Welcome to Provence
Visit Les-Baux-de-Provence, one of the most picturesque Provence villages...
Les Baux de Provence is one of the most visited villages in the Provence.. In fact, it might even be the second most visited village in France... after Mont-Saint-Michel. To illustrate: the current population of Les Baux about 500 souls, whereas the average number of visitors per year is more than 1.5 million. What makes this quaint little village so attractive? An absolute must see when exploring the Provence?
For one, it’s setting is absolutely stunning, perched on a rocky plateau at 245m above sea level, overlooking the valley below and the surrounding landscape of Les Alpilles. It’s central location in this historically and culturally rich region of France also make it an ideal base from which to discover the unique Provence region.
The once hauntingly deserted village, was “rediscovered” by poets and painters during the 19th Century, and has since been lovingly restored. No cars are allowed in the village and no less than 22 buildings and architectural elements have so far been granted a spot on the National Historical Heritage list.
Particularly the huge castle and citadel ruins dominate the skyline of Les Baux, and keeps drawing many visitors. This “eagles nest” fortress was built by the Lords of Les Baux in the 10th century, and has subsequently been altered and also made it possible for a permanent settlement to be built on the previously inhospitable marshes.
It spreads over more than 7 ha and you will need about one and a half hour to complete your visit…But it is well worth it! From the top of the citadel, you get breathtaking panoramic views towards Arles, the Camargue wetlands and the rugged, Les Alpilles.
The delightful region of Les Alpilles...
South of Avignon is the wild Chaine des Alpilles, a mountain chain composed of limestone rocks, garrigue and olive groves. Stretched between Rhone and La Durance rivers, its main towns are Saint-Remy de Provence (North) and Maussane-les-Alpilles village (South).
The Vallee des Baux, where delicious AOC olive oil is made, links these two towns. The central location of Benvengudo makes it your ideal Alpilles hotel & restaurant.
Les Alpilles features
Les Alpilles is not an especially high mountain range (498m at its highest point, Tour des Opies); however it stands out clearly from the Rhone plain around. There are numerous walking and cycling tracks to explore on the 50.000 hectares Les Alpilles offer.
16 villages and towns, from 150 to 11.500 habitants, are found in the region, with approximately 70.000 people in total living there today.
Les Alpilles surroundings host more than a hundred rare or protected species, including the Bonelli's eagle, the Egyptian vulture and the eagle owl.
From a cultural point of view, Les Alpilles includes more than 200 archaeological sites (some dating as far back as the Roman occupancy!) and monuments, transforming every visit to the region into an historical walk through castles and astonishing sceneries.
Artists have always found inspiration from Les Alpilles region: at the end of the 19th century, Alphonse Daudet published 'Tartarin de Tarascon' and 'Les Lettres de mon Moulin'; both staging Les Alpilles. More notoriously, Vincent Van Gogh painted many images of Les Alpilles' landscapes during his time in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence on the north side of the mountains.
What to do in Les Alpilles
A cultural visitor will obviously be delighted with a walk through Les Alpilles small villages and towns, like Fontvieille (with Alphonse Daudet famous windmill), Orgon (19th century monastery), Eygalières (12th century chapel, notably, but also the castle ruins and the old village), Saint-Étienne-du-Grès, Eyguières (Tour des Opies, roman villa) or Lamanon (castle), amongst others.
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Les Alpilles with mountain bike, horse riding, hill walking, hiking and air ballooning not to be missed.
The friendly staff at your Alpilles hotel & restaurant will be able to guide you during your next stay.
Aix en Provence... History began 2000 years ago...
Located 45 minutes from Benvengudo lies Aix en Provence, a city rich in heritage and an historical town of art, culture and education.
The central Provence location of Benvengudo makes it your ideal Aix an Provence hotel & restaurant, allowing you to appreciate the history and culture of the city, and then return to the peace and tranquility of your hotel in Les Baux.
Aix en Provence features
Established around 122 BC by the Greeks, Aix en Provence is one of the earliest Roman colonies of ancient Gaul. The region is located between the Durance in the north, the Etoile range and the Olympe and Aurélien mountains in the south and spans over 18,600 hectares with approximately 140,000 residents.
Aix en Provence has long been a centre of art and culture. In the 15th century, King René chose the city to establish his court, renowned for its patronage of arts, science and literature. The King himself was a poet, philanthropist and artist and he turned Provence into a rich and elegant kingdom, celebrating a refined way of life. Under King René’s rule, Aix en Provence entered a period of commercial prosperity and cultural vitality.
