Les Baux-de-Provence Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Les Baux-de-Provence

  • lotharlerch's Profile Photo

    Climb through the ruins

    by lotharlerch Updated Jan 19, 2008

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    The ruins are fascinating both because of their very specific setting on the reef of the Alpilles and because of the interesting traces of millenia of history of this place you can find. It is rather nice and free of charge to wander around in the village with its few hundreds of inhabitants which is built into and sitting partly on some of the ruins on the rock but for the really interesting part of the ruins you have to pay an enrance fee. If you are going to visit either Nimes or Orange or both places after your visit of Les Baux it is a great idea to buy a general ticket for all these places (or just for two of them) - it saves you quite some money!

    Here - and at the other places - you get also an audioguide without extra fee which is very useful.

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    Fortified City Falls to Canon

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 21, 2008

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    Ruins
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    «No one passes through Les Baux without a sense of true nostalgia, for here, more than anywhere else, the labours of time show what becomes of the most ambitious undertakings: ruined walls and breaches onto the void. The stones of man’s proud constructions devoured by the sun and wind. Only traces remain of their ambition, fears and solitude»
    (T.Fréchier)

    In early times, it was quite common to settle on a hilltop where a fort could be built to defend the town. But the fortifications could not stand against modern cannons.

    In the words of Mistral, the Lords of Les Baux were "never vassals". He was correct, since they were among the most powerful feudal lords in France’s Midi who ruled 79 fiefs with an iron hand for five centuries, crushing all insubordinance. They claimed to be the descendants of one of the three Magi, Balthazar. The evening star (Saint Estelle) was the sixteen-pointed star on the coat of arms of the Lords of Baux.

    We might look at some events that occurred before Les Baux was finally overcome by France. For nearly twenty years, Raymond des Baux waged the Baussenque wars (1145 to 1162), fighting the Count of Barcelona for the earldom of Provence. He was known as "the scourge of Provence" - he found throwing prisoners off the top of the castle to be an effective solution. At the same time, Les Baux was also the location of the famous Courts of Love where poetry and song were occupations for the inhabitants.

    The castle was destroyed by Louis XI (in 1483). The most famous governor was Constable Anne de Montmorency, embarked on considerable restoration work, and the town saw a return to splendour. The Constable had the Treasury archives transferred to the citadel from Aix, where they were under threat from Charles V’s troops.

    However, the castle and city walls were eventually destroyed under Richelieu’s orders because of the rebellious Protestantism of the Manville family who managed what had by now become just a barony. The ramparts were defended for 27 days but in the end they surrendered. Less than two hundred years later, Les Baux at last became the marquisate of the Grimaldi royal family of Monaco.

    Now the village has been painstakingly restored and several buildings in the village are classified as "Historic Monuments." When we were there, it was still in the original ruins.

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  • Toshioohsako's Profile Photo

    Baux village

    by Toshioohsako Updated Oct 12, 2009

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    It is a pleasant and interesting experience to walk up through the narrow pavements of the Baux village. You will be surrounded by interesting houses, streets, monuments and artisan shops. Stop and have a coffee in onw of the terrace coffee shops - you can see a magnificent village view below.

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  • Anjutka's Profile Photo

    Climb up and down through the vineyards

    by Anjutka Updated Nov 20, 2007

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    That is what you most probably will do when in Les Baux. The place is very crowded under daytime but Lothar told me that it is almost empty in the morning. But for this he was camping very close to the place.

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  • rwlittle's Profile Photo

    the Saracen Tower

    by rwlittle Updated Apr 23, 2004

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    the Saracen Tower, les Baux

    I'm not sure why it is called the Saracen Tower, visible in the upper left of the photograph. Yoou can also see some signs of the foundations in the foreground, and the village of les Baux in the background.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Coming to Les Baux

    by hquittner Written Apr 12, 2011

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    A View of the Alpilles
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    Les Baux sits on the west edge of the Alpilles, 3 km south of Glanum. Almost all of the Alpilles chain stretches east from here for 11 miles (an area southwest of the Luberon). The walls of the Alpilles are almost white and are not very tall. This area was used by van Gogh in several great paintings. From inside the town one can look out into a small valley which is part of the commune. Here is where there is the famous Ousteau de Baumiere.

