St-Remy-de-Provence

Street life in St Remy
Arriving at the old part of St Remy
Lavender at the market
Market day in St Remy is Wednesday
Ancient arched gateway from the rampart walls
Musicians in Place Flavier
The main church in St Remy faces a square of restaurants
St Remy is a town of fountains
There are many fine mansions in town
Shop front in Place Flavier
Nostradamus bust in St Remy
Interior of the church in St Remy
One of many patisseries
Typical street in the centre of town
The old part of St Remy
The road around the centre of St Remy is lined with restaurants and bars
St-Paul-de-Mausole, where van Gogh spent a year

St Remy, encircled by the plane tree-lined roads of one’s childhood memories, was home to an interesting pot-pourri of famous names down the years – Nostradamus, Gertrude Stein, van Gogh, Princess Caroline. It’s a swish town with chic addresses, full of charm, restaurants and interesting shops.

The old part of St Remy is clustered in the middle, within the road that circles it, and the parts of the 14th century defensive wall that remain. This makes it effectively a compact village to walk through and explore, being only about 500 metres across. Take any of the roads that criss-cross the centre, you will not be disturbed by traffic as you wander through picturesque squares and alleyways.

Place Flavier is an archetypal St Remy square, with its fountain and plane trees, cobbled street and pleasing facades.

In Place Flavier are a couple of museums. The Musee des Alpilles is housed in a Renaissance mansion and focuses on local traditions and folklore, including Nostradamus’s prophecies.

Alongside is the Musee Archeologique, in the 15th century Hotel de Sade on rue du Parage. This museum is all about the archeological finds at nearby Roman settlement Glanum.

The centre of St Remy being so conveniently compact, it is a short stroll to rue L’Estrine, where you will find the Centre d’Art Presence Van Gogh. This hosts art shows and has a permanent exhibition of van Gogh reproductions and letters. Note that there are no original van Gogh paintings here.

Inspired perhaps by the ghost of Vincent, St Remy is full of art galleries and exhibitions take place throughout the year.

Market day in St Remy is Wednesday (morning), and this is a great time to visit, as the squares are taken over by stall-holders – it gets crowded but the market is colourful and absorbing, well worth a detour.

Just outside St Remy to the south are some other fascinating treasures.

You can visit the asylum van Gogh checked into in 1889, at the monastery of St-Paul-de-Mausole. This has a pretty cloister and an air of great calm. There is a reconstruction of what van Gogh’s room would have looked like, and a small lavender field to the back named ‘van Gogh’s field’.

Van Gogh stayed at St-Paul-de-Mausole for a year and painted prolifically (including Starry Night), wandering around the Alpilles with his easel. He painted a field of olive trees just by St-Paul-de-Mausole, not knowing that this very grove would be excavated to reveal the fabulous Roman ruins of Glanum.

Across the road from Glanum are the impressive Roman triumphal arch and mausoleum, collectively called Les Antiques.

Continue on this road south from St Remy and you cut through the Alpilles range to reach Les Baux de Provence, another must-see stop-off.