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

In En-Route, Europe, France, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travelby Janis10 Comments

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.

A little restaurant in Place Favier, St Remy-de-Provence, France

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.

The Audi RS5 on the approach to Les Baux-de-Provence, France

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.

Place Joseph Hilaire, St Remy-de-Provence, France
Cruising around the town, St Remy-de-Provence, France

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

Something to make your travels easier?

Make a Reservation

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

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.

Thr Triumphal Arch, Glanum, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France

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.

Saint-Martin Church, St Remy-de-Provence, France

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 fountain in town, St Remy-de-Provence, France
Rose & fromage, St Remy-de-Provence, France

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”.

Fiston, St Remy-de-Provence, France
Terre e Provence, St Remy-de-Provence, France

Our favourite travel reads

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.

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.

Archway to where, St Remy-de-Provence, France
Along the lane, St Remy-de-Provence, France
Where is everybody, St Remy-de-Provence, France
A hidden courtyard, St Remy-de-Provence, France

Local markets

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.

The art market, St Remy-de-Provence, France
The art market in la place Jules Pelissier, St Remy-de-Provence, France

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

Macaroons on the market, St Remy-de-Provence, France

Something for the Traveller

Tempted to?

Discover more of France and create your own Provence memories? It’s so easy to do this on a road trip, SIXT car hire cover all budgets and allow you to pick up and drop off at different destinations.

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 statue to Vincent with his sunflowers, St Remy-de-Provence, France
The cloister in Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, St Remy-de-Provence, France

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 doorway to bedroom, St Remy-de-Provence, France
The bedroom where Vincent stayed, St Remy-de-Provence, France

Provence influence

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.

The gardens of the Monastery, St Remy-de-Provence, France

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 sunflower in the gardens, St Remy-de-Provence, France

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?

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.

Well preserved remains at Glanum, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France

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.

The Mausoleum, Glanum, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France

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.

Why not?

Start creating your own French adventure and discover the enchanting Provence countryside for yourself, by flying easyJet or British Airways. These are just a couple of options that you can take to Marseille.

Or alternatively, jump on Le Shuttle and tour through France under your own steam.

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.

Breakfast at Hotel Gounod, St Remy-de-Provence, France

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!

Would you like a little more?

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?

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.

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?

Booking.com
Our little secret, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France

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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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