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Natural Regional Park les Alpilles, Bouches-du-Rhône

43°45'45.59"N 4°51'9.09"E
Published: December 2010
last updated: March 2011
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++++The visit

Picturesque town of Saint-Remy could very well serve as an open-air museum of Provence. Walking through its downtown you will easily believe in the existence of a time-machine, which will take you from our qge to the days of Nostradamus to the days of Van Gogh. We invite you to first visit the medieval Quartier du Planet, which has preserved its XVth century look. Saint-Remy is famous for its beautiful hôtels de particulier - town-houses, which belonged to noble families and have so marked the landscape of provencal towns in XVIII century. To the most famous belong hôtel Estrine, which once belonged to the princes of Monaco and now hosts the center of interpretation of Van Gogh patrimony; hôtel de Sade of XV century and hôtel d’Almeran. The cathedral of Saint-Remy - Collégiale Saint-Martin looks modern and rather awkward in this medieval environment, but inside and you will find some original XVI century frescoes and one of the most beautiful organs in Provence. But don’t limit yourself to sightseeing - visit terrific souvenir shops and art galleries and have a cup of coffee on one of the terrasses.

A little outside of downtown visit the monastery Saint-Paul-de-Mausole that dates back to X century. This monastery is nowadays famous as the soul asylum, where Vincent Van Gogh had spent a year of his life between 1889 and 1890 and created numerous painitings. The monastery is situated next to the antique mausoleum of Glanum - the monument of gallo-roman architecture built around 30-20 B.C. Mausoleum and Arc of Saint-Remy-de-Provence can be visited freely, the tour of the ruins of the roman city of Glanum, about a hundred meters from there costs 7€.


Ancient city of Glanum, which preceded Saint-Rémy, was continuously attacked by the barbarians and finally destroyed in 260 AD. Its inhabitants founded a new community, closer to the Dolomitian road, which connected Rome to its spanish provinces. From VI century the town bears the name of Rémy - the legendary bishop of Saint-Rémy abbey of Reims, who in 501 healed the daughter of Clovis - the first king of Franks.
In the age of Reneissance Saint-Rémy became one of the most sophisticated and aristocratic towns of Provence and entered into history as a birthplace of Michel de Nostredame - an apothecary and the most famous astrologer of medieval Europe.
Saint-Rémy was the most important town on the royal road from Provence to Languedoc and used this chance to become one of the economic centers of Provence.
In XIX century Saint-Rémy attracts artists, writers and musicians. Vincent Van Gogh, who spent a little more than one year in this town, has left us more than 150 paintings of Saint-Rémy and its surroundings.

++++Practical information

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is situated right in the center of a triangle formed by Arles on the west, Salon-de-Provence on the east and Avignon on the north. To get to the town use D17 and then D5 if you are coming from Arles or Salon-de-Provence or D34 if you are coming from Avignon. Once you have visited Saint-Rémy, don’t hurry to leave this beautiful triangle called Natural Park of Alpilles. Around Saint-Rémy are situated some of the most beautiful towns of Provence: Les-Baux-de-Provence, Eygalières, Fontveille and Tarascon.
Saint-Rémy is famed as the city of crafts and traditions, so don’t miss an opportunity to witness one of its fêtes populaires - folk-festivals. The most interesting are Fête de Transhumance - the moving of sheep- troups to the summer pastures that happens 24 May, Vine and Crafts Festival (23-25 July), Féria de Saint-Rémy (13-15 August) - famous bull-races on the streets of the town and Organa festival that takes place from July until September.
Farmers market - one of the biggest in Provence, takes place every Wednesday morning.

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