Turn south at St.-Remy-de-Provence on the motor way D5. Visit the Cloitre St.-Paul-de-Mausole, see where Vincent van Gogh spent the last year of his life and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. In 2010, we paid an entrance fee of 4 euro.
This modest home is the birthplace of Michel de Nostredame or Nostradamos (1503), a Jewish physician and astrologer who became famous for his vague predictions about the future. Unlike many creative souls, he became well-known in his lifetime.
The second story window to the left is where he was born. Nostradamos lived in a town near his birthplace most of his life.
It is said that he specialized in treating victims of the plague, a disease that raged through Europe in medieval times. His writing brought him notoriety, respect and wealth.
Although St. Remy did not appreciate artist Vincent Van Gogh during his lifetime, they remedied the slight by dedicating two rooms of the Musee Estrine in his honor.
This museum, housed in a former 18th century mansion, primarily features artists of the 20th century. Inside this elegant building you'll see pieces by Alechinsky, Doucet, Gleizes, Eugene Leroy, Edouard Pignon and others. Gleizes, a French cubist painter, actually lived in St. Remy from 1939-1953.
Musee Estrine is located just a short distance from City Hall. Hours are Tusday -Sunday from 10:30am-12:30p.m. amd frp, 4pm-6pm; Wednesdays from 10:30am-6pm. There is an admission price of 3.20 euros for adults; students 1.30 euros.
The Alpilles is a 15 miles spur at the southwest edge of the Luberon Mountains beyond Cavaillon with peaks that are 3-400 meters high and essentially devoid of trees and predominantly made up of limestone. In the west edge of the little chain of peaks are remains of a medieval city, les Baux-de-Provence.
The small cloister is adjacent to the church. It is square with only three bays on each side but the number of columns is not triple in each bay but there are two columnettes.The aisles have tunnel vaults. There is no sculpture. The capitals have floral forms and a few are figurative, such as zodiac signs.
Along the side of the church is a bust of van Gogh by Ossip Zadkine. He was not the only famous resident, but Albert Schweitzer occupied the same room during the First World War (both not yet famous). Further on there are vegetable and fruit gardens behind the asylum where many famous paintings by van Gogh were made. It is possible to enter the Asylum and we were shown equipment used in earlier days such as special bath tubs looking like tight fitting coffins used for cooling baths.
This priory has been known by this name since the 12C when the church was built. It was at this time that the massive bell tower was built and as well as the cloister. It passed into the hands of the Benedictines and then the Augustinians and finally the Franciscans. Finally at the Revolution it became state property. It became an asylum in 1803. In 1889 van Gogh voluntarily entered the institution and remained here for one year.
Besides the large number o foundations and some ;lower walls, there are couple of roughly decorated floors with a variety of brick and inlaid stone work but not mosaic.A moderate amount of reassembly work has been doe, such as an archway and walls. Many pieces are in the town museum, the Hotel de Sade.
Across the road from the Antiquities is the destroyed city of Glanum. It was eliminated in about 270 and the city was seen to slowly rise again nearby as St.Remy. The original city was started in the 6C BC as a Celto-Ligurian sanctuary and developed into a prominent Roman stop after crossing the Alps. After the 4C the site became covered by an alluvial deposit and not discovered until the 19C withsome incidental findings and in 1921 an extensive uncovering began which still cntinues.
The Mausoleum standing next to the Triumphal Arch, south of St.-Remis is a rare example of an ancient monument that is in pristine condition. It was built during the first years of the 1C AD to honor the grandsons of Augustus, namely his heirs Caius and Lucias, both of whom died as young warriors. On the base of the structure is a square podium with battle scenes. The next level is also a four sided arch housing statues of the honorees. The third level is a circular colonnade with a conical roof which once was topped by a pine cone.
The vault of the Triumphal arch is intact and has a coffered ceiling with uniform hexagonal floral centers. The edge of the arch is decorated with groups of flowers and sheaves of leaves and buds. This is probably the first Roman monument in Europe outside of Italy.
On the piers on each of the surfaces of the arch are bas reliefs. On the left side of the arch the inner figure on each surface is a Victorious Warrior (dressed in a short skirt) and laterally a Goddess of Victory. Each of the statues are partial items. On the other side one of these is a bas relief containing captives both male and female, one female sitting with a forlorn look.
Just 1 km south of St. Remy, at the left of the road as one leaves town, is an open area containing two ancient Roman monuments. The nearest one is the Triumphal Arch and the further one ys tge Mausoleum, which is a cenotaph built a generation after the first one of about 20 BC. The Arch has worn away and the upper platform is gone and a gabled top was created in the 18C. The Mausoleum looks almost new but an upper cone pine is gone from this three level beauty.
As you stroll through the streets of St. Remy, you might eventually come upon Place Jules Pelissier, where the town square and Dolphin fountain are located.
The town square fronts St. Remy's town hall (shown in the background), built in the 16th century on the site of a former convent. The flag of France waves daily outside the building.
I couldn't resist having my picture taken at the fountain.
Beautifully preserved medieval architecture, charming shopfronts trimmed in traditional Provence Blue or windows showcasing tantalizing pastry and freshly baked baguettes all added to St. Remy's appeal.
As one rounded a corner another unique aspect of this ancient town appeared, whether it be an aging fountain or a intricately wrought balcony. The narrow streets might lead to patisseries or boulangeries, public squares or petite alleyways filled with a variety of potted flowers.
This medieval town has much to offer the traveler and those who value all things historic.