Tip: Use St-Rémy as a base to explore the greater Provence region

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Planning a trip to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence? Let’s dive into everything you need to know about this charming village in Provence! 

On our recent South of France road trip, we wanted to pick a single base in Provence for exploring the region. While we originally considered bigger cities like Aix-en-Provence and Avignon, which are known for their great access to public transportation, we ultimately settled on the beautiful small village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. And I am so glad that we did. 

The charming village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence with its lavender shutters
The charming village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence with its lavender shutters
Fresh fruits and veggies from the local market
Fresh fruits and veggies from the local market

Picture small winding roads, small boutiques and bustling sidewalk bistros, and lavender painted window shutters that emanate the faint smell of lavender present in the village. 

The village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence sits at the foothills of the Alpilles mountains, a charming village surrounded by stunning mountains. After five nights staying in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, I can confidently say that it is one of the most beautiful villages in France, and a perfect base for exploring the region. 

Here are a few top places to stay in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence:

Prepare for your trip to Provence:

What makes Saint-Rémy-de-Provence a great base for exploring Provence? 

If I’m being completely honest, I had never even heard of Saint-Rémy before we started considering it a base for our Provence adventures. We were a bit skeptical at first about its size, since the village is very small compared to alternatives like Avignon or Aix-en-Provence. But I’m so happy with our choice. 

Here is what makes St-Rémy such an awesome base: 

  • Small, walkable village with a local farmers market, cafes, and restaurants
  • Lot’s of boutiques for shopping lovers
  • Walkable access to a number of large grocery stores
  • Within an hour drive of tons of amazing villages and cities
  • A village rich in culture and history, with a strong connection to the famous painter Van Gogh
  • Lots of wineries and vineyards

Where to stay in Saint-Rémy

Saint-Rémy is known for its quaint boutique hotels, often housed in converted historic homes with as much charm and beauty as the town itself. 

We stayed in a small but beautiful apartment just south of the heart of the village. It was the perfect base for the week, with a large window overlooking the village and the mountains. The host was also fantastic, although we had to utilize Google Translate to get by!

Check out our apartment here!

Photo credit: Booking.com

Le Saint Remy

A boutique 5-star hotel smack in the middle of the charming village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. The hotel features both an indoor and outdoor pool.

Check rates and availability

Here are some other top-rated spots to check out:

View of St-Rémy from our apartment window
View of St-Rémy from our apartment window
The charming streets of the village
The charming streets of the village

How to get to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

My biggest piece of advice for visiting St-Rémy is to rent a car (unless you are driving from nearby and have your own car). St-Rémy does not have it’s own train station. While the town itself is super walkable, and there are buses from a few of the nearby cities that reach St-Rémy, having your own car will make your stay in St-Rémy much more enjoyable.

Here are the driving times from some nearby places: 

  • Marseille > St-Rémy: 1 hour 
  • Avignon > St-Rémy: 30 minutes
  • Aix-en-Provence > St-Rémy: 1 hour
  • Roussillon > St-Rémy: 55 minutes

Alternatively, you can join a group tour from Avignon to explore Saint-Rémy and the surrounding areas of Provence.

Getting around the village 

The village of St-Rémy is small, quaint, and super walkable. You definitely won’t need a car to explore the village itself. In fact, you can even reach popular attractions like the Van Gogh Walk and the Glanum Romans on foot, since they are just a short walk outside of the town center. 

It is also possible to walk to the trailheads, but if you have a car then it’s easier to drive and park right at the trailheads. 

Having your own car will allow you to not only explore St-Rémy, but also nearby areas like the Luberon Villages, Baux-de-Provence, and Aix-en-Provence, along with so many other places.

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Hiking to Calanque de Sugiton

Best things to do in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

Despite its small size, there are actually quite a lot of things to do in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. We thought the village would really just serve as a base for us, but we found ourselves wanting to dedicate more and more time exploring the village and surrounding attractions.

In the heart of the village you’ll find the tourist office. There are signs pointing the way so it shouldn’t be too hard to find. 

