CIRCUIT 4 – LES ALPILLES
Located in the Alpilles mountains, the village of Les Baux-de-Provence, perched on a rocky plateau like an eagle’s nest, is classified as “one of the most beautiful villages in France”. It dominates exceptional landscapes. No less than 22 buildings in the village are classified as”Historical Monument”. The squares, fountains, art galleries, shops of all kinds, museums and restaurants with superb panoramic terraces make Les Baux-de-Provence a very touristic place all year round. Château des Baux is located at the end of the village (entrance fee). The first texts on the castle appeared in the 10th century. According to legend, the house of Les Baux is descended from King Balthazar and that is why the arms of the Lords of Les Baux include a comet with 16 silver points in reference to the star that the wise men followed. In 2007, reproductions were installed, reconstructed from medieval drawings. It is now known that the castle site was inhabited almost continuously from prehistoric times to the present day.
A few hundred metres from the village are old limestone quarries that were first exploited in the 19th century and were abandoned in 1935 in favour of steel and concrete (more economical). In 1959 the quarry found a new function thanks to the visionary genius of Jean Cocteau who, amazed by the beauty of the place, decided to make a movie”The Testament of Orpheus”. The audiovisual shows began in 1977 because the huge rock walls (7000m2) form as many supports for sounds and lights. In 2012 the place was named”Quarry of Light”. Since then, there have been immersive digital and sound exhibitions by the greatest painters in history (Chagall, Picasso, Van Gogh, Klimt, Monet, Renoir, Michelangelo etc.).
A great show, a must see! (paying entrance)
A few kilometers from Les Baux-de-Provence, the small town of Saint Rémy de Provence where Nostradamus was born and where Van Gogh stayed, will reveal all its charms with its architecture, its numerous art galleries, its beautiful shops, its local products, luxury hotels, gastronomic and traditional restaurants and small squares decorated with fountains. Many celebrities have a pied-à-terre in this region which concentrates all the charm of living in Provence. Large market on Wednesday mornings.
Near the city, you’ll see the great archaeological site of Glanum, whose excavations began in 1921. The site was already inhabited by indigenous populations from the 6th century BC, then colonized by Rome from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD. In the 260s the barbaric invasions destroyed the city, the survivors founded 1 km away, another city which will take the name of St Rémy de Provence (paying entrance).