Saint Remy de Provence – Rhône Valley
Saint Remy de Provence is located in the Rhône Valley, in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône.
Saint Remy de Provence is renowned for its architectural, cultural and archaeological heritage and its vineyards.
Its stunning landscapes were also a major source of inspiration to Vincent van Gogh.
The area indeed enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate that guarantees 300 days of sunshine a year!
There is of course the Mistral, the fierce wind that sweeps down the Rhône Valley and ends in the warm waters of the Mediterranean.
Locals love their Mistral and see it as a way of cooling down the summer temperatures!
The rock carvings adorning the walls of the nearby Abri Otello and Grotte Baldouin show that men settled there from the Neolithic to the Iron Age.
The climate might have been different then, but the location was already exceptional!
They therefore returned for good in the 6th century BC.
They were farmers and herders, but they also exploited the surrounding limestone quarries.
The foundation of the Greek colony of Arles some 2500 years ago, attracted local populations.
The Alpilles remained deserted for another few generations, until the Romans colonised the region and built their walled villages on Mont Gaussier.
The Alpilles, however, remained sparsely populated for centuries.
Saint Remy de Provence and its region are today considered the heart of Provence, a thriving tourist area that today attracts people from all around the world.
The village is less than 2kms from Mont Gaussier and the archaeological site of Glanum, 10kms from Les Baux de Provence and Les Carrières de Lumière (quarries), 25kms from Arles and 20kms from Avignon!
Saint Remy de Provence and the memory of Van Gogh
The village adopted its name Saint Remy during the 8th century.
It indeed became the property of the Abbey of St. Remi de Reims.
However, the abbey of Saint-André-de-Villeneuve-lès-Avignon also owned several churches, chapels, hostels and monasteries in its vicinity.
Among these estates was the Monastery of Saint-Paul de Mausole.
This establishment will later become an asylum.
This was where Vincent Van Gogh admitted himself as a patient in 1889/90.
He indeed felt unwell and couldn’t find inspiration nor paint.
In 1988, the monastery served as setting for the filming of Camille Claudel.
Saint Remy de Provence – Architectural heritage
Strolling through Saint Remy de Provence you’ll also come across many beautiful mansions, built over the centuries and now classified Historical Monuments.
1- The Fontaine Nostradamus was named after the physician, apothecary and astrologer, Michel de Nostredame.
His grand-father, Jean de Saint-Remy lived there.
2- Saint-Jacques Hospital was built about 1646 under the patronage of Santiago de Compostela.
A shell, the emblem of Compostela, still adorns its entrance door.
3- The Princes of Monaco built the Hôtel Estrine in 1748 and Albert of Monaco still holds the title of Lord of Saint-Remy.
The mansion now houses the Estrine Museum which exhibits modern and contemporary paintings.
It was granted the ‘patrimoine vivant – living heritage’ award in 1989.
4- The 15th/16th centuries Hôtel de Sade is another remarkable residence.
It houses the Archeological Museum and receives all the artefacts excavated from the nearby Glanum.
5- The 17th century Hôtel Lagoy – Lubières is home to La Maison de l’Amandier.
Olives groves, vineyards and feria
The region is also known for its olive groves and vineyards.
They produce the Huile d’Olive de la Vallée des Baux de Provence, which was granted an AOC in 1997.
Les Côteaux des Baux en Provence produce red and rosé wines that were granted an AOC in 1995.
If you travel to the north of the Bouches-du-Rhône, you’ll discover the vineyards that produce the Vin des Pays des Alpilles.
You can also attend the Fête du Vin et de l’Artisanat (wine and crafts fair) that takes place in Saint Remy de Provence on the last weekend of July.
Looking for an ‘off the beaten tracks’ celebration?
You’ll enjoy the Transhumance, when the livestock is led to the summer pastures on Pentecost Monday.
Saint Remy de Provence is also renowned for its festivals.
The Feria takes place mid August, the Carnival on Spring equinox, and of course its international Jazz Festival that attracts great international artists.
Last but not least, don’t forget a trip to Saint Remy de Provence market on Wednesdays!
Department of Bouches-du-Rhône
Coordinates: Lat 43.788652 – Long 4.831343