‘Saint Rémy de Provence, a town filled with culture and art dating back to the ancient Romans yearns to be discovered with its provencial charm’
The drive to this quintessential provincial town is filled with sunflower fields, perfumed olive groves and tree-lined roads and the Alpilles mountain range. Home to Van Gogh, Saint Rémy is a tiny picturesque village located in the northern edge of the Alpilles, about 20km from Avignon. It’s small enough to maintain the cozy feeling but large enough to stay interesting and find things to do. The town is famous for Van Gogh’s The Starry night painting, that he made during his stay there. Today, when walking through the historic little streets, you can see why impressionist painters used Saint Remy as their muse. It is simply beautiful.
Take in the lilac window shutters and faded doors, while taking a stroll through the old town that is tucked between walls of one of Europe’s oldest archeological sites. Shop for local goods like woven baskets, antiques, delicacies and scented candles or walk the Van Gogh circuit through town that follows its 21 paintings from his time at Saint-Paul-de-Mausole. Gogh painted over 150 paintings of the countryside that surrounds Saint Rémy.
You can easily spend a long weekend here exploring, eating and enjoying the artsy vibe basking in the last sunrays of the evening. Wander through the square of Place Favier where locals gather for a glass of wine and coldcuts. It’s also wonderful as other little towns are close, we visited from Uzes and Chateau Des Alpilles is a 20 minutes car ride away if you wish to book a dinner or lunch here. (Keep in mind however, on some days lunch is served by the pool, which made us cancel our reservations). Have an amazing lunch at Mas Valentine’s garden that is right next to town that turned out to be one of our favourite meals of the trip. I ate some tuna tartar and rustic slow cooked pork cheek that was simple heavenly. Be greeted by the estates german Shepard that loves to play, sit under the shaded trees sipping on some wine and be spoiled by mouth-watering dishes that ends with a rich cheese plate. The house specialized in boeuf tartare that is made in front of you in a big wooden bowl, which we only discovered after our food. Next time we are there, I will for sure order some.
Stop for a glass of pale rosé and cheese platter at charcuterie at cave aux fromage where the owner will choose cheeses for you that she has recently made. All I can is that the truffle infused camembert was divine.
Wednesday market is not to be missed (although not biggest in Provence) it is charming that spreads across parking lots and squares around the old part of the town. Be aware that you will not find parking unless you come very early! It’s lively and full of buzz, cafes are full of people and you can make great little finds on a day like this. From these markets I found old tea cups, antique ring boxes, pottery and all kinds of amazing accessories for the house. On Saturdays there is a smaller food market that is great as well.
Looking for a place to stay, try: Le Petit Bijou, an amazing Provencial house in the centre of town.