Our little secret, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France

In En-Route, Europe, France, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel by Janis18 Comments

I want to keep it for myself.

Saint Rémy de Provence is a town we came across in 2012 and from the day we left, I yearned to return to this captivating oasis.
A bright square, called Place Favier, in  Saint-Rémy-de-Provence under the dappled shade with a couple of colourful red tables and chairs, under parasols, of a local restaurant.

A little restaurant in Place Favier

It’s unlike its larger contemporaries in the same region of Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur, of Avignon and Arles, which are equally attractive, I’m not denying it (and places you should visit).

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However; Saint Remy de Provence has all their charm and allure, but with a small-town feel. Making it perfect for a long weekend break or part of a Provencal road trip.

A reference guide

If you love Provence as much as we do, you'll want to start planning your visit now. I so enjoy using the DK Eyewitness books, as they are extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Provencal road trip, now you can grab the revised copy.


We can’t keep away from Saint Remy

This was the second time we’d stayed at Saint Remy, 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.
 
The aroma of Lavender infusing the streets and the cheerful yellow and russet tones from the sunflowers, welcoming you through doorways.
 
For Gary & I it’s the ideal location to use as a base and explore the enchanting Provence landscape beyond.

Our Audi convertible parked up on the roadside as it curves up towards to the hillside village of Les Baux-de-Provence.  The remains of the ruins of Château des Baux sit high on the rock face.
On the approach to Les Baux-de-Provence
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 St Remy’s delightful cafés & restaurants, and there are plenty to choose from.
Tables and chairs outside the blue shuttered patisserie in Place Joseph Hilaire.  One of the many places to eat in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France.

Place Joseph Hilaire

A classic 1960's Austin Healey convertible sports car in metallic blue & cream as it passes Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in front of a blue shuttered home on a beautiful sunny day.

Cruising around the town

Yet, even though this region has so much to offer on its doorstep, you must spend time exploring Saint Rémy de Provence itself.

Make a reservation in St Remy

If there is a restaurant you like the look of in St Remy, ensure you make a reservation. You wouldn’t want to be disappointed.

St Remy has it all

Saint Rémy de Provence 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.
A free standing Roman triumphal arch on the outskirts of St Remy de Provence.

Image Caption

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 Remy.
The beautiful St Martin church In a cream sandstone with 4 columns in front of its enormous entrance against a deep blue sky.
Saint-Martin Church

Unwind a little in Provence

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.

Fountain of the base of an obelisk alongside the periphery road that runs around St Remy de province. Water flows from Lions heads whilst diners eating their lunch at the nearby café.

The fountain in St Remy

2 glasses of rose a wine and I cheese board with a selection of local produce  and fresh bread with the chutney in the center.

Rose & fromage

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”.

The front of a small provencal gift shop with blue shutters over the window of the upper two storeys.

Fiston

A beautiful little gift shop called Terre e Provence in the orange-brown colours synonymous with region.

Terre e Provence

Did you know?

That just within a reasonably short distance from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, you can explore the Provence villages of Gordes, Roussillon, Cucuron & Bonnieux, to name just a few.

Perfect for a Provence mini-break

Don’t just stick to the central streets of Saint Rémy de Provence, ensure 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.
Looking a long and narrow cobbled passageway, under an archway, in centre of Saint Remy de Provence.  A channel runs down the centre of the lane to allow rainwater to flow away.

Archway to where?

Looking along one of the pedestrianised lanes take you into the centre of Saint Remy de Provence.

Along the lane

A quiet backstreet of 3 storeys shuttered buildings in Saint Remy de Provence

Where is everybody?

A courtyard in Saint Remy de Provence full of vibrant green growth against the sandstone coloured buildings and a deep blue sky

A hidden courtyard

Saint Remy markets

We stayed for four nights St Remy 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.
People perusing works of art at the town's quarterly market fare that lines the roads of Saint Remy de Provence.

The art market

A collection of stalls at an art market in the town of St Remy-de-Provence.

The art market in la place Jules Pelissier

Then another little treat was the Tuesday evening handicraft market, that was held from 7pm.

A close up the selection of macaroons on sale at the local market of Saint Remy de Provence

Macaroons on the market

Tempted to?

Discover more of France and create your own Provence memories? It’s so easy to do this on a road trip. Rental Cars searches multiple well-known car hire brands and discovers the deals that suit you the best.

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.
A brass statue of Vince van Gogh clutching a bunch of sunflowers on the approach to the Monastery Saint-Paul de Mausole, just outside St Remy-de-Provence.

A statue to Vincent with his sunflowers

View from the cloisters into the inner courtyard of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole where Vincent Van Gough spent some of his time and created some of his notable masterpieces while being cared for.

The cloister in Saint-Paul-de-Mausole

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.
The view through the doorway into Vincent Van Gough’s room in Saint-Paul-de-Mausole.  The basic looking room painted in a pile green features a small iron bed.

The doorway to bedroom

Inside Vincent Van Gough’s room in Saint-Paul-de-Mausole.  Reproduction of one of his works it's above a small iron framed bed.

The bedroom where Vincent stayed

Provence influence

Van Gogh made several studies of the interior of the asylum; however, the influence I could see from his paintings was from the Provence countryside beyond.
Looking across the gardens to the Monastery Saint-Paul de Mausole that was briefly home to Vincent van Gogh.

The gardens of the Monastery

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.

