The cathedral of Vaison was built on the ruins of a Roman temple, the remains of which can be seen outside the chevet. More than one church has existed on this site; a 6th-century basilica was destroyed by Frankish invaders.
The present building dates primarily from the 11th and 12th centuries. After a dispute with the Count of Toulouse in the late 12th century, the medieval city of Vaison was mostly abandoned for the new town. Today, little remains of the extensive medieval city except for the cathedral.
The apse is the most interesting aspect of the interior. Behind a simple stone altar, on a lower level than the nave, is the medieval bishop's throne and three semicircular benches for the canons. In front of the throne is an old sarcophagus containing the relics of St. Quenin (d. 578). The apse also contains several tomb niches of various styles and some reliquaries and statues.
The cloister, dating primarily from the mid-12th century, is a peaceful space with a lush central garden. The canons' buildings, such as the refectory and dormitory, have disappeared and many of the capitals were restored in the 19th century, but the cloister retains its medieval appearance and atmosphere. Most of the capitals are carved with foliage and vines, but some have charming creatures and human faces.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.