708km (440 miles) S of Paris; 43km (27 miles) W of Avignon

Roman history pervades this sunny, relaxed city that feels more Provençal than Languedocian in its outlook and physical appearance. The city, which is in the ancient Roman Via Domitia that runs from Italy to Spain, grew to prominence during the reign of Caesar Augustus (27 B.C.-A.D. 14). Today it possesses one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world and a near-perfect Roman temple. There's a touch of Spain, too, in the celebrations surrounding the corridas (bullfights) at the arena and the flamenco festivals. And the modern world has crept in, too, in the form of some of the most innovative architecture and design seen in the past 20 years.