A Provence walking holiday in Saint Remy de Provence
Saint Remy is located at the foot of the Luberon mountains and is a lively and bustling town. Take a stroll through the narrow streets, explore the quaint squares and the elegant shops and enjoy a drink and a meal in one of the many good restaurants in the centre. Many of the buildings have been restored over the years into mansions and luxurious renaissance style homes. St Rémy has an air of ‘chicness’ about it that is really quite charming!
Vincent Van Gogh
Born in the Netherlands, in 1853, Vincent Van Gogh spent about a year (1889-1890) in Saint Remy de Provence. It was at the end of his life and he was going through troubled times. After a particularly violent row with his close friend and fellow painter Paul Gaugin (which resulted in Van Gogh cutting off a part of his left ear), he was admitted to the asylum in St Paul de Mausole, just outside St Rémy. It was during this time at the asylum that he completed over 150 paintings, some of which are considered to be his best work. "The Starry Night" (1889) is a painting of the view from Van Gogh's bedroom.
A walking holiday in Provence through the Alpilles
Literally meaning "little Alps", the Alpilles mountain chain does not exceed 500m (1650ft) in height and is only 25km long. However, what it lacks in height it makes up for in beauty. Attracted to Provence for its colour and luminosity, Van Gogh saw in Provence the landscapes that still attract so many visitors to this day : the jagged lines of the limestone ridge, the lone cypress tree in an open field, bent by the Mistral winds, the silvery grey of the olive trees glinting in the Provencal sun…
A Provence walking tour through the Alpilles is just what the doctor ordered. It’s a slower, simpler way of life, walking from one perched village to another with views over endless vineyards, old stone huts and lone farmhouses. You can also enjoy a Provence cycling tour through the Alpilles along seldom used roads, taking in the medieval village of Les Baux, the oil producing village of Maussane and the picturesque ‘off the tourist radar’ villages of Barbetane, Maillane and Graveson.