dimanche 26 février 2006

Yesterday Alain and I went to visit Les Baux-de-Provence, a small fortified village about an hour northeast of Marseille.
For more pictures, please see my photo album at

Here is what the guidebook says
"Les Baux sits on a spur of the Alpilles (bau in Provençal means escarpment),
with views across to the Camargue. The most dramatic fortress site in provence,
it has nearly two million visitors a year, so it is best to avoid midsummer, or
to go early in the morning. The town is pedestrianized wtih a car park beside
the Porte Mage gate.
When the Lords of Baux built their fine citadel here in the
10th century, they claimed one of the three wise men, King Balthazar, as
ancestor and took the star of Bethlehem as their emblem. Though fierce warriors,
they originated the troubadour Courts of Love and wooed noble ladies with their
poetry and songs. This became a medieval convention known as courtly love and
paved the way for a literary tradition.
The citadel ruins lie on the heights
of the escarpment. The entrance to the citadel is via the 14th century
Tour-du-Brau, which houses the Musée d'Histoire des Baux-de-Provence."
We arrived around 11 and parked in the parking area below the fortress (paid 3 euros and gave one euro to a man that only had two euros. My good dead for the day.) We walked into the town, which mainly consists of tourist shops (all selling the same stuff- packets of lavender and herbs de provence, ceramic cigales- the chirping cicadas in summer, postcards, provençal fabrics, olive wood utensils, etc) and small restaurants, mainly selling crepes for some reason, which are not native provence. Part of the town was blocked as some Germans were making a documentary of some sort. So it was rather amusing to see some 16th century peasants walk past the tourist shops.
It was a great time of the year to go, as it was not too crowded. A little cold, but not too bad, weather was nice. Heard some Americans, French, and Germans. It was a bit strange to hear Americans "Like, oh my god! This place is like old!"
We stopped and had lunch, Alain had a pizza, salad, glass of wine, and a crepe with Nutella (menu 12.50) I had a crepe with ham, cheese, and mushrooms (had mushrooms coming out of my ears), salad, and crepe with Nutella (menu 9.50). After that we went and toured the Chateau. I think it was 7 euros for him, 4.50 for me as I had my student card. They had these audio guide tours in several languages, she gave me a French one. Got to practice my french listening skills, but don't think I got as much out of it. All in all, I found the different sites well explained with drawings and text. There was more to see than I thought there would be. It took us over two hours to visit the Chateau.
Afterwards, we made a visit to the bathroom, here is a Turkish toilet (see Bretagne part 1) in real life. Not fun.
Then we stopped and had some tea (overpriced as usual, we got two tea bags and two cups of hot water for 5 euros), then visited a church and a chapel, right next to each other for some reason. The chapel had been entirely painted with a mural of shepherds and the announcement of the Nativity, something I had never seen before. On the way out, we stopped at La Cure Gourmand and bought some biscuits, then drove home.

2 commentaires:

Dee a dit…

I have to say, I view this place as a huge tourist trap. Someone is making beaucoup money hand over fist. Don't get me wrong..it's interesting to see but the prices are outrageous for this little spot in the middle of nowhere that is filled with shops. You even have to pay to park.

Sorry for the rant. I've been once to get some photos and have been ranting ever since. ;)

Anonyme a dit…

I was there in June this year/2008 and found it charming - just to think how pedestrian life use to be was wonderful - not a car in sight when the village was created!!

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