Saint-Remy-de-Provence, Provence: tourism & sightseeing
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Saint-Remy-de-Provence is found at the western edge of the Provence region, where it is the capital of the Alpilles - the hills that dominate this section of the countryside of France.
It is one of the oldest towns in France: Saint-Remy-de-Provence was founded by the Celts more than 2500 years ago and developed by both the Greeks and the Romans. It is in an attractive setting in the valleys of the Alpilles, and is a lovely town to explore.
Enter the town through one of the imposing gateways, the Porte Saint Paul or the Port du Trou - part of the original fortifications of the town - to explore the pretty tree-lined central square, and the surrounding streets containing many lovely old town houses and little features that will catch your eye.
The town is very attractive and everything a Provencal town should be with narrow streets, sleepy squares, fountains and boulevards often shaded by centuries old plane trees. The shops here are quite good too with lots of small boutiques and art galleries and plenty of bars and restaurants to make your stay a pleasant one.
Apart from the attractions of the town itself, there are two reasons why people visit St-Remy-de-Provence.
The first is the town's association with Van Gogh. The painter spent the last year of his life at the asylum in the town, where among others he painted the famous 'self portrait with bandaged ear'. Whilst living in Saint Remy de Provence Van Gogh painted more than 150 paintings including many of those for which he is most famous.
There is now a guided walk around the town where you can see the locations of 21 of Van Gogh's paintings, each point marked by a reproduction of the original painting. It is also possible to visit the asylum and monastery at Saint Paul de Mausole where Van Gogh came for treatment after cutting off part of his ear. There is a very pretty cloister within the monastery and also a reproduction of Van Gogh's bedroom. Both the walk and the asylum are a very moving experience if like me you are an enthusiast of the life and paintings of this great artist.
Glanum archaeological site
The second big attraction at St Remy-de-Provence is the archaeological site at Glanum, next to the town. The extensive Roman ruins at Glanum have been excavated and now provide a fascinating insight into life for the Romans 2000 years ago (Glanum is a listed French national Monument).
Glanum in fact predates the Romans by several centuries, but most of what we see comes from the Roman period. Among the highlights are the triumphal arch (Arc de triomphe) and a very well preserved cenotaph featuring elaborate carvings. Less remains of the other buildings of Glanum, but there is sufficient to understand the layout of the original town.
The Hotel de Sade in the centre of St Remy de Provence, has been turned into an archaeological museum and contains finds from the ruins of Glanum.
Saint Remy de Provence is also the birth place of Nostradamus and you can see his house in the town and there is an attractive fountain tucked away on the corner between Rue Nostradamus and Rue Carnot which has a bust of Nostradamus decorating it.
Museums in Saint-Remy-de-Provence
There is a museum, The Musée des Alpilles housed in a former Renaissance house, the Hotel Mistral de Mondragon. The house has an excellent inside courtyard. Many Provencal traditions are displayed in the museum.
Another museum, the Musée Estrine, housed in an elegant 18th century house is dedicated to Van Gogh. Unfortunately there are none of his paintings on exhibit here but there are life-sized photos of them and a slide show of his work.
Market day is Wednesday in St Remy-de-Provence.
There is a great deal to enjoy in the region, especially the beautiful landscapes. One of our favourite villages in France is also just a short distance south-west of Saint-Remy-de-Provence at Les Baux-de-Provence while the famous historic town of Avignon is to the north.
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Map of Saint-Remy-de-Provence and places to visit
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Address: Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Arles, Bouches-du-Rhone, Provence, 13210, France || GPS: latitude 43.79, longitude 4.8325
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Glanum: national monument
- Baux-de-Provence: most beautiful village (6km)
- Alpilles: regional natural parc (8km)
- Jardin aquatique « Aux fleurs de l'eau: remarkable garden (8km)
- Jardin de l'Alchimiste: remarkable garden (10km)
- Beaucaire: recommended detour (15km)
- Abbaye Notre Dame de Montmajour (Arles): religious monument (17km)
- Montmajour Abbey: national monument (17km)
- Avignon: secteur sauvegarde (17km)
- Avignon Centre: heritage site (18km)
- Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Repos de Montfavet (Avignon): religious monument (18km)
- Villeneuve-les-Avignon: secteur sauvegarde (19km)
The French version of this page is at Saint-Remy-de-Provence (Francais)