A road-trip in Provence, France – Revisiting History

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest

Our first day at Provence was on the road visiting some of most beautiful villages of France. The theme was just trying to understand the culture and lifestyle of Provence and enjoy it. Over next two days, we soaked ourselves in its rich history. We visited historic towns of St.Remy, Les de Baux Provence, Pont-du-Gard ending our trip at Nimes.

Les Baux-de-Provence

Our Day 2 started with beautiful drive to Les Baux. As we drove through pretty vineyards, we had no idea of the terrain we will drive into. All of a sudden, we started heading into the mountains. Overlooking the spectacular Alpilles plateau, is the ruined stone village of Les Baux on the hilltop. It is practically indistinguishable from the cream-coloured rocks of the landscape. It gets its name after Bauxite which is an aluminium ore and was discovered in the region.

I really liked how one can do an independent tour of Les Baux as significant sights are marked with background information for tourists. It’s almost like heading to an art gallery, but outdoors! The old town is dominated by the Château des Baux, a large medieval citadel spreading over 17 acres, and now houses a museum.

Les Baux Provence Terrain
Les Baux Provence Terrain
A bonus for us was going to the Carrieres de Lumieres exhibition. The concept of displaying the works of famous French artists in a quarry using multimedia is such an innovative idea to present artworks. 

St-Remy-de-Provence

Van Gogh's chamber
Van Gogh’s chamber
St-Remy-de-Provence is synonymous with one gifted artist – Vincent van Gogh. He spent the last years of his life at Saint Paul de Mausole, a monastery and psychiatric hospital. Our first stop in St. Remy was this magnificent monument. My first impressions of St.Remy was its spectacular natural beauty – especially fields of bright flowers from red poppy to sunflowers. It is an indication of the scenery that surrounded van Gogh which inspired him to paint St-Remy.  A complete section of monastery is dedicated to Van Gogh. One can visit the emotionally-charged reconstruction of the artist’s room. And in the Van Gogh Field, one can admire more than 20 large-scale reproductions of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings on the site where they were created.
Roman Ruins of Glanum
Roman Ruins of Glanum
Next, we spent an hour exploring Roman ruins in Glanum and then headed to the main city. We spent a lot of time exploring both the fresh food markets and boutique art galleries of St-Remy. The town also has an abundance of cafes and shops – so after all the village hopping, it is a nice change of pace.

Pont-du-Gard

Provence region boasts of some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in Europe. And Pont du Gard tops them all. A true masterpiece of ancient architecture, the Pont du Gard aqueduct is one of the most beautiful Roman ruins in all of Europe. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. The Pont du Gard was part of an extended channel built to carry water to city of Nimes from a source immediately to the north of the city.

Pont du Gard
Pont du Gard

We reached the site early morning when no one was around. It was quiet as we walked across the duct. We sat right in the middle of dry river’s course admiring magnificent duct’s architecture. Later, we visited museuem on the site which traces the history of the Roman aqueduct, and water in the Roman world.

Nimes

Nimes was the last city we visited before heading back to Avignon and then to Switzerland. It can be aptly termed as Rome of France. Be its Maison Carree (Square House) or its amphitheater, every monument has distinct Roman architecture. It has one of the oldest preserved ruins of the world.

High on history, we left Provence after experiencing probably a fraction of its rich life. It is a place where life is celebrated in every way.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest

1 Comment

  1. […] Watch out this space for Day 2 and Day 3! […]

Leave a Reply