Orange started life as Roman Arausio, a colony for veterans of the Second Legion. During this period that the town’s famous monuments (see images) were constructed. Later controlled by Visigoths, then Saracens, the town eventually became part of the Holy Roman Empire.
Arausio gradually became known as Orange during the early Middle Ages. This had nothing to do with the colour orange or the fruit which was unknown in Western Europe. Eventually however, it became the colour of the House of Nassau-Orange. Germanic princes from the United Provinces (modern Netherlands). One of these princes even became king of England as William III!
The monuments referred to earlier are the magnificent Arc de Triomphe on the via Agrippa linking Lyon and Arles and constructed in 20BC to commemorate the victories of the Second Legion who had retired to the town. Even more spectacular is the wonderfully well preserved Theatre Antique built during time of Augustus which has retained its 103m/112.6yds long and 36m/39yd high stage wall complete with niches and statues. There was room for up to 9000 seated spectators divided into three sections according to social class!
Dont miss: the Theatre or the Arch but also try to catch the statue to the Troubador Raimbaut d’Orange in the town centre.
Market day:Thursday morning.