Internationally known as the “Princes City”, the southern city of Orange has always been strategically positioned in the core of an agricultural region. Elected as a passage spot by Romans, before reaching Lyon, as can testify some illustrious remains, which are the Saint-Eutrope hill and above all, the Antique Theatre. Moreover, Orange as well became the capital of the Principality of Orange, from the Middle Ages until its annexation by the French kingdom, formalized in the Treaties of Utrecht of 1713.
By the way, this incredible Roman Theater welcomes an intensive spectacular scene, such as this brand new immersive experience in 2023.
“The most beautiful wall of my kingdom“, used to say Louis XIV.
This innovative, either sound and visual nocturnal installation is considered as unique in the World and baptized as Odyssée Sonore. Already presented last January during the CES innovation fair of Las Vegas, this family attraction combines several technologies gathered in a multi-sensorial moment. By AP
If you pass by the mythical city of Orange, don’t miss to attend L’Odyssée Sonore show, actually occurring at the Théâtre Antique d’Orange. Indeed, this Roman theater of Orange, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, is an open-air semicircular must-see antique monument, built by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago. Therefore, this place, which has been hosting counless shows for ages, is still able to welcome festivals and notably the illustrious summertime Chorégies d’Orange (photo credits: AP).
It’s not a secret that this legendary theater, which is considered as one of the most preserved antique theaters in Europe, owes its fame to its monumental stage wall.
Nowadays, you still have the possibility to visit this traditional Roman theater, organized around a cavea, where the Latin culture and language were shared, through tragedies, dancing and even acrobatics performances.
Apart from this, a virtual visit would immerse you in the heart of the construction of this antique theater, under the reign of Augustus in the 1st century and where you would have the occasion to discover its monumental decorations towards a technical device. Then, a regular visit of this fascinating theater is also possible, leading to a visit path called “From Roman genius to modern genius”, displaying how Roman know-how left its mark on our actual culture and civilisation.
As far as we know, this site, currently managed by Edeis, is still able to host around 10 000 spectators, but this new avant-gardeOdyssée Sonore production limits a capacity of only 300 happy few, attending upon booking.
Nonetheless, this technical prowess is happily a good way to revive the majestic architecture of this masterpiece through a magical scenery. Thus, in this amazing digital art installation of 45 minutes, get ready to contemplate the videomapping projection permitted by no less than 25 projectors, broadcasting those animatedimages on this theater‘s facade. Thus, this natural screen is extended over a surface of 5,000m2 on a 35 meters height.
Behind those 73 dates of this private projection, occurring from May 1st until December 2023, you are more than invited to get closer to each detail from those images, essentially with the help of a high-tech sound installation. Thanks to geolocated audio headsets, settled around a spatialized sound, each spectator is equipped with a high-resolution Focal audio headset, plugged into a tracker, which follows your steps and adapt its sounds according to your movements.
That’s why, don’t miss to walk and move around this colorful arena, while eventually entering the random “sound bubbles”, sometimes appearing on the floor for more surprises. In fact, you could hear different songs, depending on where you are located.
Therefore, you would have the opportunity to listen to different songs but also different musical styles, retracing several centuries of music history, are evoked in about forty minutes. A good occasion to come back several times, and follow different paths, in order to enjoy a new sound experience at each passage.
This sound immersion matches a wonderful visual scenery, where hundreds of remarkable images, generated from artificial intelligence, supported by the skills of the IMKI start-up from Strasbourg. Imagined under the artistic supervision of Etienne Mineur, this stage in motion would offer you the admiration of various ancestral Roman deities and muses, in front of an impressive fairy framework.
Théâtre Antique d’Orange, rue Madeleine Roch, 84100 Orange (France) / Phone : 00 33 (0)4 90 51 17 60. Entrance fees between 18 and 22 euros, better to book online.
Just in front of this Antique Theater, don’t miss to visit the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire. Embedded inside an ocher colored mansion, this astonishing museum succeeds to conceal some real evidence and testimony from Orange‘s rich history. Therefore, you could discover exceptional archaeological remains from the theatre.
That’s why you shouldn’t miss the marbled cadastral, showing the territory of Orange, and showing the organization as a Roman province, but also learning more about the medieval period of the city. Five centuries of this legendary Principalty of Orange, which used to be governed by Protestant Princes, are unveiled. Plus, a selection of paintings representing the ancient Indiennes manufacture, initiated by the Wetter brothers, back in the 18th century.
Icing on the cake, after a bucolic walk through the city center, you would easily reach the Arc De Triomphe, somehow recalling many other similar Roman monuments, spread all over Europe. Also registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1981, this Arch of Triumph was erected under Tiberius in the 1st century, and particularly served as the gateway to the previously name of the city of Orange, so to say Arausio.
Whatever you prefer contemplating its magnificent panels and friezes, that commemorated the Roman victories over the barbarian peoples, standing in front or besides it… You have the choice, plus to learn more about its history, thanks to its surrounding interactive lounge chairs.
Arc de Triomphe, Avenue de l’Arc de Triomphe, 84100 Orange (France) / Phone : 00 33 (0)4 90 34 70 88.
If you wish to stay overnight in Orange, why don’t you opt for the Grand Hôtel d’Orange? Nested in the historic city center of Orange, perfect to have a sightseeing walk around this Gallo-Roman old center, this genuine 18th century residence has preserved an original facade.
Adjoining the City Hall (dating back from the 17th century), and the famous Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth Cathedral, built in the 12th century (actually in renovation), this Signature Collection hotel was renovated in 2021, under the spell of the architect Claire Annicchiarico. This boutique hotel overlooks a charming place where you may appreciate a coffee, seating in its sunny terrace or inside the veranda. Unless you prefer having a gastronomic stop at the interior restaurant, called Aurasice?
Run by the Chef Enzo Ciccarelli, you could discover there a typical regional and even locavore cuisine, highlighting seasonal and environmental friendly products from Provence, starring vegetables from Mornas, Orange and the Alpilles, along Mediterranean fishes, plus goat cheese from the Chèvrerie de Condit, also in Mornas.
Therefore, this Grand Hôtel may be regarded as a comfortable resting place, adorned by a contemporary decoration but also paying a tribute to Roman remains, along a supposed Art Deco wink. Referring to those various pottery pieces exhibited around the walls from the front desk but also the immaculate Roman columns as night tables! Indeed, you would benefit from four different types (and sizes) of cosy and air-conditioned rooms, often colliding spacious and terra cotta tiled bathrooms, starring L’Occitane ustensils.
For your relaxation, this Best Western Grand Hôtel as well counts a wellness area, with a rare and intimate view over the old center. Accessible upon reservation, from 8am until 8pm, you could swim in this outdoor 4 x 6m swimming pool, cradled by the urban ambient atmosphere… Equipped with deckchairs, this relaxationarea also features two nearby jacuzzis, a sauna, an aromatherapy cabin and a gym. Ideal to relax your mind and body!
The day after, a continental breakfast awaits for your venue from 6am until 10am, with a set of salty dishes, along viennoiseries and homemade fruit salads and chiapuddings. Unfortunately, not many indications about the sourcing of those ingredients… If you need more culinary sensations, put your elbows over the long bar counter (open from 10am until 11pm), proposing several signature cocktails.