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    Inside St. Vincent's Church

    by hquittner Written Apr 7, 2011

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    An Ancient Knight's Tomb
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    The inside of St. Vincent's is dark and aside from a few adornments nothing remains. In the depth along one wall is a tomb of a knight from the 15C. In the back wall is an ancient small heraldic shield and nearby is a small statue of St. Francis with raised arms. A recent fine window by Max Ingrand completes the items to see.

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    Look In the White Penitents' Chapel

    by hquittner Written Apr 8, 2011

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    The Penitents' Chapel
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    The chapel is close to the edge of the cliff on the east. It is a plain structure with a a small belfry and minimal carved decoration. Inside the chapel has bee covered with recent frescos of surrounding the Birth of Jesus by Yves Breyer.

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    Visit the Hotel de Manville

    by hquittner Updated May 12, 2011

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    Hotel de Ville (Part of Hotel de Manville)
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    Part of the Hotel de Manville still stands and is used as the Hotel de Ville and is also used for other activities. Several rooms have been made into a modern art museum. Immediately beyond the hotel, there are the remains of a Protestant oratory. It consists of the outer wall enclosing a fine Renaissance large window framing sculptural elements. Along the upper framing is a Protestant religious saying "Post Tenebras Lux)". The adjacent street leads down to the Grande Rue through a narrow street past ruined walls.

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  • rwlittle's Profile Photo

    Mideval re-enactment

    by rwlittle Written Apr 23, 2004

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    a knight at les Baux

    We caught a re-enactment of mideval life whilst touring the citadel, presenting folks as if they were knights and ladies in waiting. In the photo, you can see a knight in exhibition, trying to pierce an apple whilst at gallop.

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  • Alimacg's Profile Photo

    The Castle of Les Baux de Provence

    by Alimacg Written May 1, 2006

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    Lavender and lime
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    This was not on my list of "to do's" but travelling with a teenager really took one to different places! This is a definite to do! but in order to fully appreciate what you are actually seeing, I would advise to hire the handset! In fact, hire handsets on any tours if travelling with a teenager!

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    See the Church of St. Vincent

    by hquittner Written Apr 7, 2011
    St. Vincent's Church and Its Campanile
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    The facade of St. Vincent is a plain Romanesque building with unadorned arcading. It sits in a small square. The unside is dimly lit. Much of the vertical deeper wall is modifying of the surface of the cliff. Adjacent to the north of the church is a campanile whose belfry is completed above by a rising pointed top.

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  • kathymof's Profile Photo

    Art in a Quarry

    by kathymof Updated Sep 23, 2013
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    Les Carrieres de Lumieres is art - sound and light show - in an old abandoned quarry, not far from Les Baux de Provence. . They change the exhibit every so often. When I was there they were projecting art on the walls of the quarry and playing classical music. When I heard about this I thought it sounded hokey but I fell in love with it and did not want to leave. It is the most amazing sound and light show I have ever seen and you are totally immersed in it. The art is projected onto the walls, ceiling and floor so you are literally walking through it. I would rank it as one of the absolute must sees if you are in this part of Provence. My pictures are a little blurry but the only light was from the images that were being projected on the walls of the quarry.

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  • Alimacg's Profile Photo

    The Castle of Les Baux de Provence

    by Alimacg Written May 1, 2006
    Lavender and lime
    2 more images

    This was not on my list of "to do's" but travelling with a teenager really took one to different places! This is a definite to do! but in order to fully appreciate what you are actually seeing, I would advise to hire the handset! In fact, hire handsets on any tours if travelling with a teenager!

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  • solopes's Profile Photo

    The Castle

    by solopes Updated Dec 23, 2013

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    Les Baux de Provence - France

    Standing in the top of the hill, this ruined structure includes several buildings from different epochs.

    There is a audio guided visit in six languages, but we skipped it.

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