Shop at the Wednesday Farmers Market 

One of my favorite things about Provence is the daily markets that happen across the region in various villages each day. In Saint-Rémy that day falls every Wednesday. Wednesdays can be particularly busy in the village, as travelers and locals alike will visit to explore and shop at the weekly market.

You’ll find so many delicious goodies at the market from seasonal fresh fruit and veggies to cheeses, meats, and local seafood. They have both fresh and canned goods, and well at hot dishes like cooked potatoes and sandwiches. 

The Wednesday Farmers Market in Provence is also a great place to shop! You’ll find lots of local artists sharing their work, or selling handmade clothing or pottery. 

The market starts in the early morning and runs until about noon or 1pm. I recommend going early, especially in the summer months and it gets hot and busy.

Fresh bread at the Wednesday Market
Fresh bread at the Wednesday Market
So many delicious local goods to purchase in St-Rémy
So many delicious local goods to purchase in St-Rémy

Hike in the Alpilles (my favorite thing to do in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence!)

Not only is the village of St-Rémy incredibly charming, but it sits right at the foothills of the beautiful Alpilles mountains. St-Rémy has one of the most mountainous (and most beautiful) landscapes in Provence, France.

There are a number of different trails you can hike near St-Rémy. My favorite is the area around La Caume. Head just 10 minutes or so by car to the Caume Parking Lot (or add an extra hour or so onto your hike, but I warn you that the road is straight uphill at the end). 

Caume hike - view of Mont Gaussier
Caume hike – view of Mont Gaussier

From this parking lot you have access to a number of different trails, including Rocher des deux trous, the rock with two holes that inspired Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, and the Sentier des échelles du Mont Gaussier (Mont Gaussier ladder trail).

Painting by Vincent Van Gogh, inspired by Saint-Rémy (check out the 2 holes in the rock)
Painting by Vincent Van Gogh, inspired by Saint-Rémy (check out the 2 holes in the rock)

We actually combined a hike to visit both of these spots. The hike totaled around 3 miles with around 900 ft elevation gain. Not counting our time spent reading and drawing at the viewpoint, the hike took around 1 hour. We started the trail by heading to Mont Gaussier first and then backtracking to visit Rocher des deux trous up close. 

You’ll also find some beautiful (and flatter) trails to walk and bike closer to the town. 

Rock featured in Van Gogh painting
Rock featured in Van Gogh painting
Mont Gaussier ladder trail
Mont Gaussier ladder trail

Stroll the Van Gogh walk and pay a visit to the Maison de Santé Saint Paul

Saint-Rémy shares a deep-rooted connection with the world famous painter, Vincent Van Gogh. This is because he actually spent a year at Maison de Santé Saint Paul in 1889 towards the end of his life, when he committed himself to the asylum to seek help for his mental health. Unlike many other mental health institutions at this time, Maison de Santé Saint Paul took great care of their patients and actually allowed Van Gogh to continue painting while at the asylum in his own studio. Van Gogh painted over 150 of his paintings while in Saint-Rémy including his most famous painting, Starry Night. Many of his paintings, including Starry Night, are said to be inspired by the view of Saint-Rémy outside of his window.

Explore the Glanum Roman Ruins

A visit to the Glanum Roman Ruins offers a unique glimpse into the past with one of the best preserved Roman cenotaphs in the world from 20BC! You’ll find remnants of bathing areas, public spaces, and even wine smoking rooms. 

There is a parking lot right across the road from the ruins entrance with paid parking. Otherwise, you can just walk from the village, as it is only a 10 minute walk up the road from the center of town.

The parking lot is accessible from both the Roman ruins and the Maison de Santé Saint Paul, so you can visit both on one visit.

Entrance fee costs 9 euro for adults, with discounts for under 26 (from the EU) and seniors over 65. The ruins are open from 9:30am-6pm during the warmer months, and 10am-5pm during the winter months. You can check the exact timing for your visit on their website

Fun fact: Remember Van Gogh’s famous painting featuring Rocher des deux trous? The site of the Glanum ruins is actually hidden beneath the olive trees in the painting, as it had yet to be discovered and excavated (which happened in 1921) at the time of Van Gogh’s residency in St-Rémy!

