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Day 9 South of France: From Aix to Les Baux de Provence & St Remy de Provence - 22 May

Checking out of Le Pigonnet at about 11 am, we headed out towards St Remy de Provence, our next destination for the next 4 nights. Situated only an hour’s drive away from Aix-en-Provence, we had earmarked Les Baux de Provence en route to view the ruined castle and check out the old village. Nothing prepared us for the spectacle when we got there.

Les Baux de Provence:
With a dramatic medieval castle capping an arid rocky spur, plunging abruptly to steep ravines on either side, the old village of Baux de Provence is one of the most spectacular sites in the South of France. The Chateaux des Baux was the ancient stronghold of the Lords of Les Baux, the would-be descendants of one of the Magi, Baltazar, hence the star boldly placed on their coat of arms. The plains of Provence were frequently swept by Saracen attacks, able to penetrate up to 30 kilometers inland. This ancient stronghold had watch towers and men at arms continually maintained for such attacks. Today, the spectacular panorama from the top unfolds over the Alpilles (little Alps) with the windmills of Fontvielle to the west.

While at Baux de Provence, we also took the time to view the Musee des Santons. Looking like dolls, ‘santons’ are the dressed figures which are mounted on metal or wooden frames that have heads, hands and feet made of clay, wood, wax or paper mache. They are painted realistically and their costumes are made from typical provencal fabrics. Made by the people of the area through the ages, they truly were works of art.

After viewing the museum and castle, Peter and I settled to a delightful lunch at a little restaurant tucked away in one of the various side streets of Baux. Called Le Varietes, we enjoyed a meal of tagliatelle with truffle, olives, champignons and duck breast, with parmesan cheese. A house specialty, it was simple and delicious.

Le Varietes, Les Baux de Provence.

Our accommodation: Villa Glanum, St Remy de Provence
Located just outside St Remy de Provence sits Hotel Restaurant Villa Glanum. Simple and low key, especially after our last accommodation, we liked Villa Glanum because it was close enough to walk to the main village of St Remy de Provence in 5 minutes, and it was far enough away so that you felt that you were still in the countryside. And what's more, the lady at reception at Villa Glanum could have taught the lady at Le Pigonnet a lesson or two on graciousness and hospitality. She was wonderful.
However, do make the effort to go to one of the restaurants of St Remy de Provence for dinner - trust us, the restaurant at Villa Glanum is nothing to write home about. With a cold pea soup the consistency of gruel and a salmon that was one minute overdone, life's too short to eat a bad meal or drink lousy wine.

Hotel Restaurant Villa Glanum, 46 Avenue Vincent Van Gogh, 13210, St Remy de Provence. www.villaglanum.com

Posted by Victoria Ugarte on 22nd May, 2012 | Trackbacks
Categories: France

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