“Modern” Aix dates from the post 1939-1945 era. Expansion came with the construction of a new university to the south of town, the International Music Festival (1948), the Institute for Foreign Students, and the Institute for American Universities, all contributing to its international renown. Today Aix remains an important educational centre, with many universities, training colleges, lycées, and a college of art and design.
Aix en Provence is the birthplace of many famous philosophers, artists and composers, the most famous being the French painter Paul Cezanne, born in Aix in 1839. He spent most of his time between Paris and Aix, staying also at L'Estaque and Les Lauves in Aix where he had a studio.
Cezanne’s influence is heavily felt in Aix en Provence and the Tourist Office offers guided tours of the popular Cézanne sites where you can walk in the steps of the renowned artist. He is buried in the Saint Pierre cemetery, near his favourite route du Tholonet.
Opposite the Sainte-Victoire mountain lays the Vasarely Foundation, a building which is a work of art in itself, hosting 42 life-size works by the internationally acclaimed artist Vasarely, recognised as the father of "cinetism" and leader of the Op-art movement. Vasarely's project was both architectural and social, wishing to demonstrate that contemporary art can be incorporated in architecture to enhance everyday life. His innovations in colour, shape and optical illusion have had a strong influence on many modern artists.
What to do in Aix en Provence
Aix en Provence is a city rich in heritage and culture with historical attractions easily discovered walking around the main town. Visitors will find many museums, foundations, cultural attractions and archaeological sites that pay homage to its history.
One of the most famous museums is the Musée Granet which has an interesting collection of European paintings, including a very good collection of works by local artist, Paul Cézanne. Le Musée des Tapisseries, located in the Archbishop’s Palace, houses a superb display of tapestries and the Musée Arbaud and Musée du Vieil Aix are some of the important and famous museums in the city.
As you explore Aix through the labyrinth of narrow streets, you will understand why the city is sometimes referred to as the city of a thousand fountains. Amongst the many fountains is the ancient Espéluque fountain, Le bon Roi René fountain which was built in the 15th century and named after Roi René who introduced Muscat grapes to Provence, and the most elaborate fountain, La Rotonde, built in 1860, which serves as a roundabout in the centre of the city.
Two major festivals are held in Aix every year. The Festival d’Aix en Provence is held in late June and July and 'Musique dans la Rue' takes place in June to coincide with the national 'Fête de la Musique'. Other main attractions include the Cathédrale Saint Sauveur which is situated to the north in the medieval part of Aix, the Archbishop’s Palace, the former palace of the archbishops of Aix-en-Provence and the Clock Tower erected in 1510.
These historical wonders and cultural delights are not to be missed on your next visit to Aix en Provence and the friendly staff at your hotel will be able to assist you during your next stay.
Here at Benvengudo Hotel and Restaurant we wish to ensure your stay in Saint-Remy-de-Provence is as idyllic as one could dream of...
Saint-Remy-de-Provence boasts a tranquil location in the far southern reaches of France within the Bouches-du-Rhone department. Its location is an immense part of its draw as it is only 12 miles from Avignon and just a short distance from the breathtaking Alpilles mountain range.
The central location of our hotel makes this beautiful old town an ideal place to visit during your stay with us and transport can easily be arranged. There is a wide range of attractions to discover in this ever-popular part of the country and history shows that this unspoilt haven in the heart of Provence has been admired throughout the years by artists, writers and royalty.
Features of Saint-Remy-de-Provence
One of its biggest claims to fame derives from some of its former residents. Nostradamus, the famous 16th century astrologer and soothsayer, was born in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, and he is honoured in several museums in the region. The world-renowned artist Vincent van Gogh was treated for psychiatric problems in the local monastery and during his year-long stay he produced - among many others - the painting The Starry Night.
The whole town has an old fashioned atmosphere; the local residents regularly wander the quiet streets and gather in small groups every day to share a story or to play bowls. Only 10,000 people reside here but many more visit throughout the year. The architecture in Saint-Remy-de-Provence adds to the old Provencale town appeal with its ancient stone buildings and colourful shutters.
Dining out can be enjoyed in a selection of restaurants offering local food. The cafes and restaurants stay open late, converting into local bars in the evening, and many visitors like to sit in the attractive squares to enjoy a drink with the local residents.
What to do in Saint-Remy-de-Provence
A trip into the town is a delight for art buffs, history enthusiasts and those eager to soak up the atmosphere of an untouched Provencal gem.
