges de l’Ardèche
Embark on a day trip to Les Gorges de l’Ardèche, a stunning natural attraction located nearby. This river canyon offers breathtaking views, opportunities for hiking and kayaking, and picturesque spots for picnicking along the riverbanks.
18. Maison des Vins
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Expand your knowledge of the region’s wines by visiting Maison des Vins. This wine center offers tastings of a wide selection of Côtes du Rhône wines, allowing you to discover new favorites and learn about the unique characteristics of the local vineyards.
19. Les Baux-de-Provence
Take a short drive from Orange to the medieval village of Les Baux-de-Provence. Perched on a rocky outcrop, this enchanting village offers panoramic views, charming streets lined with boutiques and art galleries, and the impressive Château des Baux-de-Provence.
20. Roman Bridge (Pont Saint-Bénézet) in Avignon
Explore the nearby city of Avignon, just a short drive from Orange, and visit the famous Pont Saint-Bénézet. This 12th-century bridge, known as the “Pont d’Avignon,” stretches across the Rhône River and offers a fascinating glimpse into the region’s history.
21. Festival d’Avignon
If you happen to visit Orange during the summer, don’t miss the renowned Festival d’Avignon. This internationally acclaimed performing arts festival features theater, dance, music, and visual arts performances held in various venues throughout the city.
22. Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) in Avignon
While in Avignon, be sure to visit the Palais des Papes, a massive Gothic palace that was the residence of the Popes in the 14th century. Explore its grand halls, chapels, and courtyards to appreciate the architectural and historical significance of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
23. Provençal Cooking Classes
Immerse yourself in the culinary traditions of Provence by participating in a cooking class. Learn how to prepare classic Provençal dishes using fresh, local ingredients, and gain insights into the region’s gastronomy and cooking techniques.
24. Les Antiques
Just outside Orange, you’ll find Les Antiques, an archaeological site featuring the well-preserved Roman monuments of the Triumphal Arch and the Mausoleum of the Julii. Marvel at the intricate details and craftsmanship of these ancient structures.
25. Les Jardins de l’Artémise
Discover the beauty of Les Jardins de l’Artémise, a charming garden located in nearby Bédarrides. This peaceful oasis offers meticulously manicured lawns, vibrant flower beds, and artistic sculptures, providing a tranquil setting to unwind and appreciate nature.
26. Beaches of the French Riviera
If you’re willing to venture a bit farther from Orange, the glamorous beaches of the French Riviera are within reach. Enjoy a day trip to destinations like Nice, Cannes, or Saint-Tropez, where you can soak up the sun, relax on pristine beaches, and experience the vibrant coastal atmosphere
Places and Things To Do