I want to keep it for myself.
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is a town we came across in 2012 & from the day we left, I wanted to return.
It’s unlike its larger contemporaries in the same region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, of Avignon & Arles, which are equally attractive. I’m not denying it (and places you should visit).
However; Saint-Rémy-de-Provence has all their charm, but with a small-town feel.
Can’t keep away
This was the second time we’d stayed at Saint-Rémy, and it didn’t disappoint. The town itself is very picturesque, and as you stroll around you get the overwhelming feeling that you are in the heart of Provence.
For Gary & I it’s the ideal location to use as a base and explore the enchanting landscape beyond.
Heading out amongst the olive groves to discover the surrounding hilltop towns, what could be better. Knowing that each day when you return, you can try another one of its delightful cafés & restaurants, and there are plenty to choose from.
Yet, even though this region has so much to offer on its doorstep, you must spend time exploring Saint-Rémy-de-Provence itself.
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It has it all
Saint-Rémy is where the artist Vincent van Gogh painted his famous masterpiece “The Starry Night”, and for the history buffs amongst us, it is home to the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Glanum.
Before I tempt you with Vincent and the Roman’s, let’s take a stroll along the shiny cobbled lanes and through the charming squares of Saint-Rémy.
Unwind a little
The Old Town is almost a village within the town, encircled by plane tree-lined boulevards, which give you dappled shade while enjoying your fromage and a Provencal glass of rose.
The narrow-tiled streets are mainly pedestrianised, which is quite handy as you often find yourself stopping to admire the old stone buildings and enticing shops. Offering local delicacies and curios, it’s difficult not to be tempted by the lavender, nougat & of course the “Herbes de Provence”.
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Take a peek
Don’t just stick to the central streets, make sure you go and explore. It’s idyllic strolling amongst the quieter lanes, and finding tiny courtyards and squares that almost seem forgotten, with their fragrant window boxes & painted shutters.
We stayed for four nights and on Sunday that we were there, they were holding Les Route des Artistes contemporary art market with over 100 exhibitors. It’s only held a few times of the year, so we were quite lucky with our timing.
Then another little treat was the Tuesday evening handicraft market, that was held from 7pm.
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Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh was in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in a troubled period of his life, the previous year he had severed off his own left ear.
The time he spent here during May 1889 and May 1890, was at Saint-Paul-de-Mausole an asylum, which was once a monastery. He lived in two barred cells one of which he converted into a studio, but the raw conditions were very harsh, even seeing it now.
He made several studies of the interior of the asylum; however, the influence I recognised from Van Gogh’s paintings was from the countryside beyond.
Vincent painted his famous masterpiece “The Starry Night” from here. During the summer months the gardens were full of iris, sunflowers & lavender, and proving some welcome shade were the cypress and olive trees.
Today the gardens and cloisters paint an attractive picture, however, wandering around Gary and I felt an overriding feeling of sadness, it was quite moving.
Now the Romans
Just across the road from Saint-Paul-de-Mausole are the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Glanum. I have previously put together a little post on this.
If you are visiting Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, it is definitely worth a visit.
It was built during the early years of Emperor Augustus’ reign around 27 BC and gives an amazing insight into how the colony was formed.
We arrived reasonably early and almost had the place to ourselves.
What’s not to love?
J’adore Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, and would return at the drop of a hat. There is so much more for us to explore.
Where we stayed
Our accommodation for the four nights we were in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, was at Hotel Gounod, where we stayed in 2012. It’s a wonderful hotel, fantastic service and very friendly staff.
It was a pleasure each morning strolling down into the patio/lounge area, to enjoy your breakfast in the dappled sunshine.
The location is incredible, just a short hop across the road and you are in the historical old town.
The chargeable parking is about five minutes walk from the hotel; however, it is secure and plenty of space for a large car.
Where we dined
Our favourite restaurant from the four nights that we were in Saint-Rémy was at La Cassolette. The dishes were local produce, had a reasonably priced set menu, and the staff were extremely friendly and accommodating.
Gary had foie gras (not to everyone’s choice) which he loved & I enjoyed the local Toro stew – you just have to try these things!
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Inspired to visit St Remy-de-Provence?
Stroll amongst the picturesque lanes and enjoy a glass of Provence rose. Or jump in your car and explore the surrounding hilltop villages.
Why not stay at Hotel Gounod just a short hop from the old town?
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