St Remy De Provence is a beautiful Provencal village nestled deep in the French countryside, located to the east of Arles, the south of Avignon and the west of Salon De Provence. The area is outstanding for its natural beauty and St Remy de Provence is a gem of a village, almost totally un spoilt by the vagaries of time. It has a famous connection with the painter Vincent Van Gogh who loved this village and the surrounding area. He featured it in over 150 of his works, a significant part of his entire output, and a reflection of the beauty that many artists in addition to Van Gogh discovered in this area. Indeed probably overcome with its beauty he received psychiatric treatment at the Monastery Saint-Paul de Mausole, a 16th century hospital. If you want, there are guided visits featuring Van Gogh, Nostradamus and the Glanum site, but if your requirements are slightly less high brow, then walking and hiking are available along with tennis, swimming, horse riding, petanque (the local name for the game of boule) and even fishing. For most of the year there are daily festivals, markets and other events for visitorâ€™s entertainment.
Remy St Provence is a fascinating little place. Leafy squares, ancient cobbled streets, alcoves and archways enclose a myriad of commercial establishments, offering art galleries, craft out lets, elegant boutiques, lovely restaurants, old fountains and cafe's throughout the village. It is a leafy and lush environment with a long history of olive production in the area. It stands on one of the oldest archeological sites in Europe, with the third century "Comptoir de Glanum" predating the Roman influence by over 700 years. The "Grand Thermes" predates even the 3rd century ruins, claiming to be 10 -30 years BC, when they claim that the thermal waters were harnessed for local use, although I believe that is unlikely. There are however 2 official French monuments, the "L'Arc De Triomphe" and the "Mausolee des Antiques" Nearby are some other Provencal villages which merit a visit. By far the most popular, receiving a reputed 1.5 million visitors a year is nearby Les Baux De Provence, with no less than 22 historic monuments to see. It also has a vast array of wonderful little shops selling crafts and the inevitable olives, but also some very elegant boutiques and a number of galleries and art shops. Set above the Provencal plane at 245 metres above sea level, that's around 750 feet, it has the moat spectacular views over the Villas in Provence countryside. Another village worth a visit is Maussane, one of the most important olive oil growing and producing areas in the whole of France. Staying in the vicinity is possible at the many gites and the few hotels, but the quality of these vary. Perhaps a better option is to look to rent a private villa for a week or a couple of weeks. There are a number available and many of the agencies handling these rentals speak English, or indeed, in some cases are English, and to avoid any misunderstandings with a French rental contract it may be better to find one of these, which is quite easily done on the internet.
To get to St Remy De Provence requires a car. There is precious little public transport in the area, and its remoteness from any major towns, whilst a godsend if you are looking for peace and quiet, can be a problem if you are not independently mobile. Flying to the area, the nearest airport is Nimes, but that has only 3 regular destinations, Brussels, London Luton and Liverpool, all courtesy of our Irish friends Ryanair. There are other airports a little further away offering flights to many European destination, at Toulon and Marseilles, but international flights are rare unless you go to Nice, under 2 hours drive away, which has daily flights to Montreal, New York and almost every major European city.