Provence Odyssey | Saint-Rémy: Day 8 – Picture-Perfect Provence
Much has been said about the surroundings of Saint-Rémy – the startling archeological remains of Glanum on its outskirts, the tranquil beauty of the Hospital of Saint Paul de Mausole, and the incredible beauty of nearby Les Baux – but I have said very little about the little town of Saint-Rémy itself. And it would be unfair not to give this little Provençal gem its fair mention, even though, as perhaps the photos below will demonstrate, the beauty of this town is better illustrated through photos than words.
For Saint-Rémy is one of those picture-perfect little towns about which the guidebooks rave, and the midwinter daydreamer, wrapped up against the cold, can only dream: A town of only 8 or 9 main streets, each winding around a charming central square with a trickling fountain at its centre, and a single local café covering the old cobbles with tables and umbrellas for those seeking solace from the sun. Radiating out from this centre point are clusters of little boulangeries, fish shops and delicatessens, while gift shops sell stylish selections of Marseille soap and bundles of lavender, all wrapped up and ready to go home where their sweet floral scent will imbue even the most dreary of homes with a Provençal perfume.
Between the little boutiques, an impressive selection of high-end galleries are to be found – for Saint-Rémy has built itself a reputation as a rather chic Provençal destination, a town whose souvenir shops sell well-packaged, pastel-toned quality nicknacks of France, rather than the garish trade of lesser towns. And in its restaurants, freshly made cakes and pastries line up in the windows like the latest models of a fashion show, and menus de jour almost sparkle with pumped up prices and all the pomp of the promised culinary show.
Yes, Saint-Rémy is truly a gem of Provence, a town which is small enough to be unspoilt, charming and deeply atmospheric, yet sufficiently well-developed on the tourist map to bear all of the hallmarks of a sophisticated polished holiday destination. We were pretty much enamoured by the town from our first walk through its centre – by the narrow little streets, the delicately perfumed shops, the pastel-coloured shutters, old shop signs and bustling street markets. And on this, our last day in the town, we returned to those now accustomed haunts, once again gazing through the windows of the little boutique shops, enjoying the gentle pitter-patter of water in the fountain outside the town hall, and having a noisette or two (macchiato coffee) in the shady central square.
In short, we had found picture-perfect Provence, and were determined to make the most of it. For later that day, our planned departure would whisk us away once again, voyaging south to our final destination: the city of Aix. But before that, I leave you with some more of my photographic moments. Adieu.
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- Provence Odyssey | Saint-Rémy: Day 6 – In search of Van Gogh (Part 2) (daily-norm.com)
- Provence Odyssey | Saint-Rémy: Day 6 – The Grandeur of Ancient Glanum (daily-norm.com)
- Provence Odyssey | Les Baux: Day 7 – The Belle of the Alpilles (daily-norm.com)