A vacation in the south of France would not be complete without a trip to the charming village of Saint Remy de Provence.
On the morning of August 15th, the Carreto Ramado, a huge cart lavishly adorned with local agricultural products – fruits, vegetables and foliage from fruit trees, is attached to 50 decoratively harnessed draft horses, lined up one behind the other, for more than 100 meters. The procession heads through the streets of Saint-Rmy, honoring the farming culture and animals of the region.
The three days of festivities traditionally conclude with an evening parade of 100 Camargue horses running freely along the main street of St Rmy.
Close to the Luberon, and just south of Les Alpilles (mountain range) near Avignon, St. Remy is known as the birthplace of Nostradamus, the village where Van Gogh sought refuge and a must-see for visitors exploring Inland Provence. St. Remy sustains a lovely vacation villa rental community because of the arts, history, restaurants, shops and sights.
A favorite among artists, writers and musicians, St. Remy is where Van Gogh committed himself to St. Paul de Mausole and while institutionalized, produced some of his best known works of art. You can visit his room (which still has paint on the floor) and walk the grounds to admire the views that inspired much of his work. Saint Rmy is home to some lovely museums, La Musee des Alpilles and Musee Estrine, and several art galleries.
South of St. Remy lies the ancient Roman ruins of Glanum. Just across the way, visit the remarkably well preserved archeological site Arc de Triomphe and Mausolee des Jules, together known as “Les Antiques.”
A wide array of items are available on at the weekly Wednesday market – food, fabrics, accessories and much more. Saint Rmy boasts several gourmet food shops and is filled with wonderful restaurants – over 40 in all. Two have earned Michelin stars: La Maison Jaune and La Maison a Bournissac.
The best time to visit is from May through October. In summer, there’s always something exciting happening in St. Remy – a festival or an event celebrating the art or products of the region. July festivals include Terroir des Alpilles – a festival celebrating the Alpilles region, Le Tour de France and a Wine Festival. August brings the Festival de St Remy and September a Jazz Festival. An outdoor arts festival – Routes des Artistes, takes place on five Sundays between May and October.