On our last full day on our own in Provence, we once again stuck close to our “home base” in Saint-Rémy with a visit to the local church and a stroll around the village in the morning, and a tour of the Château in the nearby rocky, hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence.
The main church in Saint-Rémy, Collégiale Saint-Martin, is located at the edge of the village center. On this non-market day Tuesday, the church’s interior was very quiet. A statue of the town’s patron saint occupies a prominent location to the right of the main altar. While many aspects of the church were pretty, some of the interior is not in the best repair.
It wasn’t only the church that was empty. The narrow streets of the village center were also very quiet on this day of the off-season, even with the relatively clear skies. (Remember to click on the photos for a larger version.)
Just a six mile car ride away sits the tiny village of Les Baux and the ruins of the Château (castle) that towers over it. The castle is walking distance away from the former quarry where the Carrières de Lumières digital art center that we had visited just two days earlier is located. Built in the 11th century, the castle was overtaken and demolished in 1632.
Our legs did get a workout from all the climbing through the village and then up and down around the castle:
If this mill was still in operation, it would have been spinning rapidly on this gusty afternoon.
The castle is far from being handicap accessible, and as we explored more deeply into its upper reaches, the sign below made that clear. We’re pretty sure that OSHA would not approve of the stairwell located just past that sign.
This set of pictures helps show the rugged conditions of the castle; click to enlarge:
The views from the castle were fantastic. In the distance you could make out the city of Marseille and the edge of the Mediterranean. The nearby land was filled with lavender fields, olive groves, and vineyards. In the picture at the top of this blog post and in the photos below you can see the mountains and jagged limestone hills that are such a prominent part of the local landscape.
After all that climbing at the castle, we were so ready for dinner. We realized that the French recognize that their dogs can share their enthusiasm for fine dining.
This would be our last night at Le Mas des Carrassins. Starting to pack up that evening, we settled on a new target for our shopping trip at the weekly village market the next morning: a suitcase to hold our souvenirs and other purchases. After that, we’d return our rental car and board our ship for our weeklong cruise on the Rhône.