Orange (Provençal Occitan: Aurenja in classical norm or Aurenjo in Mistralian norm) is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. It has a primarily agricultural economy. It is located about 21 km north of Avignon.
Roman Orange was founded in 35 BC by veterans of the Second legion as Arausio (after the local Celtic water god), or Colonia Julia Firma Secundanorum Arausio in full, "the Julian colony of Arausio established by the soldiers of the second legion." The name was originally unrelated to that of the orange fruit, but was later conflated with it (see Orange (word)). A previous Celtic settlement with that name existed in the same place and a major battle, which is generally known as the Battle of Arausio, had been fought in 105 BC between two Roman armies and the Cimbri and Teutones tribes. Arausio covered an area of some 170 acres (69 ha) and was well endowed with civic monuments – as well as the theatre and arch, it had a monumental temple complex and a forum.
The town is renowned for its Roman architecture and its Roman theatre is described as the most impressive still existing in Europe. The fine Triumphal Arch of Orange is often said to date from the time of Augustus or Tiberius, but is probably much later, perhaps Severan. The arch, theatre and surroundings were listed in 1981 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The Musée (Museum) displays the biggest (7.56 x 5.90 m) cadastral Roman maps ever recovered, etched on marble. They cover the area between Orange, Nîmes and Montélimar.
In 1869, the Roman theatre was restored and has been the site of a music festival. The festival, given the name Chorégies d'Orange in 1902 has existed annually ever since, and is now famous as an international opera festival. In 1971, the "New Chorégies" were started and became an overnight, international success. Many top international opera singers have performed in the theatre, such as Barbara Hendricks, Plácido Domingo, Montserrat Caballé, Roberto Alagna, René Pape and Inva Mula. Operas such as Tosca, Aida, Faust and Carmen have been staged here, many with a sumptuous staging and also receiving outstanding acclaim.