Visit Baux-de-Provence (Provence, France)
Baux de Provence is a village 20 km south of Avignon in Provence and said to be the most visited village in France (apparently 2 million visitors a year crowd on to the streets of Baux each year). It is listed as a 'most beautiful villages of France'.
The village has a long and colourful history, dating back some 8000 years. It was the scene of many troubles during the Middle Ages, resulting at one stage with Cardinal Richelieu ordering that the castle be demolished as a punishment for harbouring protestant insurgents.
As well as the village itself a major highlight of Baux-de-Provence is its great location - nestling in the Alpilles mountains it has great views across the plains that stretch to the south, and on to the Mediterranean beyond, as well as the attractive rocky landscape of the alpilles themselves. It is a typical 'Provence perched village' and the drive up to the village is also very scenic.
Parking is just outside the northern edge of Baux-de-Provence, with the tourist office also here just next to the entrance.
The village that we now see largely dates from the 15th-16th centuries. As you explore the steep cobbled streets lead you through the village passed medieval stone houses, many with ancient staircases or interesting architectural features, onwards and upwards until you reach the entrance to the castle.
There is plenty to see in the village itself including the parts of the ramparts that are still in place, with the Porte d'Eyguieres being one of the original entrances into the town. Other interesting monuments include the 12th century Church of Saint-Vincent, the Hotel de Porcelet on Place Francois de Herain and the Hotel de Manville (now the mairie at the southern end of the Grand Rue) - these two 'Hotels' are both impressive 16th century townhouses.
En route through the pedestrianised village you also pass a couple of atractive viewpoints - the best is perhaps the one from the Place Saint-Vincent next to the Penitents Chapel.
You also pass a great deal of cafes and gift shops, which have taken over Les Baux-de-Provence (like some other Provencal villages) to the extent that it is quite hard to get a feeling for what the village was like before it became a tourist attraction.
The ruined castle - the Chateau of Baux-de-Provence - sits on top of a rocky outcrop above the village, and is now heavily promoted as one of the great monuments of Provence. You can tour the ruins of the castle, then relax and enjoy the views that stretch as far as the Mediterranean. There is also a series of recreations of medieval weapons and siege machines that is popular with children.
After exploring the village and castle follow the road that leaves Baux-de-Provence from the north-east towards Maillane to reach the Carrieres de Lumiere and another stunning viewpoint across the valley. The Carrieres de Lumiere are an ancient quarry that is now used for regular exhibitions with artworks projected against the quarry walls. When we visited it was being used for an exhibition of Van Gogh paintings, and was a very memorable visit.
Note: Les Baux-de-Provence has no native industry and only about 20 residents (it was once home to several thousand people), but because it is a very popular tourist stop, especially during the summer, if possible try and visit early morning, evening or out of season to see the village at its magnificent best.
Photos of Baux-de-Provence
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Tourist classifications for Baux-de-Provence
Baux-de-Provence is classified as a one of the most beautiful village in France (plus beau villages)
Address: Baux-de-Provence, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Arles, Bouches-du-Rhone, Provence, 13520 || GPS: latitude 43.743, longitude 4.7948
Map of Baux-de-Provence & places nearby
Highlights close by
See lots more places to visit nearby and a more detailed map at places near Baux-de-Provence.
See Provence and Bouches-du-Rhone (the region and department for Baux-de-Provence) for more travel ideas...
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Baux-de-Provence, France
- Alpilles - regional natural parc (3km)
- Glanum - national monument (6km)
- Abbaye Notre Dame de Montmajour (Arles) - religious monument (11km)
- Montmajour Abbey - national monument (11km)
- Jardin aquatique « Aux fleurs de l'eau - remarkable garden (12km)
- Jardin de l'Alchimiste - remarkable garden (13km)
- Beaucaire - recommended detour (14km)
- Arles - secteur sauvegarde (15km)
- Arles église St Honorat (monuments on French pilgrim routes) - heritage site (15km)
- Roman Arles - heritage site (15km)
The French version of this page is at Baux-de-Provence (Francais)