28, March 2018 | More
We’re counting down to the April 10th release of Windows on Provence! Check out this charming excerpt, a quick tour of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, to get some serious Spring Break inspiration. And check out our previous blog post to find out where you can see Georgeanne read from Windows on Provence in person!
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, located in the region of the Alpilles mountain range, is in the heart of Provence. It is one of the most picturesque villages in the area with charming, tree-shaded squares and streets ringed with cafés and artisan shops. While staying at an asylum just outside Saint-Rémy, Vincent Van Gogh painted 142 paintings—many of them his most famous—depicting the landscape in and around Saint-Rémy and the village itself. Among them is The Road Menders, which depicts workers near the towering plane trees along the main road of Saint-Rémy. The trees still stand today.
This small gem is one of those villages that feels like “old Provence,” authentic in its tranquility, seemingly untouched by the 21st century, friendly and welcoming. Restaurants and cafés beckon, and the large open market, which runs every Wednesday from 7 AM to 1 PM truly offers a taste of the region, selling everything from potted olive trees to local honey. Just one mile from the village center are some of the most significant Roman ruins in Europe. Glanum, the historic remains of an ancient Roman city built on top of a Gallo-Greek city, is well worth the small fee to visit.
In the center of the village are a number of small shops to visit. On the Boulevard Victor Hugo is the atelier and shop of Jöel Durand, one of the master chocolatiers of France. A few steps further on is Au Petit Duc, an establishment that makes biscuits and cookies and packages them in charming tins. They also have a selection of candied rose petals and violets as well as a wide variety of fruit confits and the famous nougat of Provence. On the tiny square, place Joseph Hilaire, is a cheese shop, La Cave aux Fromages, which specializes in the cheese of the Alpilles region.
Of particular interest is the birthplace of the 16th-century philosopher Nostradamus, located in a narrow medieval street and identified by a small plaque. Not far from here is the rue Lucien Estrine, where the Centre d’Art-Présence Van Gogh is housed in an 18th-century private mansion, the Hôtel Estrine, which is now an historic monument. The center details various aspects of Van Gogh’s life. At the Place Flavier, the Musée des Alpilles has many exhibits relating the history and traditions of the region. A must-see for fans of Vincent Van Gogh is the asylum at the Monastery St. Paul de Mausole, on the outskirts of Saint-Rémy, where he committed himself and lived for more than a year. As you walk through on your visit, you’ll find copies of some of the works he painted during his stay.