Things to do in Vaison-la-Romaine – Visit Our Lady of Nazareth

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The Vaison Cathedral, located near the ruins of La Villasse,  is one of Vaison-la-Romaine’s major historical sites and it’s open free to the public.

Officially known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Nazareth (Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth), this former bishopric stands on the site of at least two much older structures (a Roman temple and a 6th-century Basilica) and itself dates primarily to the 11th and 12th centuries (though some parts, namely the eastern apse, date to the Merovingian period.) 

The existing structure – a mix of Gothic, Merovingian, and Romanesque architecture – features an angular and austere exterior of rough-hewn stone and a façade decorated with blind arches, pilasters, and an interesting triangular symbol at the top of the gable.

Central Nave Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

The cathedral’s interior consists of a central barrel-vaulted nave flanked by two narrow side aisles. Among the noteworthy artifacts and architectural features, you’ll see:

Roman Column Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

Remnants of previous Roman structures (notice the partial column on display);

High Altar Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

A minimalist High Altar; 

Baptismal Font Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

A simple stone baptismal font; 

Two pipe organs:

Main Entrance Interior Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

the main organ located above the entrance

Side Organ Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

and a second, smaller one, in the side aisle;

Several statues including:

Madonna and Child Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

A polychromatic Madonna and Child,

Saint Quinidius Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

A gilded Saint Quinidius, 6th-century Bishop and patron saint of Vaison, 

Saint Theresa Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

And a uniquely modern Saint Theresa;

Masons Marks Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

Walls scarred by chisel marks and etched with the signature markings of the stonemasons;

Stone Font Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

An elaborate stone font;

Decorated Niche Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

And wall niches, some adorned with decorative iron scrollwork.

Cloister Courtyard Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

The doorway to the left of Saint Quinidius leads out to the medieval cloister,

Cloister Gallery Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

where the arcaded and cobbled galleries border a central maze of hedges and olive trees.  Of interest here are:

Double Columns Cloister Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

The Corinthian columns – a number of which have been reclaimed from earlier Roman structures and are decorated with ornate capitals;

 Leaf Remnants Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

Remnants of friezes and reliefs Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

Remnants of friezes and reliefs, 

Sarcophagus Cathedral of Vaison la Romaine France

and a partial sarcophagus with reliefs of the twelve apostles carved into its side.

Getting there:

The Vaison Cathedral is located on Rue Alphonse Daudet.

Ticket info:

Free

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