Those Gloating Romans: the Arch of Orange


Triumphal Arch of Orange, Arc de triomphe d’Orange, Orange, France If you walk out of the main heart of Orange, going north, you’ll get to what I thought was the most interesting place in the town.  It is the oldest surviving triple Roman Arch that still has some of its decoration visible.  Though maybe not as impressive or as dense with…

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Not Bright Orange: the Cathedral of Notre Dame


Cathedral of Our Lady of Nazareth, Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth, Orange, France Despite the fact that this church is still referred to as a Cathedral – it isn’t.  It has been a simple parochial church since 1877, when they lost their bishop and came under the sphere of Avignon.  How it has kept its title is a mystery, because quite frankly the…

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A Little Bit of Art…A Little Bit of History: Orange Museum


Museum of Art and History, Musee d’Art et d’Histoire, Orange, France The promising and spruced-up Museum of Art and History in Orange was – like the rest of the town – something of a disappointment.  With my usual luck, parts were closed off, due to refurbishments, but I’m not sure that even if I’d seen their full collection, I would…

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The Stage Is Set: the Roman Theatre of Orange


Roman Theatre of Orange, Théâtre antique d’Orange, Orange, France As part of my summer trip to the South of France, after over twenty years of eager anticipation, I finally made it to the Roman Theatre in Orange.  And, crushingly, I was disappointed. The theatre is widely publicised as being one of the best preserved Roman theatres of Europe, but somehow it…

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Life in 19th century Montpellier: the Hotel de Cabrières-Sabatier d’Espeyran


L’hôtel de Cabrières-Sabatier d’Espeyran, Montpellier, France Right next door to the Fabre Museum is the Hôtel de Cabrières-Sabatier d’Espeyran, a town house, which says it is dedicated to decorative arts.  That could mean anything, and in this case it means that they have 19th century rooms, and a basement area with ceramics and metalwork. The house was built in 1873/4 by…

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A Matter of Life and Death: Lives of Gladiators


Gladiators: heroes of the Colosseum, Gladiateurs, héros du Colisée, at the Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France   In my usual not-very-efficient way, I’m writing about an exhibition which has now closed.  It was, however, a very neat and well thought out exhibition at the Musée de la Romanité about gladiators in the Roman world, possibly because it’s been on a world…

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