In the heart of the Alpilles Regional Natural Park, Les Baux-de-Provence is a village on the shortlist of France’s Most Beautiful Villages. Perched on a rocky spur and dominated by a vast fortress now in ruins, it has an incredibly rich architectural heritage with no fewer than 22 historical monuments.
This village is certainly one of the most extraordinary places in Provence. Arriving from Saint-Remy by a winding road in the middle of the maquis, without warning this marvellous eagle’s nest will appear before your eyes, red and luminous under the changing colours of the sunset.
Here, time seems to stand still at the time of the barons who rebelled against Louis XIII and suffered Richelieu’s ferocious repression, with the partial demolition of the castle. Strolling through the quiet lanes is really exciting. Fortunately, this village has not yet become the object of savage exploitation by the tourist machine and except for a few small shops, everything resonates ancient and authentic.
Situated on a rocky outcrop and ranked among the most beautiful villages in France, Les Baux de Provence has now become a tourist must-see, with almost 1.5 million visitors a year.
This village steeped in history will seduce you with its incredible panorama as well as its love of art, which has made this town a true open-air museum. In fact, there are no less than 22 historical monuments and 3 religious buildings to visit. Les-Baux-de-Provence has also given its name to one of the most recent appellations in the Provençal vineyard.
The castle ruins dominate the village. With the help of an audio-guide and various explanatory panels, you can explore the various remains in total autonomy by admiring the keep (still well protected), the troglodyte houses, the dovecote, the castle chapel, the windmill or the Saracen tower. Inside the Saint-Blaise church, you will learn more about the village, thanks to the projection of a film telling the story of Les Baux-de-Provence.
Numerous events take place during the summer season, such as the Médiévales des Baux, from the end of March to the end of August, the Secrets d’Artisans every weekend in September and Les Automnales in October, which transform the fortress into a place teeming with life.
In addition, the castle of Les Baux offers an incredible panorama over the Alpilles and the landscapes of Provence down to the sea. For children aged 7 to 12, an enigma hunt has been designed, a fun tool to help them discover the castle and its history, in search of hidden clues.
These monumental limestone quarries located just outside the village of Les Baux-de-Provence host exciting and ever-changing exhibitions.
The quarries were used for the construction of the town of Les Baux and its castle. But in 1935, the site closed due to lack of profitability. In the 1960s, they found a new function thanks to the visionary Jean Cocteau, who decided to use this setting in his film Le Testament d’Orphée.
In 1977, the first audiovisual shows began, exploiting the 14-metre high walls and an area of 7000 square metres in which 100 video projectors and more than 27 loudspeakers were installed. This creates a true immersion in a completely unique artistic world.
Representations of great masterpieces from the history of art and timeless artists such as Monet, Leonardo da Vinci, Klimt, Chagall, Van Gogh, Picasso or Dali, brought to life on more than seven thousand square metres of floors, walls and pillars.
An experience not to be missed!
Built between the 12th and 16th centuries, the church of Saint-Vincent is the parish church of the village of Les Baux-de-Provence. Romanesque in style, it is carved into the rock. In fact, the church has the peculiarity of being partly troglodyte.
Inside you can see modern stained glass windows by Max Ingrand, donated by Prince Rainier III of Monaco to the town.
Located in the former 16th century guardhouse, this museum brings together santon collections from the 17th century to the present day. You will admire a universe in miniature, populated by some 400 santons, the small statuettes emblematic of Provence that make up the local nativity scenes.
You will discover the meticulous work of craftsmen who have reproduced incredibly realistic and meticulous scenes: 500 m2 of traditional nativity scenes from the Carmelite convent in Avignon.
Think of the fact that it was once the only carriage gate in the village and was therefore the only access to the village until 1866. The inhabitants passed through it in search of water in the Vallon de la Fontaine.
Dating back to the 16th century, this palace was the property of one of Provence’s most prestigious noble families. Today it houses a museum dedicated to Yves Brayer, the illustrious French painter, illustrator and stage designer who decorated the White Penitents’ chapel in particular.
This museum houses hundreds of paintings and drawings by the artist, created between 1991 and 1997. On the ground floor, one can admire graceful 17th-century frescoes and its mullioned windows with two lights, inside this residence that has been described as one of the most beautiful buildings in Les Baux-de-Provence.
It is located on the edge of the cliff overlooking the Vallon de la Fontaine. Built in the 17th century by the Brotherhood of the White Penitents, it was taken over by the Languedoc Brotherhoods.
Inside, you can admire a sublime 1974 fresco by Yves Brayer. The latter represents the Shepherds’ Christmas in the Provençal tradition.
A master typographer, engraver, printer and talented publisher, Louis Jou is one of the city’s pioneer artists. The Jean de Brion Renaissance hotel has been harmoniously restored by this talented artist, who contributed so much to the preservation of the village and its new renaissance.
In the Vallon de la Fontaine, near the old wash-house, you will find this elegant Renaissance-style corner pavilion.
It was built by Jeanne de Quiqueran, wife of Honoré des Martins, Baron des Baux from 1568 to 1581. It once adorned a garden belonging to the Baux family.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
The landscape of the valley surrounding the village of Les Baux-de-Provence is covered with large vineyards. To learn all about the history and culture of wine, you can visit the Mas Sainte Berthe and the Mas de la Dame, who will share their centuries-old knowledge with you by proposing, for example, a walking tour, a visit to the wine cellar or a tasting of the different Provençal grape varieties.
Located in the heart of Provence, the Alpilles Natural and Regional Park offers exceptional landscapes and a variety of fauna and flora to be discovered on foot, by bicycle or even on horseback.
Some of the Alpilles trails also cross the Baux-de-Provence territory and will allow you to embark on some beautiful paths such as:
The village of Les Baux-de-Provence is very small and the hotel facilities meagre: you should book well in advance, especially during the events that enliven the village.
Located between the Luberon and the Camargue, Les Baux-de-Provence is only 3½ hours from Toulouse, 3 hours from Lyon, 1 hour from Marseilles or Aix-en-Provence. The cities of Arles and Avignon are also within walking distance, about 30 minutes from this charming village.
What's the weather at Les Baux-de-Provence? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Les Baux-de-Provence for the next few days.
The small village is located on a rocky hill dominated by an ancient castle, south of Avignon and north-east of Arles.