Gayle PadgettTasteWines and Spirits of Provence

Beyond Vin at the Saint Rémy de Provence Fête du Vin

Swirl-sniff-see-sip. And, sigh. There was a lot of that going on last Friday night in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence—it was the opening of the annual Fête du Vin.

Saint Remy de Provence Fête du Vin

Fête du Vin – More than Wine

The bussed-in tourists had left, leaving lucky locals and overnight visitors all to themselves to spend a leisurely evening wine booth-hopping on Place Plessier in front of the Hôtel de Ville. Minus the high season daytime crowds, by apéro time, there was no jostling or waddling required to make your way to a dégustation (tasting table). Folks simply sidled up to the “bar” of choice and indicated their wine of choice. Down every aisle, the wine tasting ritual played out. Glasses were clinked, rotated in a circle, raised to the light, tilted to the nose and finally pressed to the lips. Aaah.

Saint Remy de Provence Fête du Vin Yummy Italian specialties Saint Remy de Provence Fête du Vin Fresh Italian pasta

But the evening was not only for “grape juice” devotees. There were plenty of other delightful discoveries at the Fête du Vin. The delectable treats included just-picked apricots, local honey, spicy saucissons (sausages), and fresh Italian pasta. Also on offer were specialty gifts, along with garden and home enhancers: mini olive trees in terracotta pots, bundles of fragrant lavender, flower bulbs, custom-made cuddly toys and handcrafted knives, perfect for elegantly slicing the yummy goodies too irresistible to leave behind.

Saint Remy de Provence Fête du Vin Saint Remy de Provence Fête du Vin Saint Remy de Provence Fête du Vin Saint Remy de Provence Fête du Vin

Gayle Padgett Smith is an American expat who lives in Saint Remy de Provence with her husband. After twenty-some-odd years of “flirting” with Provence during their holidays, they decided to retire in the south. It was then that the adventure began, and where she finished her first book Passion for Provence: 22 Keys to La Belle Vie.

Saint Remy Travel Tips

St Remy’s market day is Wednesday, from 8:30h until about 13h. The old streets and central parking lot (by the church) overflow with stands of everything imaginable. You can find fresh produce, seasonal fruit, local goat cheese and varieties that have travelled further afield. There are stalls with tempting loaves of bread, more varieties of olives than you thought imaginable, wines (local and otherwise), panise (regional specialty made with chickpea flour), pasta and much more.

The Glanum archaeological site is a short walk from the core of Saint Remy. The Romans were the last inhabitants of this fortified site, a Celtic-Ligurian settlement and subsequently occupied by the Greeks. Built over three phases, Glanum is a fascinating chance to step back in time.

Initially, a 12th-century Augustinian priory – Saint-Paul-de-Mausole – is the asylum where Vincent Van Gogh spent a year (1889-1890) and produced many of his most famous works.

Tourist Office
Place Jean Jaurès
13210 Saint-Rémy de Provence
Tel: +33 (0)4 90 92 05 22

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Gayle Padgett

Gayle Padgett

Gayle Smith Padgett, a UCLA graduate, has two master’s degress, neither in French. After studying in Mexico and South America, she worked as a language specialist in California and Virginia and later as a management analyst and US government liaison in Heidelberg, Germany. In 2011, she and her husband moved to Provence where they continue to crack French culture codes.

Discover more about Gayle's backstory and writing on her website - and read her book Passion for Provence: 22 Keys to La Belle Vie.

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