Visitors can travel to the outskirts of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence to explore the interesting ruins of the ancient Roman city of Glanum. L'Arc de Triomphe, a huge archway, attracts many visitors and although not quite as impressive as that of Paris, it is well worth a visit.
The older part of the town is home to picturesque fountains and quaint squares and is encircled by a 14th century wall within which stand many old buildings that are mainly used as residential homes. A stroll around this part of the town makes for a pleasant afternoon.
The 19th century Dolphin Fountain can be found in a shady square, and a 16th century former convent can also be admired nearby.
Whilst the town boasts a certain classic feel, it is also busy and constantly growing in popularity with tourists. The centre of the town is often a hive of activity as locals mingle with visitors on market days, and the cafes lining the streets fill with the friendly chatter of many languages. The majority of people visit this magical town during the warm summer months and pre-booking accommodation and travel during peak periods is advisable.
If you would like to find out more about Saint-Remy-de-Provence, our team at Benvengudo Hotel and Restaurant can provide you with in-depth details on tours, transport and local attractions.
Avignon's Palais des Papes offers visitors continuous cultural activities throughout the year...
The skyline of Avignon looks like a enchanting medieval city. Overlooking the city and the Rhône river, the Rocher des Doms are an unique group of monuments, including the Saint Bénezet Bridge, (the famous « Pont d’Avignon »), the Petit Palais, the Cathedral and the most dominating feature has to be the magnificent Popes’ Palace with it's four mighty towers. These Avignon buildings have all been listed by UNESCO as « world heritage for humanity ».
The Palace of the Popes stands as a witness of the church’s influence throughout the western Christian world in the 14th century. Construction was started in 1335 and completed in less than twenty years under the leadership of two builder popes, Benedict XII and his successor Clement VI.
The Popes’ Palace is the largest Gothic palace in Europe at approximately the equivalent of 4 Gothic cathedrals!
You can visit over 20 rooms, view scenes of historic events. Most notable are the pope’s private chambers and the frescoes painted by the Italian artist Matteo Giovannetti.
The Popes’ Palace continues to play an important part in the cultural activities of the region and houses exhibitions and events throughout the year. A major art exhibit is displayed in the Great Chapel during the summer, and the most prestigious performances of the Avignon Theater Festival, created by Jean Vilar in 1947, are given in the Honor Courtyard of the Popes’ Palace during the month of July.
Avignon is a mere 25 km north of Les Baux de Provence and our Provence hotel - Benvengudo.
Benvengudo is situated in the heart of an olive grove and has been producing its own olives since 1966...
Les Baux is a small but high quality producer of olive oil, olives and all the derivative products. In the areas around Nyons and les Alpilles, olive growing is a major agricultural activity. Benvengudo produces approximately 200 litres of olive oil each year on four hectares of land which is processed at the Moulin Castelas in Les Baux and Moulin Cornille in nearby Maussane.
Moulin Jean Marie Cornille, Maussane les Alpilles
Located in a 17th century building, many master chefs say that this is one of the best olive oil mills in France. If you visit during November, you can witness the olive oil being extracted by the old traditional methods. It is then kept in vats where the sediment settles naturally without filtration which helps retain the natural flavours of the oil.
The mill is located at Rue Charloun Rieu, Maussane les Alpilles. For further information, you can contact them on +33 (0) 4 90 54 32 37 or visit Moulin Cornille website.
Moulin Castelas, Le Mas de l'Olivier
This award-winning mill, established in 2002, was built by the current owners, Catherine and Jean-Benoît Hugues who control the entire process from choosing the date of harvest to the method of production and blending of the different varieties of olives. They modelled the design on a winery as they believe the production of olive oil is similar to that of wine. The Hugues say this allows them to extract the best from each variety of olive.
The mill is in a 36-hectare olive grove located in the Vallée des Baux de Provence area. The oil made at the Castelas Mill is produced from a variety of olives such as Salonenque, Aglandau, Grossane and Verdale. The different varieties are tasted and blended to produce an olive oil with a unique Castelas flavour and their olive oil was awarded a gold medal in Paris in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
The Mill is located at 13520 Les Baux de Provence, Le Mas de l'Olivier. For further information, contact them on +33(0)4 90 54 50 86 or visit Moulin Castelas website.
A trip to Les Baux would not be complete without taking home a souvenir from the most renowned olive oil mills in the region. Moulin Jean Marie Cornille is a historic, traditional mill whereas Moulin Castelas is a celebration of modern technology. Visit their respective websites for directions on how to reach the mills or order online from their e-boutiques.