Thursday, February 21, 2013
A day in St Remy
If staying or visiting St Remy for a single day, here are some ideas of what to do…..
For Van Gogh’s fan
- The hospital of St Paul de Mausolée where Van Gogh spent the last year of his life (see the post)
- The Musée Estrine (closed for complete refurbishment until Oct 2013). A museum dedicated to contemporary artist with a large collection and a section about Van Gogh’s life.
For old stones addicts
The Greco Roman ruins of Glanum. Ancestor to our actual village, the site offers you a visit back in time. Inhabited since about the 7th Century BC …… The site was invaded by the Greek and then the roman. Most of the Greek’s constructions where obviously destroyed and the stone reused to built the wealthy roman city of Glanum. However you can still find traces of them. The town was eventually abandoned around 260 after Christ when the Alammanics invaded this part of France.
“Re” discovered in 1921, the road, built on the site itself, was diverted in order to open the site to visitors. A little museum at the entrance of the building explains the different phases and models show you how the city looked like in Greek and Roman’s time. Do not miss it since the site itself might prove hard to understand.
The site is a jewel but a bit difficult to apprehend when visiting on your own. Guided tour are available but in French only.
For roman Lovers, a restaurant named Taberna Romana where you can eat Roman dishes is located at the end of the trails. Since the owner is changing I cant give information on the 2013 menu for the time being.
The “Antiques” refer to:
- the Arch, entrance to the city of Glanum, showing the glory of the Roman against the “Gaulois” (my favorite is the one where you see the strong naked Gaulois dominated by the skinny Roman with a toga : cleverness is stronger than strength)
- The Mauseleum of the Juliim basically a tomb/grave to the glory of a wealthy Gaulois family turned roman. This to show how the roman where working toward peace and integration.
The Peiroou Dam (Barrage). Not really a roman site but the dam was rebuilt in 1891 at the place of the one built by the roman
TheVia Domitia : A walk through the oldest road in France built in roman time. (nice spot located close to the arch)
Other sites are unfortunately not available to visit, such as the underground canal passing through the village to bring water from the marshland to Arles (about 50 km with a very little slope).
For History Lover
- The Musée des Alpilles is focusing on Ethnology and the creation of the Alpilles and shows also non permanent exhibition (currently local artist’s Auguste Gonfond illumination (enluminure as in drawings). The museum is located in a magnificent Renaissance (XVIth Century) building on the nicest square in the heart of the old village.
- The visit of St Remy centre. Though its nicely redone pedestrian street, get a map from the tourist office, lift your head and open your eyes to come across all the marvels of St Remy, the numerous statues of the virgin Marie, the ancient buildings, the house where Nostradamus was born in 1503, the defence wall (step leading to the top, entrance of the first hospital of St Remy)…….
For food fanatics
I won’t name them all but we hosts numerous foodies artists, olive oil, chocolate, nougat, calissons, cheeses, macarons, fruits confits (cherried fruits), Lavender honey, local organic wine……..
The Wednesday market which runs all year round is one of the most popular and largest in the region. Local people shop there….. During the season, be sure to arrive early in order to find a space to park your car less than 2 miles from the centre…….
Once you’ve finished your market, the only proper place where to have a picnic is located by the entrance of the site of Glanum where a few wooden picnic tables are available…
There is over 60 restaurants in St Remy… I will soon have finished with my list of my favorite restaurants for under 20 euros at lunch….
Cooking class : several option available (but need to be book in advance)
Again a wide choice, no “high street shops” but only little shop with owners in it. You can basically find everything you want or don’t want in the St Remy shops.
To have a pastis for Aperitif under our plane tree and watch the world go by.
To try the “sacristain” (sexton) a pastry you’ll find hardly anywhere else (marzipan and puff pastry)
Trails are available for hiking in the Alpilles (see the post on access to the Alpilles)
Ok, I admit, that’s a lot for just one day…. Just pick wathever you fancy and enjoy your time !
Comments and add on are welcome, this list is far from being exhaustive
Ruins of the roman canal located in a private property
Aerial view of Saint Remy de Provence