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cs / en
PROVENCE
France

PROVENCE

  • 5 days
  • couples
  • spring, summer, fall

When you say Provence, probably the first thing that comes to mind is lavender. But consider exploring this region in spring or autumn, otherwise you will often be crowded by other tourists. We went on this trip in late March, and it was great. Five days of packed programme await you. You will get to know the beautiful ancient villages and towns, take a peek into the local nature and taste the local gastronomy. If you're craving the scent and colour of lavender, you'll have to travel here in late June and early July, but be prepared to be in the company of many other travellers everywhere at all times. In contrast, in the off-season you can explore all the parts and corners of the region mostly on your own, only ocassionally running into tourists.

4.8 / 5 User reviews
4
Day

Les Baux-de-Provence and Arles

The birthplace of Nostradamus. Remains of a Gaulish town at the Site Archéologique de Glanum. The magnificent projection at Carrières de Lumières. The medieval village of Les Baux-de-Provence and a tour of Arles.

After breakfast, pack your bags and head out. First, a short stop in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (route). Wander the streets of the old town and see the Maison de Nostradamus, the birthplace of the famous French physician and prophet (if you can call it that). Drive just a short distance to L'arc municipal, where there is a car park (route). This is the starting point to the Site Archéologique de Glanum. This Gaulish town has been thriving here since the 2nd century BC. It's a great place and you can easily spend 1.5 hours here.

The next crossing takes you to the Vue Sur Les Baux lookout (route). From here there's a wonderful view of Château des Baux-de-Provence. When you've had enough of the view, drive down to the car park at Carrières de Lumières. There are several car parks here, but in high season it may be difficult to find a spot. You can buy tickets at the door, or feel free to buy them online on their website. I really recommend the tour. The space is absolutely breath-taking, and the projections are really fantastic! The schedule changes occasionally, but you can always find up-to-date information on their website. Buy a ticket that includes entry to the castle as well. Head there right after the Carrières de Lumières tour, it's an easy walk of about 10 minutes. Les Baux-de-Provence is an ancient village with the ruins of a large castle. The streets are charming, although everything is geared to the tourist trade. The place was inhabited as early as the 3rd century BC. The original castle stood here as early as 900AD. Not much remains of the castle now, but the towers offer beautiful views of the surrounding area, and they have some great siege weapons on display.

You can have lunch at one of several local restaurants. We tried pretty much the first restaurant after entering the village, Hostellerie de la Reine-Jeanne, and it was fine. A little pricey, but the food was good and the service incredibly friendly.

When you've seen everything continue with another short crossing to Abbaye de Montmajour (route). Be sure to take a tour of this abandoned abbey. The place has a strange mysterious atmosphere. Climb to the top of the tower, the view is definitely worth the effort. The town of Arles is then just a short drive away (route). The historic centre is off-limits for cars, but there are plenty of parking spots and parking houses around the perimeter – always check with your accommodation provider where to park.

We stayed at the Holiday in Arles – Appartement du Théâtre Antique and it was very good. Twenty minutes before we arrived, we called the owner and arranged to meet in town. We met and drove together by car to the apartment. We then drove the car together to a nearby parking house. The accommodation provided the parking for free. The apartment was well equipped. The location couldn't have been better – right in the middle of the historic centre. Great WiFi connection. The owner was able to advise us on the programme for the evening and the next day.

You won't have much time for sightseeing in Arles, but be sure to go see a very special building – the Luma gallery by the famous architect Frank Gehry. The Luma Tower has 12 floors and is unmissable. American architect Frank Gehry was inspired by local Roman architecture, the nearby mountains, and Vincent van Gogh's painting Starry Night when designing the structure. An indoor slide leads down from the top floor to the bottom. From the windows of your apartment, you can see the Roman Theatre of Arles and just around the corner is the two-story Roman Arles Amphitheatre. As you walk through the city, check out the beautiful basilica of Cathédrale Saint-Trophime.

For dinner, there are many restaurants to choose from. We tried La Croisée des Saveurs. Excellent food, very friendly service, reasonable prices.

ATTENTION – Even on this day there is a lot of items on the programme. If you want to manage everything, start really early. 

What will you visit?

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Morning

Maison de Nostradamus

Actually, it's a pretty run-down little house in a tucked-away alley. You can't go inside, and you can't see anything. But Nostradamus was born here, so maybe if you're in town, stop by.

