The medieval cité of Vaison-la-Romaine is one of those picture-perfect Provençal towns, perched on a hill with fabulous view of the surrounding valley of vineyards and Mont Ventoux in the distance. Wander through the cobbled streets of stone buildings and flower filled courtyards. A great place to hang out, sip the local wine and soak up the sun drenched ambience. For a little more exercise, if you really feel the need, you can hike up to the chateau ruins for more splendid views.
Down below and across the river is the new town and the even older Roman sites. According to Lonely Planet, the largest archeological site in France. If you’ve seen enough Roman ruins, hang out in the cité with your glass of wine, you won’t be missing much. If, however, ruins are your thing there are two sites, Puymin and the larger La Villasse, and a small museum near the tourist information office in the center of the new town. If you don’t want to spring for the €8 admission price, which includes both sites, museum and audio guide, much of the ruins can be seen from the outside by walking around the fenced site areas.
Mont Ventoux, to the southeast of Vaison-la-Romaine, towers above this region of France with dizzying views of the valleys far, far below and other mountain ranges far off in the distance. Although cycling to the top is very popular, you can circle the mountain by car, climbing up one side and down and around the other. Just don’t hit the cyclists screaming down the mountain. On a clear day it’s a breathtaking sight, but beware that the mountain is also known for its bad weather, both wind and rain.