An exquisitely Provençal town, Salon-de-Provence has a picturesque old centre, full of colourful markets and old soap factories.
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This pleasant Provençal town was the birthplace of Nostradamus and has always produced olive oil, Marseille soap and coffee.

It is a town on a human scale and is ideal for a stop-off, perhaps browsing the sweet shops and having a drink under the trees near the wonderful Fontaine Moussue, a huge fountain that has been covered in moss for 250 years.

A curiosity? The main character in the French comedy Welcome to the Sticks lives in Salon-de-Provence.

Things to do in Salon-de-Provence

The Musk Fountain

The historical centre, dotted with medieval streets and gates, is organised around the Château de l’Empéri and hides a rich architectural and museum heritage.

The soap district is particularly fascinating: for a few decades, between 1870 and 1930, Salon de Provence experienced an economic boom linked to the oil and soap industry. The merchants bore witness to their success by building villas and castles. Some buildings still remain today, and a stroll through the soap makers’ quarter will allow you to discover this architectural frenzy.

Château de l'Empéri

1Mnt du Puech, 13300 Salon-de-Provence, Francia

Perched on a rocky base, overlooking the Crau plain, the Château de l’Empéri is the oldest fortified castle in Provence still standing and one of the three largest in size, along with the Palais des Papes in Avignon and King René’s Castle in Tarascona.

Today, it houses a military museum with the largest collection of French army uniforms and objects. It offers an exceptional view over the rooftops from its terrace and is definitely the best place to see the evolution of the Patrouille de France in the city centre.

Clock Gate

2Rue de l'Horloge, 13300 Salon-de-Provence, Francia

Built where the northern gate of the city centre ramparts once stood, the clock gate marks the transition from the modern to the old city. It was built in the 17th century and topped by a Roland bell tower.

Rue de l’Horloge is one of the most famous shopping streets in the old town.

Nostradamus's house

3Rue Nostradamus, 13300 Salon-de-Provence, Francia

Located in the heart of the old town and at the foot of the Château de l’Empéri, this municipal museum, created in 1992, is housed in the house that Nostradamus bought in 1547 for his new family with Anne Ponsard, with whom he had six children.

For 40 minutes, in 10 soundboards with a small planetarium, an audio-guided tour retraces the life of the great man and his scientific and philosophical work: from his childhood in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, his training as a doctor that enabled him to eradicate the plague, according to his predictions, through his study in Salon-de-Provence and his meeting with Queen Catherine de’ Medici.

Temporary exhibitions with original documents and objects from the 16th century highlight the various facets of the character and his era, along with scientific objects such as astrolabes, sundials and compasses and personal writing implements.

Soap Works of Marius Fabre

4148 Av. Paul Bourret, 13300 Salon-de-Provence, Francia

More than 120 years of history, four generations of the family, cauldrons intact and in use: the Marius Fabre soap factory, still in operation, produces genuine Marseille soap and black olive oil soap according to ancestral methods handed down by Marius Fabre.

During the free guided tour, you can rediscover a unique know-how that is still alive, passed down from generation to generation in the Fabre family. In fact, since 1900 Marius Fabre Marseille soap has been produced in a natural way, is made from 100% vegetable oils, without colouring agents, without perfume, without preservatives, without animal fats, and without petrochemicals.

You can take a close look at the entire manufacturing process, which lasts an average of 14 days: from saponification to salting, from cooking to washing, to liquidation, to rid the soap of all impurities. Then come the next steps: pouring into moulds, drying for forty-eight hours in the open air and finally the marking, hand-printed for the bars, or machine-printed for the cube. The latter is stamped on all six sides, the hallmark of traditional ‘Marseille soap’.

Inside the factory, you can also visit the Marseilles Soap Museum: it traces the fascinating history of soap in Provence, which began in the Middle Ages, and of which the soap factory Marius Fabre has preserved the most precious testimonies such as stamps engraved in boxwood, tools, early soap moulders, moulds for shipping boxes, old packaging, letterheads, blackboards.

Finally, you can browse in the in-house shop where you can buy Marseille soap, black olive oil soap, certified organic olive oil cosmetics and many unique products.

Porte du Bourg Neuf

5Rue du Bourg Neuf, 13300 Salon-de-Provence, Francia

The Porte du Bourg Neuf shows what the ramparts of Salon-de-Provence would have looked like in the 1600s. It is a fairly solid crenellated gate. Above the vault you can even see a medieval statue of the Virgin and Child.

Its peculiarity? It is a Black Madonna, a feature that is not so rare. In fact, the colour appears due to the accumulation of residue over long periods of time (several hundred years).

The Fontaine Moussue

6Pl. Crousillat, 13300 Salon-de-Provence, Francia

A true mascot of the city, the Fontaine Moussue already existed in the 16th century, an ideal place for walks and meetings between citizens who came to enjoy the fresh air.

Commissioned in 1765 by the city’s consuls, the current Grande Fontaine was built by sculptor Maurice Bernus in 1775. Hidden in the moss cavity that earned it its nickname, this fountain is used during the Transhumance and is surmounted by two basins.

From the second half of the 20th century, limestone concretions, moss and vegetation began to develop, giving it this particular ‘mushroom’ shape. During cold winters, stalactites form when it freezes.

Collegiate Church of San Lorenzo

713300 Salon-de-Provence, Francia

This magnificent monument of Provençal Gothic art was restored in 1841, during the reign of Louis Philippe. The religious building mixes Gothic and Romanesque influences, noticeable in the ornamentless style on the outside, as well as in the narrowness of the window openings. The latter feature perhaps served to preserve the church from the summer heat and prevent the mistral from entering the building.

In addition to the sublime architecture of the church, admire a polychrome sculpture of the Virgin Mary cradling the body of Jesus, which dates back to the 16th century, along with the tomb of Nostradamus, located in the chapel of the Virgin. Also admire a monolithic Lamentation group believed to date back to the 16th century.


In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article.

Where to stay in Salon-de-Provence

Salon de Provence has managed to preserve an exceptional heritage: straddle its shady squares, boulevards and pedestrian streets and discover its many riches.

Sleeping in the historic centre means fully experiencing its alleyways, its medieval gates, its traditional Provençal style and its stone buildings. You can easily find small charming hotels or B&Bs in the heart of the town. In fact, the city centre gathers most of the accommodation offers.

To find cheaper prices, you should look in the other neighbourhoods of the city such as Bressons, Blazots, Saint-Come, Bel-Air or even Michelet: they are residential and definitely not touristy but offer the best value solutions.

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How to get to Salon-de-Provence

Salon-de-Provence enjoys an exceptional geographical location, at the centre of the main communication routes, from Spain to Italy, from northern Europe to the Mediterranean, from the Alps to the sea. This privileged location, combined with a high density of road infrastructure, makes it easily accessible.

The fastest way is undoubtedly by plane: you land at Marseille Airport. After hiring a car locally, you can drive to Salon-de-Provence in only 30 minutes.

If, on the other hand, you travel by train, refer to the TGV stations of Aix-en-Provence and Avignon.

Salon-de-Provence Weather

What's the weather at Salon-de-Provence? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Salon-de-Provence for the next few days.

Tuesday 23
Wednesday 24
Thursday 25
Friday 26
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Sunday 28

Where is located Salon-de-Provence

Salon-de-Provence enjoys a very accessible geographical location, just a few kilometres from Marseilles and Avignon.

Location around