Les Alpilles – Saint Remy de Provence

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Villages we visit:

Saint Remy de Provence, Les Baux de Provence, Maussane, Eygalières.
Eygalières, my home!

Tour Basics

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This tour begins in Saint Remy de Provence and includes a scenic drive thru the Alpilles National Park and some of its most picturesque villages. You can opt for a visit to either Saint Paul de Maussole, where Van Gogh spent one year of his life in Saint Remy, or Glanum, a Roman archaeologic site; also included is a visit to an olive oil mill and or a winery for a quick tasting. (A full day tour can include all of the above as well as a city tour of Arles).

Gourmet Market Tours

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Begin the day with a village market tour where we learn about Provencal foods and and enjoy lavish tastings.  Meet the venders and learn how things are made by local artisans. Included in the tour is a cheese tasting where we learn about some of the famous cheeses produced in France as well as the local goat’s milk cheeses.  We also visit an olive oil mill shop for an olive oil tasting, and chocolatier for a chocolate tasting.

On each of the cultural tours I provide it is possible to visit a market, specialty food shop, olive oil mill or winery, and there are always tastings along the way, but the gourmet market tour is geared especially towards those who want to put their full attention on food and wine!

Picnic in Provence

This is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in Provence. After a morning tour we visit a local market to create a wonderful Provencal picnic. I will help shop for all the picnic supplies, local olives, fresh bread, cheese and wine.. I provide a picnic blanket, basket, utensils, and most importantly a lovely picnic spot! (22€ additional p.p. – food and wine included).

Duration of Tour

  • Half day = 4 hours
  • Full day tour = 7+ hours.

Prices

  • 1/2 Day with transportation and Guide/chauffeur provided – 80€ per person (minimum 250€)
  • Full day with transportation and Guide/chauffeur provided – 125€ per person (minimum 375€)
  • Group rates are discounted and quoted separately.
  • Gourmet Market Tour:  65€pp
  • Picnic in Provence – 22€ extra per person, includes the cost of the picnic supplies, food and wine.

*Above prices are flat fees based 6 persons.

 

A bit more about Les Alpilles

Les Alpilles

Les Alpilles national park lies 20 minutes South of Avignon, and 45 minutes to the North of Marseille.  It is characterised by a small range of jagged limestone foothills, valleys filled with olive trees and wine vineyards. Roaming goats and sheep are tended by shepherds as they were centuries ago, grazing on wild rosemary and thyme which perfume the delicious regional cheeses.  Les Alpilles lies between the Rhone and Durance rivers and is the extension of the much larger range, the Luberon, and further north, Mt Ventoux.

Here you are far removed from the bustling Côte d’Azur; this is scenic countryside punctuated by quaint villages.  This is Van Gogh’s Provence, with wild Iris, sunflower and lavender fields, olive oil and local honey.

At the heart of Les Alpilles is Saint Remy de Provence which has become a very popular tourist destination over the years. Van Gogh spent the last year of his life in Saint Remy and painted some of his most famous works during that time.  Saint Remy still remains a small town with just 15 000 year round inhabitants.

transhumance

There are wonderful Provencal fêtes, celebrations which are held throughout the year to commemorate Saints days or important agricultural events. My favorite is the Transhumance, held at the end of May. Here you have 50 000 sheep paraded thru the center of the town to celebrate the end of Winter and their passage back up to the Alps for summer grazing.  In the summer we have the running of the bulls, right through the main street with lots of parties.  The atmosphere is intoxicating – the rosé wine and pastis too! Local fêtes are a community tradition which have been going on for centuries, little has changed.  Meanwhile you have wonderful boutique shopping, contemporary hotels and Michelin starred restaurants.

A trip to this part of Provence is not complete without a visit to some of the smaller villages surrounding Saint Remy de Provence such as Les Baux, Maussane and Eygalieres. Each village has a unique character, interesting history, architecture, and weekly outdoor markets.