The main tourist attractions in Vaison-la-Romaine are its ancient Roman ruins, which consist of various archaeological sites, including the Ancient Site of Puymin. Covering an area of over 35 acres, the collective ruins make up what is reportedly the largest Gallo-Roman site in France.
Situated in the ‘lower city’ on the north bank of the Ouvèze River, Puymin was one of two districts in Roman Vaison, or Vasio as it was known at the time. And, these in situ ruins, some partially reconstructed, are worth seeing in combination with a visit to La Villasse, Puymin’s sister site across the street.
As you stroll amidst the ruins of Puymin, along partially paved pathways lined by the remnants of stone walls, you’ll see:
La Maison à l’Apollon lauré – this expansive residence featured – among other spaces – an office for the master of the house, a kitchen equipped with fireplace and pond, a state dining room, two toilet rooms, heated baths (calderium and tepidarium) with dressing area, and a spacious ceremonial room with polychrome marble floors;
the site is named for a marble bust of a laurel-wreathed Apollo discovered during excavations.
La Maison à la Tonnelle – at just under 10,000 square feet, this immense, terraced ’house in the arbor’ featured an arbored courtyard that served as a dining area in the summertime, a pond, toilet room, basement, and a kitchen with an oven and large clay dolia for storing grain.