Discovering the Roman city of Orange and its heritage with the very famous Antique Theatre (Théâtre Antique), which annually hosts the Chorégies d’Orange festival.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Reach the Triumphal Arch of Orange (l'Arc de Triomphe d’Orange) situated on the famous Nationale 7 road north of downtown. Several free car parks are located east of the edifice.
(D/A) From the car park, begin by going right on the footway to reach a zebra crossing north of the Arc de Triomphe. Cross and go under the central arch. At the end of the central reservation, locate a zebra crossing on the right and cross to reach the footway on Avenue de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Walk to the end of the avenue on this wide footway. Go over the Meyne river platform and arrive at the crossroads. Cross at the zebra crossing and continue along Rue Victor Hugo across the street. Go by (do not take) the passage on the left and the two dead ends on the right.
Turn left onto Rue Notre-Dame, which ends up in front of the entrance to the Orange Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Nazareth et de tous les Saints).
(1) Take a right at the pedestrian zone (which is still the same street) and stop in front of No. 6, which is home to the Hôtel de Lapise.
Go by Rue Lapise on the right and reach Place Georges Clémenceau. Stay to the right and walk along the magnificent Hôtel de Ville. Continue across the street on Rue Lubière. Go by Rue Saint-Martin on the right and arrive at Place de la République.
Go right then left on Rue de Strassart, which reaches Place aux Herbes. Take a left onto Rue Gabriel Boissy then a right onto Rue Segond Weber, which ends up behind the Antique Theatre at Place des Frères Mounet.
Walk a few metres to the left to admire the statue of Jean-Antoine Injalbert. Set off again to the right staying on the same footway. The Musée d'Art et d'Histoire d'Orange is located across from the entrance to the theatre. The remains of the ancient Roman temple are to the left on the other side of the street.
Continue straight ahead on Rue Pontillac. Pass under an archway. Go by two streets (one on your right and one on your left) to end up in front of the old Église des Réformés, which has become the Temple Protestant. Continue to reach Cours Aristide Briand. Walk up this street to the left for a few metres to admire the old Théâtre Municipal which also serves as a roundabout.
(2) Continuing going up the street towards Rue de Tourre. Cross at the zebra crossing and continue across the street along Montée des Princes d'Orange Nassau, which slants to the right. 250 m higher, go by the cemetery and leave the road to take the stairs going up to the left. Reach a tarmac drive. Turn left to complete the climb of Colline Saint-Eutrope.
Turn right on the asphalt drive that forms a circle. Stay on the main drive. Pass in front of the open air café on your left side and reach Allée Hernest Roche. It's noticeable by its concrete blocks.
(3) Cross the drive and continue on its other side to reach an esplanade that has a beautiful view of the city, Mont Ventoux, the Dentelles de Montmirail and the mountains of the Drôme Provençale. Return to the crossroads and turn right onto the drive following the sign “Point de vue Théâtre Antique” (viewpoint of the Antique Theatre). At the following crossroads: Allée du Capitaine Marius Augier (on the left) and Allée Raphaël Mossé (on the right), continue straight ahead 10 m.
Go down a drive to the right to immediately take the stairs that climb to the Belvédère des Amis de la Colline. Enjoy the view and go down the stairs to the left that reach the main drive. Continue for about 30 m to reach the entrance to the Square des Orangevilles noticeable by the remains of a wall. Push ahead a little to reach a magnificent viewpoint above the Antique Theatre (4).
Make an about-turn to the wall and find a path on the left that goes down into the trees. Follow this path to arrive at another viewpoint at an upper entrance to the theatre (closed with a gate). Continue going down using the only possible path. Go down a big natural step (you have to sit down to get by it!) and follow the barriers to the right that end up at another walking path.
Turn left and finish the descent by making a right turn that leads to Montée Julia Barthet. Take this alley to the left. It reaches Rue Pouroules. Walk beside the theatre for a moment and cross the zebra crossing on the right to reach Église Saint-Florent.
Cross Rue Saint-Florent towards Place des Cordeliers. Turn left onto Rue Petite Fusterie and take note of the Hôtel de Jonc, which can be found a few metres further in a small recess on the right. Continue walking to the end of the street and turn right on Rue Caristie then left on Place de la République.
Pass in front of the statue of Raimbaud the Second of Orange and then leave going right on Rue Grande Fusterie, which reaches Place Georges Clémenceau at a buried fountain. Also admire another view of the Hôtel de Ville on the left.
Continue straight ahead to arrive at the back of the Orange Cathedral at Place du Cloître. Turn left alongside the edifice at Rue du Renoyer. At its end, turn left to again reach the entrance to the cathedral.
(1) Continue to the right and take the same pathway that you took on the outward journey to reach the Triumphal Arch and the car park (D/A).
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 151ft
1 : mi 0.39 - alt. 167ft - Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth d'Orange
2 : mi 0.76 - alt. 154ft - Old Théâtre Municipal
3 : mi 1.32 - alt. 338ft - Crossroads with Allée Hernest Roche
4 : mi 1.68 - alt. 217ft - Théâtre antique d'Orange
D/A : mi 2.4 - alt. 151ft - Arc de Triomphe d'Orange
Numerous water sources and food supply points on the route.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Website of the city of Orange.