A drying sunflower head, drooping amongst the wildflowers of the garden of the Monastery Saint-Paul de Mausole.

A sunflower in the gardens

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.

Have You?

Visited any beautiful towns or villages in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France that you’d love to share? I’ll add them to my wish-list?

The Romans in Saint Remy de Provence

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.
Columns that once formed part of the Roman temple at the Glanum site on the outskirts of Saint Remy de Provence

Well preserved remains at Glanum

A free standing Roman white stone mausoleum just outside St Remy de Provence set against a blue Sky with wispy white clouds.

The Mausoleum

If you are visiting Saint Remy 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 had nearly 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.

Why not?

Start creating your own French adventure and discover the enchanting Provence countryside for yourself. Search for your flights in one easy place with ebookers.com. Over 400 airlines are scanned for your favoured routes and chosen dates.

Or alternatively, catch a Brittany Ferry and tour through France under your own steam.

Where to stay in Saint Remy

Our hotel 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.

Breakfast at our table in Hotel Gounod.  A selection of breads and pastries with a fresh orange juice find a cup of coffee.

Breakfast at Hotel Gounod

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 to eat in St Remy

Our favourite restaurant from the four nights that we were in St Remy was at La Cassolette. The dishes were local produce, had a reasonably priced set menu, and the staff were extremely friendly and accommodating.

Hop on a tour

If you’d love to tour the Provence villages and don’t have your own set of wheels, take a look at the full-day tour from Get Your Guide. You’ll be picked up in Avignon and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Pont du Gard and the Provence countryside hills await.

A video of St Rémy-de-Provence

We have created a little YouTube video of St Rémy-de-Provence

Why not subscribe to our channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

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?

Search for your flights in one easy place with ebookers.com and open up a world of options. Over 400 airlines are scanned for your favoured routes and chosen dates.
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About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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Comments

  1. What a charming little town. It seems like it is out of a postcard! Never been to a French town except for Paris… it’s on my list of to-do’s (one day I hope). #farawayFiles

  2. I love Paris as well.France is such a beautiful country, lovely scenery, food & wine. We have been to France so many times, I’ve lost count. We’re lucky that we live not too far from Le Shuttle, in Kent.One of my favourite regions is most definitely Provence, the villages around there are so picturesque.I hope you get there soon.

  3. I can see why you want to keep this beautiful town a secret! It has so much to offer!! Next year I want to start traveling more to the west as we keep going east, so that means more trips to France! This has now made my list! Pinned! #FarawayFiles

  4. I missed this little treasure when I was travelling through the south of France – quel dommage! It looks like just the sort of place I would love to spend some time … especially all those delightful back strreets. #farawayfiles

  5. It really is worth it. What we loved was that not only is it a delightful town to explore in its own right, it’s great to use as a base, to tour around Provence. There are so many restaurants to choose from each evening, you’re a bit spoilt.

  6. At least you now have an excuse to return. It was amazing that even though some of the streets in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence were bustling, you could very easily find some tranquil spots.Which towns did you stay in when you toured the south of France?

    1. Gosh, it was LONG time ago – definitely Arles and Saintes-Maries de-la-Mer and we cycled round part of The Camargue.

      1. Time just flies, it was about 10 years ago that we stayed in Arles.The Camargue is beautiful, great place to cycle around.

  7. Sigh! How do the French make something as simple as a continental breakfast look so darn good? Such a charming place to stay and take your time strolling about. You were definitely lucky to be in town during that art festival too. Thanks for the hotel recommendation, I’m saving it. #farawayfiles

  8. I’ve always wanted to go to St. Remy – de – Provence. It’s so picturesque and beautiful, and I love the Van Gogh history. Beautiful photos. I really hope to make it there some day soon, it’s on my radar! Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

  9. The hotel I can highly recommend, they made you so welcome and the location is fantastic.Yes we were lucky with the art festival, I think it is only on a few times of the year, it made the town even more attractive.

  10. It’s one of those towns I never want to leave. As I mentioned, we have stayed there before & we find it just an ideal location to discover the surrounding region.Thanks for the compliments on the photos, that’s all Gary’s work.I hope you make it there soon, the Van Gogh monastery is definitely worth visiting, even though it is a little touching.Perhaps I’ll have to give it another 6 years before I return again.

  11. You have to go back: you absolutely have to eat at le Mas de la Pyramide. Lolo, a 90-something bachelor, lives there in a troglodyte house in what was the quarry for the nearby Roman ruins–his place is just a few meters beyond Saint-Paul-de-Mausole. The “pyramid” is a tall stone the Romans left to show how deeply they dug. Lolo runs a “table d’hôte,” cooking dinners himself at a prix fixe. Not to be missed. Here’s an article about him: https://www.dwell.com/article/mine-dining-10ba111c

  12. Wow, you’re right I have to go back. He sounds fantastic and what an incredible place. I love the classic cars that he owns as well.I now have an excuse to return, thanks for sharing.

  13. We spent nearly a week at St Rémy when the boys were little. It’s a lovely town with a gorgeous atmosphere. I remember being struck by Van Gogh’s room in the Asylum too. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    1. It’s wonderful how one town can tick so many boxes, St Rémy was a pleasure to head back to each evening. When we return to Provence in years to come to explore of the region further, I think I would still consider it as a base.

  14. Every excursion stop over during our river cruise truly was breathtaking. One of the most memorable stops was the one we had in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Everything you’d only dream about seeing in Pinterest comes to live in this place. Truly amazing.

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