At the Roman Theatre of Orange, visitors can now extend the traditional tour of this ancient monument with a seven-minute Virtual Reality experience that immerses them in its two thousand years of history. This is a real bonus, while the inner façade of its famous stage wall is temporarily undergoing essential renovation works.
The Roman Theatre of Orange has been listed a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, and is the only ancient theatre in Europe to have retained its entire stage wall. This masterpiece of Roman architecture has survived two millennia of upheaval since the city of Arausio was founded in 36 BCE. The foundation of the city and the construction of the theatre are now presented as an immersive experience following a visit to the Theatre. Visitors step inside a specially equipped room to put on VR headsets and be transported back to the first century BCE.
As part of a major programme of renovations to the building, the inside of the stage wall is undergoing restoration from September 2018 to late April 2019 (depending on how fast work progresses) so it is partly covered by scaffoldings during this time. Visitors are sure to welcome the new VR technology, that will to some degree make up for this temporary loss.
The Museum of Art and History of Orange is also not to be missed. Set in a 17th-century townhouse opposite the Theatre, it is included in the entrance fee. The museum’s galleries were completely refurbished two years ago, and contain some real treasures. Exhibits recount the history of the city of Orange, illustrated by the Princes of Orange-Nassau, fragments of three Roman land registries engraved on marble slabs in the first century CE, the Centaur mosaic – recently restored in the workshops at the Musée de l’Arles Antique – and objects and artefacts from Roman times. There are huge paintings too, bearing witness to the life of the “Indian” cotton mills in the late 18th century; collections of paintings and engravings from the 19th century; and the splendid townhouse’s own rooms restored to their former glory. This gem of a museum is too often overlooked in favour of its illustrious neighbour.
Tour with audioguide available in 10 languages*, followed by a virtual reality film lasting 7 minutes.
Public rate with audioguide Theater + Museum: full price € 9,50
Reduced price: € 7.50
Family Offer € 30
Virtual visit supplement: € 5
Group rate and tour operator: € 7.50 with the audioguide (+ € 5 for the virtual tour)
Conference tour with guide (up to 45 people, French or English): 156 € on weekdays / 192 € on Sundays / 252 € on public holidays
30 helmets are available, with slots reserved for groups.
Open 7/7 all year long:
January, February, November, December: 9:30 – 16:30
March, October: 9:30 – 17:30 April,
May, September: 9am – 6pm
June, July, August: 9am – 9pm
Children: Free for under-7s; games booklet available for children aged 7 – 12 to learn in a fun way (French-British)
* french, british, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Chinese and Russian.
Roman Theatre of Orange & Art and History Museum
Rue Madeleine Roch, 84100 Orange
Photos © Art Graphique et Patrimoine, Christophe Mouton, Valérie Gillet