When You Visit Maussane-les-Alpilles
My wife and I live part of the year in St-Rémy-de-Provence, and just south of us lies the charming village of Maussane-les-Alpilles. It sits at the foot of the Alpilles Mountains, near the famous château of Les Baux-de-Provence. The area is rich with olive groves and Maussane makes a nice starting point for bike rides, like this route to Eygalières.
We love to hang out in Maussane’s big central square, Place Joseph Laugier, right next to the church. It’s filled with tables from the surrounding cafés and restaurants, set around the central fountain. The square is the perfect place for a relaxing meal or a drink, and you’ll see people enjoying it at just about any hour of the day.
Maussane has a nice outdoor market on Thursday mornings, under shady plane trees, so try to go on that day if you can.
An interesting side trip is to explore the Castillon Towers, dilapidated medieval fortifications that you can walk around. They used to protect the southern flank of the Alpilles and are about two miles south of town—put Castillon Towers, Paradou, France into Google Maps to find them.
Shopping in Maussane
For prepared Provençal food products, like tapenade and caviar d’aubergine, maybe the best shop in Provence is the Jean Martin boutique at 9 rue Charloun Rieu. It’s a five-minute walk from the main square. You can get anything you need for an aperitif, plus there are soups, sauces, main dishes, you name it. You can also join a cooking class if you are feeling ambitious.
Just a few steps further down the street is Moulin Jean-Marie Cornille, the place for olive oil. Cornille is one of the region’s top producers and you can taste to your heart’s content, then buy whatever you like.
If you are looking to buy wine, there is a shop in town with an excellent selection, Le Caviste de Maussane. You can taste wines and get knowledgeable advice in just about any language you want because the owner speaks five of them (go ahead, try out your Swedish.)
Eating in Maussane
Just off the square is one of our favourite restaurants in Provence, Le Clos Saint-Roch. The food is delicious and the prices are reasonable—the chef has won awards for “best value” restaurant. I love the outdoor courtyard on a warm day, and the inside is cosy. The late French singing legend Charles Aznavour, who lived nearby, used to eat here frequently.
Another excellent restaurant, L’Oustaloun. You can eat outside on the square, or inside under the arched stone ceiling of what was once a 16th-century abbey. The menu is compact but excellent, with an emphasis on traditional Provençal dishes. The restaurant is attached to a small hotel if you are looking for a place to stay.
Not far from the square is La Fleur de Thym, at 15 Avenue de la Vallée des Baux. It’s a friendly place and reasonably priced and we’ve always enjoyed excellent meals there.
For a quick, simple meal with tables on the square, we like La Piazza del Gusto. Its menu is mostly pizza and pasta and sometimes that’s the perfect thing to eat.
This article is based on content that Keith is collecting for his third book, “An Insiders Guide to Provence,” with a publication date of December 2021. Click here to pre-order the book.