Musée Estrine

Not enough Van Gogh yet? The Musée Estrine is located right in the heat of town. This museum not only features exhibitions of modern and contemporary artworks, but is home to an educational centre dedicated to Vincent van Gogh’s art and life. It is a small museum but great for learning about Van Gogh’s life and work, since he spent time living in Saint-Rémy, although there are no actual Van Gogh painting on display here.

During the summer months the museum is open all day, however in the winter it is only open in the afternoons, Entrance costs 7 euro. There are also a number of seminars and workshops hosted here for a cost.

Enjoy a wine tasting 

One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive in St-Rémy is the abundance of vineyards in the area. You won’t need to explore for too long before you stumble upon one. St-Rémy is a great place to enjoy and appreciate the local french wines. 

Here are a few traditional wine cellars where you can sample and purchase wine: 

  • Château Romanin
  • Domaine Des Terres Blanches
  • Domaine De Métifiot

If you know me, then you know that I love natural wine. So of course as soon as we arrived I started Googling around for any natural wine shops or vineyards in the area of St-Rémy. This is how I stumbled upon the beautiful family-run natural wine vineyard, La Ferme Viticole. Emilie and Bastien run a small family vineyard, producing a small selection of natural wines each year right in their home. 

Not only are they a super kind and knowledgeable couple when it comes to natural wine, but their wines are absolutely fantastic. We walked away from the tasting with 4 bottles of wine, and I truly wish that I had bought more! 

You can find them on Instagram at @lafermeviticole_elclandestino or you can email them directly at bastiensummit@yahoo.fr.

Wine tasting at La Ferme Viticole
Wine tasting at La Ferme Viticole
Delicious natural wines in St-Rémy
Delicious natural wines in St-Rémy

Head to Carrieres des Lumieres in nearby Baux-de-Provence 

Another one of the best things to do in St-Rémy is pay a visit to the nearby town of Baux-de-Provence to experience a show at the famous Carrieres des Lumieres. This is a visual and audio based exhibit that is housed in an old quarry in Baux-de-Provence. 

Although the themes change each year, the fantastic visual and audio of the exhibit is sure to remain constant! 

Tickets cost 15,50 euro for adults, with discounts for students and seniors over 65. There is also an option to buy a combined ticket for 20,50 euro which gives you access to the nearby castle. The castle was cool, but if you’re on a budget I’d probably skip the ticketed area and just view it from afar. 

You can also join a group tour and visit by e-bike from St-Rémy!

Take a road trip to the Luberon Villages

St-Rémy is a great base for exploring the Luberon Villages, which include Gordes, Roussillon, Murs, and Lourmarin. You can easily explore the first 3 in a single day. If you’d like to add on a visit to Lourmarin that is possible as well, or you can combine it with a day trip to the beautiful city of Aix-en-Provence. 

The viewpoint over the village of Gordes
The viewpoint over the village of Gordes
Roussillon town hall
Roussillon town hall

Here are some things to do in the Luberon Villages:

  • Take photos at the famous lookout point over Gordes
  • Grab lunch at Le Teston
  • Visit the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque
  • Go for a short hike at Le Sentier des Ocres
  • Shop at the Tuesday morning market in Gordes, or Thursday Marché Roussillon 
  • Grab a glass of wine at Domaine La Tuilière in Murs
  • Enjoy an almond croissant at In times past
  • Visit the nearby lavender fields in the summer months (June and July are best)
Le Sentier des Ocres hiking area
Le Sentier des Ocres hiking area
The charming village of Gordes
The charming village of Gordes

Shop at the town’s many boutiques

If you like to shop, then St-Rémy is the place for you. The village of Saint-Rémy is full of boutiques for clothing, footwear, ceramics and more. 

Join a guided food walking tour

Interested in learning more about the local cuisine in Provence? You can join a local guided food walking tour to sample the best of what St-Rémy has to offer. 

Is Saint-Rémy worth visiting? 

If you have made it this far then I hope you know that the answer to this question is a resounding YES! Saint-Rémy is absolutely worth visiting, and staying in. Saint-Rémy is a small village that is rich with culture and history, and makes an excellent vacation any time of year!

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