0,1-0,1 hours

Site Archéologique de Glanum

This Gallic city, influenced by Greek and later Roman cultures, dates back to the 2nd century BC. Archaeological work has been going on here for 100 years. The site is beautifully set in the landscape.

200-299
1-2 hours
  • Av. Vincent Van Gogh, 13210 Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Francie
    43.7741586N, 4.8323817E
  • limited
  • +33490922379
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  • P
    yes

Vue Sur Les Baux

Great view of the Château des Baux-de-Provence. There is a small gravel car park just after the right-hand bend heading downhill. The view is across the road from the cliff.

0,15-0,3 hours
Afternoon

Carrières de Lumières

An impressive area of a former quarry. In 2012, under the name "Les Carrières des Lumières", Culturespaces created a unique and innovative digital art centre. Les Carrières des Lumières opened in March with the exhibition "Gauguin, Van Gogh: Painters in Colour", directed by Gianfranco Iannuzzi, Renato Gatto and Massimiliano Siccardi. The place is well visited, you'll probably have trouble finding a free parking space, but hang in there, it's worth it. If you're coming here in the summer season, you'd better buy your tickets online well in advance.

300-499
1-1,5 hours

Les Baux-de-Provence

An ancient village on a rocky outcrop with the ruins of a large castle. The village has been ranked one of the most beautiful in France. It's truly magical. It's not very big, so you can walk through all the twisting streets. It's all marked by mass tourism, of course, but it still looks great. Go all the way up to the castle, the view is worth it.

Hostellerie de la Reine-Jeanne

It's almost the first restaurant you see when you enter the village of Les Baux-de-Provence from Carrières de Lumières. You'll find it on your right. They have a nice outdoor seating area. The staff was very nice, the food was good, just the prices were a bit higher, but that's to be expected in this location.

0,75-1,5 hours

Château des Baux-de-Provence

The remains of a large, fortified castle built in the 10th century. It must have been a magnificent castle. The place is great. There are several siege weapons on display in the castle grounds. The views from the remains of the towers are magnificent. If you don't buy tickets to the castle at least walk through the village up to the castle, it's worth it. The ticket is bought combined with Carrières de Lumières from where you can easily walk here.

101-199
0,75-1,2 hours

Abbaye de Montmajour

A monumental building, or at least its remains. Originally there was a fortified Benedictine monastery. There are graves from the 11th to the 14th century carved into the rock. Van Gogh is also closely associated with the site and produced several of his works here.

101-199
0,75-1,5 hours

Arles

First a Greek and then a Roman colony. The city of Arles has a colourful history. Perhaps the most famous ancient monument is the Arènes d'Arles, a 1st century amphitheatre with a capacity for up to 21,000 spectators. Vincent van Gogh also stayed in the city, and you will find several references to his stay here. The modern architecture is also very interesting – especially the Luma Tower, designed by the famous American architect Frank Gehry.

Holiday in Arles -Appartement du Théâtre Antique

They offer for rent 3 apartments. Great accommodation right in the historic centre. We had a view of the Roman theatre from our bedroom window. Included parking in the garage within walking distance (about 5 minutes). The apartments are fully equipped, clean and spacious. The owners are very nice. 20 minutes before our arrival we just called and arranged a meeting point, then the owner took us up to the apartment, there we unloaded our luggage and together drove the car to the garage.

Luma

The cultural complex is dominated by the LUMA tower, designed by the world-famous American architect Frank Gehry. The tower has 12 floors, and the architecture is impressive. Don't miss the indoor slide from the top to the ground floor. Book your visit in advance through their website.

0,5-2 hours

Arles Amphitheatre

The building from 90 AD is monumental. The auditorium can hold up to 20,000 spectators. Today, various cultural events are held here, as well as bullfights. The stands used to be one floor higher.

101-199
0,75-1,5 hours
Evening

Cathédrale Saint-Trophime

The Romanesque-style Basilica dates back to the middle of the 12th century. It has a beautifully decorated entrance from the Square of the Republic. The interior decoration is also very nice.

0,25-0,75 hours

La Croisée des Saveurs

Nice restaurant with very good food at reasonable prices. Good service. Great dessert.

1-2 hours

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