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Les Baux de Provence - beaux Baux

Les Baux de Provence is a truly beautiful village that is found in that fortunate part of southern France known as Provence. Not contenting itself with a spectacular position, high on a rocky spur offering dramatic views from all sides, Baux also has a romantic ruined castle, and streets and houses that simply ooze ancient charm. All this and the Provençal sunshine too!

Historical Baux

Records of life in Les Baux de Provence have been found dating back to 6000 BC, though the castle only dates back to the 10th century. From the 16th century onwards Les Baux de Provence seemed to prosper, and in the 19th century the town gave its name to the aluminium ore discovered here, bauxite.

Sights to see...

For sightseeing, you have to take in the ruined castle, once said to have been the mediaeval centre for the "arts of love" (!), as it occupies its lofty position above the village. The citadel offers an interesting if perhaps, gruesome insight into the not so subtle arts of mediaeval warfare, with a display of reconstructed armaments such as battering rams, catapults and ballistas on show. The other major sight to see is the unforgettable vista from the citadel, across Provence towards the Mediterranean Sea, which is just visible as a blue haze in the distance on a clear day. Les Baux de Provence also has churches and variously themed museums to visit, ensuring that you will fill days quite easily without leaving the village.

And shopping to do...

If a little Provençal village in the hills doesn't sound like a Mecca for shoppers, think again. This little gem of a place is not only steeped in sunshine and history, but also provides a delightful shopping experience too, with a myriad of small shops offering a bewildering array of goods, from local wines, honey and lavender perfumes to original art and crafts. Then there are its restaurants too, offering a fine dining experience to all.

Santons

Perhaps one of the more unusual and interesting of the crafts you can discover here is the making of the distinctive "santons", or terracotta figurines which show the people of Provence in their traditional occupations and dress. Baux has a shop where the santonnier actually makes the figures in front of your eyes, providing a unique opportunity to see a little piece of living history.

Olives and vineyards

Les Baux de Provence is known for its olives and high quality olive oil production, as well as for its AOC distinctive wines, grown on the slopes of the Alpilles mountain range.

Out and about

In a region such as Provence, it isn't so much a question of what can you do or where can you go, as what you can possibly bear to leave out. Unless you have a lifetime at your disposal you will never have had enough of this fabulous part of France. There are many lovely villages to discover, or you could go to the town of Avignon to see the famous bridge, to Marseille to experience the buzz of France's second city, spend a day swimming in the warm waters of the Med, or... the possibilities are endless. Just enjoy.

Sports on offer

And if your favourite ways of spending your time involve sports, you will be equally spoiled for choice. Close to Les Baux de Provence you will find many activities including cycling and horse-riding, which is a wonderful way to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Provençal countryside. Or perhaps you may prefer to play golf, as there is a lovely course right on the doorstep of the village. The weather in Provence is usually reliably hot and sunny all summer, and cooler and sunny in the winter too, so it is unlikely to rain on you to spoil your round, unlike in Britain! Walkers should note that the GR6, the Grande Randonnée, runs right through the village.

How to get there

Les Baux de Provence is easily accessed from the UK as it is close to Nîmes, Marseille and Montpellier, all of which offer direct flights to and from the UK. Nîmes is served by Ryanair; Montpellier by easyJet and Ryanair; and Marseille by British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, Aer Lingus and bmibaby. The TGV is another good option, running to Nîmes, Avignon and Marseille from Paris. Marseille is the furthest option, 60 minutes away, Nîmes is 30 minutes away and Avignon only 20 minutes away. If driving, you can follow the A54/N113 or the romantically named A7, the Auto route de Soleil.

Property prices and availability in and around Les Baux de Provence

Since the area came into the public consciousness with the publication and massive popularity of Peter Mayle's book, "A Year in Provence", everyone and his auntie dreams of owning a property there, so prices have soared. You can still find property without having to be a millionaire, of course, but it can be difficult to obtain bargains these days unless you are very fortunate. Still if you have a little cash then you really can live the dream, as around Les Baux de Provence there are some gorgeous properties on the market.

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Les Baux de Provence AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Les Baux de Provence?

Les Baux de Provence is situated in the south of France. It lies in the west of the Bouches du Rhône department.

Les Baux de Provence Property Map

IN THE REGION OF PROVENCE-ALPES-CÔTE D'AZUR

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Guide

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Property Map

IN THE DEPARTMENT OF BOUCHES-DU-RHÔNE

Bouches-du-Rhône Guide

  Bouches-du-Rhône Map


Population: 434


Access: By air: Fly to Nîmes, Montpellier or Marseille. By rail: From Paris, the TGV will take you to Avignon, Nîmes or Marseille. By road: The village lies not far from the N113/A54.


Economy: The modern economy is based on tourism, from which it derives a very good income.


Interesting fact: The aluminium ore known as bauxite was first found in the village, and took its name from it.


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