Triumphal Arch of Orange
The Antique Arch of Orange, also commonly known as the Triumphal Arch of Orange, is a Roman monumental arch from the early first century AD. It’s located at the northern entrance of Arausio (now the city of Orange in the Vaucluse) on Via Agrippa (the current Nationale 7 road). According to the interpretation of the dedication added on this date on the two sides of the monument, the arch was most likely built between the years 20 AD and 25 AD to commemorate the victories of Germanicus (deceased in 19 AD) then possibly “returned” to Tiberius in 26 or 27 AD. During the Middle Ages, the monument was fortified to serve as an advanced bastion at the entrance of the city.
The Diocese of Orange is documented starting from the late fourth century. The Orange Cathedral, built near an eleventh century Episcopal basilica that no longer exists, was consecrated in 1208. The bell tower, erected in 1338, was inhabited during the Middle Ages by the chapter’s provost. The church was ransacked by the Huguenots on the 20th of December 1561, during the Religious Wars. The very next day, it began serving as a temple. Two years later, the big bell was thrown from the top of the bell tower onto the roof causing most of the roof to collapse. The bell, which stayed intact, was broken up with sledge hammers. During the French Revolution, the building became the Temple of Reason. The diocese, which was abolished, was never re-established. Given back to the Church, Notre Dame was the only parish in Orange in the early nineteenth century.
Hôtel de Lapise
Arriving in Orange in the late sixteenth century, the Protestant Jacques de Lapise escaped in February 1571 from the slaughter of Notre-Dame la Massacreuse. Solicitor and Secretary to the Governor, in 1584 he became an archivist, Secretary to the Prince and court clerk of his properties in the principality. In recognition of his loyal service, Prince Frédéric Henri built the Maucoil Estate as a fiefdom in 1626.
The Statue of Injalbert
Located in the centre of the royal gate of the Antique Theatre, it symbolizes the Antique Soul passing the Torch of Art to the genius.
Rue du Pontillac
An old canal for sewage and rubbish, "the Pontillac" began at the end of the present Rue Saint-Florent and crossed all of Orange from east to west passing in front of the theatre to reach the Fossé de Saint-Martin (pit of Saint-Martin). This veritable open-air sewer was covered in 1718. The present Rue du Pontillac follows part of its route. In the early 1760s during the creation of Cours Saint-Martin, a new canal was put in to receive water from the city at the outlet of the old Pontillac canal. The pit at the old fortifications, previously used to receive this water, was now filled. Rue du Pontillac is bisected by a Roman wall, probably the west perimeter wall of the forum. An arch-topped passage was driven through this wall.
The Old Théâtre Municipal
The Commision Populaire, headquartered in Orange, raised the guillotine during the French Revolution in this southern part of the former Cours Saint-Martin. 332 victims perished under the blade of the guillotine during the months of June and July 1794. To preserve their memory, an expiatory monument was built in 1825 at the site of their punishment from funds raised by public subscription. Damaged during the Revolution of 1830, it was finally demolished in 1848. In 1882, the Théâtre Municipal was built on this site under the direction of the architects Boudoy, former associates of Charles Garnier then Carlier. Having a capacity of 650 places, it was opened in 1885 with "La fille du régiment" and "Les charbonniers" on the programme. The building maintained its allocation until the Second World War, at which time it was converted into a meeting place for the German authorities. Starting in 1950, it was reconverted to host conferences, meetings and festivals and was home to the library and municipal archives for some time. Reorganised in 1981, it is now used for various cultural and social events.
This former church of the Franciscans, who were established in Orange in the early fourteenth century, served as a burial place for the many princes of the Baux dynasty. During the Religious Wars, it was burnt down by the Protestants in 1561 then almost demolished eighteen years after to build a flour mill at its location. The return of the brethren to Orange enabled its restoration. During the French Revolution, the church and the convent were successively used as barracks, a hayloft, a stable and a prison. Reopened to the Church in 1803 then established as a parish in 1844, the church was dedicated to the city’s patron saint Florent, Bishop of Orange in the sixth century and creator of many miracles. His relics are shared between Orange and Florentiola (Italy), the city where he brought a young girl back to life.
Hôtel de Jonc
In the 18th century, the Jonc family had their townhouse on Rue Petite Fusterie, a district occupied during the Middle Ages by carpenters including "les fustiers". Godefroy de Jonc, Doctor of Law and royal judge, was put in charge of the Orange government by Louis the Fifteenth in 1730. One of his sons, Louis-Nicolas de Jonc de Salos, was mayor of Orange twice (1785 to 1786 and in 1789) before dying at the guillotine in 1794. This building was requisitioned to serve as housing for members of the Commission Populaire. According to tradition, old Madame de Jonc had to leave the premises then spend the night with her servant in front of the house on a stone bench now gone. She did not want to disturb the people in need to whom she was renting a house.
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