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If you want a little getaway in a very picturesque and timeless setting, consider the village of Les Baux-de-Provence, undeniably one of the most beautiful in France. Located in the Alpilles Massif, this town offers its visitors not only a rich and varied heritage, but also superb views of the entire region. It is perfect for a stroll, with a warm Mediterranean climate and dry summers, and hosts various events throughout the year: between the Estivales du Château, the Golden Nights or the Intégrales des Carrières, you will never get bored there. Let’s take a quick look at what there is to see and do in Les Baux-de-Provence.
🔝 The essentials of the region. Les Baux-de-Provence are part of our selection of the most beautiful towns in Provence.
🗒️ What you need to know before leaving for Les Baux-de-Provence
Before starting our list of essential things to do in Les Baux-de-Provence, here are some tips for your next trip.
When should you go to Les Baux-de-Provence?
For visiting Les Baux-de-Provence, we would recommend the period from April-May to October, when the temperatures are the mildest. The best time is probably in May-June and September, to avoid the summer crowds of tourists who throng the place and the intense heat waves sometimes found in the heart of summer in this region.
Where to park to visit Baux-de-Provence?
This is an essential question, since the village forbids vehicles and 1.5 million tourists visit every year. The surroundings of Les Baux-de-Provence are well-equipped with car parks (see map). Despite this, we advise you park very early in the morning to be sure of having a choice of spots. You won’t have to leave your car for long: the village can be toured in just two hours, without rushing.
Where should you stay near Les Baux-de-Provence?
Large green spaces, swimming pools, and beautiful Provençal architecture: this is what you will often find in the hotels located around Les Baux-de-Provence. There are few establishments located in the town itself, but among them we should especially mention the Domaine de Manville. Nestled in the heart of a 100-hectare golf course (to which you will have access), the establishment is a luxurious hotel with a spa and a magnificent outdoor swimming pool. Big plus: you can enjoy gourmet dishes at the Michelin-starred Aupiho restaurant.
If you want another hotel with character, a little further away but also less expensive, we recommend the Mas des Carassins. Located in the heart of the “Golden Triangle” (Nîmes, Aix, and Avignon), at the foot of the Alpilles, this establishment is a perfect (and very comfortable) headquarters for visiting the region as a whole.
🔝 The 8 essential things to do in Les Baux-de-Provence
Without further ado, let’s move on to our selection of the essential things to do in Les Baux-de-Provence.
Go hiking in the Alpilles
If you like walking, hiking, or simply strolling with your family, the Alpilles Natural Park (official site) is the place you must visit. With landscapes as magnificent as they are varied, this unique ecosystem has something to dazzle everyone with: forests, marshes, crops, cliffs and scrubland – there is a bit of everything. There are places full of history that you will discover in the park and, for nature lovers, this is the ideal place to feel in symbiosis with it.
Visit the Château des Baux-de-Provence
It is impossible to pass through Les Baux-de-Provence without visiting its magnificent castle. It is a rather imposing building built on the southern flank of the Alpilles, dating from the feudal era. Despite the bad weather and the weight of the years, this castle remains very well-preserved. You will therefore be able to explore most of the building, including the towers: the Bannes, the Sarrazine, and the Parravelle. That is without forgetting the keep, and the old Sainte-Catherine chapel. What’s more, the surroundings of the castle offer you a panoramic view that makes the visit well worthwhile.
See Saint-Vincent Church
This church, part of which was built on rock, has a sumptuous interior, with modern stained-glass windows by Max Ingrand, donated by Prince Rainier III of Monaco. It was built in a Romanesque style around the 12th century.
You will have the opportunity, while visiting, to see the warheads of the first chapel of the church, as well as an old tomb in the second chapel. But that’s not all, we can’t talk about the Saint-Vincent church without mentioning the splendid chapel of the White Penitents. Built in the 17th century, it originally served as a hospital and was restored by the municipality. You can be sure it’s worth a look.
Visit the Pavilion of Queen Jeanne
This is a magnificent pavilion erected in the Vallon de la Fontaine by Jeanne de Quiqueran, the wife of Baron des Baux at the time. With its Renaissance style, this pavilion once adorned the garden of the Baux family. In short, the simplicity and originality of the pavilion of Queen Jeanne will leave you with a beautiful memory.
Go to the Hôtel de Porcelet
This is a hotel like no other. Indeed, although it has existed for more than 400 years, the Hôtel des Porcelets remains one of the most beautiful buildings in the village. Formerly owned by the noble families of Provence, is currently dedicated to the exhibition of the works of Yves Brayer, a famous painter, illustrator, and theatre designer. It is mainly to him that we owe the decoration of the chapel of the White Penitents.
Admire the Museum of Santons
This museum is one of the most famous attractions in the village of Les Baux-de-Provence. You will discover a whole range of hyper-realistic miniature scenes, resulting from the hard work of some very talented artists. Indeed, figurines have been collected there for more than two millennia so you can only imagine the number of works to be seen there, encompassing nearly 400 small figurines, including Neapolitan figurines and church figurines dating from the 19th century (besides, we have a selection of the places where you can buy the most Provence for Christmas).
See the Careers of Lights
The Carrières de Lumières are in fact limestone quarries located in the Val d’Enfer. They host immersive exhibitions (official site), allowing you to admire masterpieces projected onto the rock walls, pillars, and even floors.
For the record, these quarries were used for the construction of the city of Les Baux and its castle. They were brought back to life in the 1960s by Jean Cocteau after a long closure, and he put them to good use for his film Le Testament d’Orphée . Since 1977, the audio-visual shows have followed one after another. There are a hundred video projectors and more than twenty loudspeakers installed on the site. The set creates an atmosphere of total immersion and a dreamy setting that you will not soon forget.
Visit the Trémaïre and the Gaïe
Les Gaïe is the term used to designate a stele representing two half-length figures, dressed in togas. Next to it is a bas-relief of the Three Marys, which is called “Tre Maïre” in Provençal. They are both funerary steles featuring the effigy of these characters. It is not very complicated to get there, just follow a small path through the scrubland and you will find these steles at the foot of the rocky outcrop and the Château des Baux.
With that, our selection of unmissable things to do in Les Baux-de-Provence is over. We hope it has been useful to you. If you have any other suggestions, please let us know in the comments.