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9 Fun Things To Do In St Rémy de Provence

St Rémy de Provence is one of the most charming towns in Provence. Nestled at the foot of the Alpilles Mountains and surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, it’s a great place to spend a few days. Here are some fun things you can do while you’re there.

Walk in the Footsteps of Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh spent a year in St-Rémy, receiving care at the Saint Paul Monastery (Saint-Paul de Mausole) and painting masterpieces like Starry Night. You can visit his old room, which is kept just as it was when he stayed there. Be sure to ask the Tourist Office for information on walks around St-Rémy that show you places that Van Gogh painted.

Gabriël Sterk Van Gogh Statue St Remy

May 1889 Vincent Van Gogh

Have Your Mind Blown

Just outside of St-Rémy is the Carrières de Lumières, an indoor quarry that’s been turned into the world’s best sound and light show. Described as “an immersive art experience,” it’s hundreds of images of a great artist’s works projected onto the walls and floors of several gigantic rooms, all coordinated with beautiful music. It’s one of the most popular attractions in Provence and you have to see it to believe it.

Carrieres de Lumieres Les Baux 2018 Carrieres de Lumieres Les Baux

Shop Till You Drop

Provence is famous for its outdoor markets and the very best one may be in St-Rémy. Held every Wednesday morning, it fills the center of town as well as some of the side streets, plus the ring road that circles the old town. Full of delicious foods, lavender, colorful fabrics and more, it’s a great place to browse, sniff, taste, and buy a few souvenirs. And there’s no better place to stock up for a picnic.

Stand in Awe of the Romans

Glanum was once an important city in the Roman empire and its well-preserved remains sit at the southern entrance to St-Rémy. Wander through them and imagine what it was like back in Julius Caesar’s day. Just next to Glanum are a Roman mausoleum and the oldest triumphal arch in France, both big and impressive.

Visiting Glanum Alpilles Family Friendly

Site archéologique de Glanum (website)
Avenue Vincent Van Gogh
13210 Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
Tel: +33 (0)4 90 92 23 79

Sip Some Wine and Think of Love

Just outside of town is an outstanding winery, Château Romanin, with a beautiful tasting room. The winery’s design is based on that of the original chateau, the ruins of which you can see nearby. In the Middle Ages, this chateau was the seat of an important Court of Love, where noble ladies ruled on questions of gallantry. Think about that as you sip your wine—could knights be convicted for using the wrong fork?

View @chateauromanin #WinesofProvence #LesBauxdeProvence Herve FABRE

Château Romanin Wine Alpilles

Up, Up and Away

On your way to Château Romanin you’ll pass the Aérodrome de Romanin, a small airfield where you can see gliders take off and land. Stop and watch them for a few minutes—the planes are shot into the air with a kind of giant slingshot, and then they soar up and over the Alpilles. If you’re looking for a little excitement, you can go for a ride in one of these gliders yourself, piloted by a local expert.

Gliding Aéroclub des Alpilles

Aéroclub de Saint-Rémy les Alpilles (website)
Chemin de Romanin
13210 Saint-Rémy de Provence

Talk to the Animals

St-Rémy is famous for its festivals, many of which involve livestock (it’s an agricultural region, after all.) The transhumance, usually held in late May, celebrates the time when sheep are taken to higher pastures for the summer. Thousands of them are marched on the ring road, along with shepherds, herding dogs and the occasional goat.

Family-Friendly Holidays Provence Transhumance

A few weeks later is the festival honoring St. Eloi, where a statue of the saint is paraded through town, followed by musicians, citizens in traditional outfits, and dozens of colorfully decorated horses (St. Eloi is the patron saint of horses.)

Enjoy the Tight White Pants

Course camarguaise is a kind of Provençal bullfighting, but unlike the Spanish variety, the bulls here don’t get hurt. Instead, they have ribbons and other doodads attached to their horns and the rasateurs, the brave and remarkably fit young men, have to run up and try to take them off. It’s fun and exciting and the traditional rasateur outfit includes tight white pants—very popular with the ladies.

Cowboy Culture Bulls Rasateurs Course Camarguaise Provence @PerfectlyProvence

Stretch Your Legs

Ready for a little exercise? Try the hike up to the top of La Caume. If you want a challenge you can start from St-Rémy, but an easier route is to begin partway up the Alpilles themselves, at the parking lot along the road to Maussane-les-Alpilles. You’ll get spectacular views on your hike—north to Avignon and beyond and south all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. If it’s too hot to be up in the mountains, enjoy a shady walk instead, along one of St-Rémy’s canals.

Hike Canals St Remy Walks Canals @Keith_vansickle

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Keith Van Sickle

Keith Van Sickle

Keith is a technology industry veteran and lifelong traveler who got his first taste of overseas life while studying in England during college. But it was the expat assignment to Switzerland that made him really fall in love with Europe.

After returning to California, he and his wife Val dreamed of living abroad again but were unable to find another expat gig. So they decided to invent their own. Now they split their time between Silicon Valley and St-Rémy-de-Provence, delving ever deeper into what makes France so endlessly fascinating.

Keith is the author of One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Provence, available from Amazon.

You can see all of Keith’s blog posts at Life in Provence.

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