Lavender fields, hilltop villages and spectacular rocky fjords, rosé wine and bouillabaisse, Cézanne and Van Gogh, cutting edge rap and hip-hop music, Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, pétanque, scuba diving and Olympique de Marseille: Provence is a vibrant mix of romantic tradition and surprising, fast-changing modernity. This is an insider's guide to the best of it, from a professional journalist living there.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
In Search of Romans and Artists in Saint Rémy de Provence
Saint Rémy de Provence is one of the most popular tourist spots in this part of France and last week I went along to find out its secret. Simple, really: this unassuming little place has something to suit pretty much all interests. History buff? The huge Roman city of Glanum is one of the key archeological sites in Provence (you can eat Roman food there too). Art-lover? Today the area is a magnet for painters and Saint Paul de Mausole, where Vincent van Gogh spent the last year of his life and created some of his greatest works, is a moving, unmissable experience. I loved the illustrated self-guided walk you can do in the surrounding countryside comparing his visions with the real thing (pictured above: van Gogh's Olive Trees, in an olive grove near Saint Paul). And, if you just like mooching around cafes, galleries, markets and pretty cobbled streets and squares, well, Saint Rémy has all those too. Click here to read more.