St Remy de Provence

St Remy is definitely one of my favourite places in Provence, if not my number one destination. The town is pretty and picturesque, and the old Gallo-Roman interior is circled by the remnants of the circular 14th-century wall and the protective circle of buildings. The centre has very attractive squares, ancient fountains, medieval buildings and cobblestone streets.

Saint Remy has a fabulous ambiance, with a good selection of restaurants and hotels for the traveller – whether you’re on a day trip or decide to stay for a few days. The old town is full of shops of all kinds, especially for Provençal items. And Wednesday is market day (possibly the best market in Provence, in my opinion) with the market spreading across parking areas and squares around the northern and western parts of the Boulevards ringing the old town. Parking can be quite a challenge on Wednesday mornings, and I recommend that you park on a side street away from the centre – although it may be a bit of a walk, you’ll save time in the long run!

Located on the plains at the northern edge of the Alpilles, St Remy is 20 km south of Avignon. This is where Van Gogh stayed in the St Paul Asylum (renamed Clinique Van Gogh now) and painted a number of works (including Starry Night). St Remy is also where the famous seer Nostradamus was born.

When you’re planning your Provence itinerary, I’d suggest that St Remy certainly merits two or three days of your time. Apart from soaking up the atmosphere and wandering the historic streets of the town and doing a bit of shopping (make sure you’re there for Wednesday’s market), you can visit the ancient town of Glanum on the outskirts. Also nearby are the St Paul de Mausole monastery and the Carrieres de Lumieres – a cathedral-like quarry that has been transformed into a theatre where projectors screen paintings from the great European masters – an amazing experience. St Remy is also a good base for visiting Avignon and Les Baux. And of course you could simply driving around the area drinking in the spectacular scenery of the surrounding countryside.

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