Alpilles, wine and oil in the Vallée des Baux-de-Provence
Wine and gastronomy
The Vallée des Baux is famed for its excellent wine and olive oil, so indulge yourself with both! A day in Les-Baux-de-Provence is a chance to get to know the land through the Baux-de-Provence and Alpilles appellations. From Domaine Dalmeran head out to see the mysterious Val d’Enfer which has inspired so many artists. At Mas Sainte-Berthe, take the time to feel the particular stony soil under foot before you enjoy delicious cuisine at La Cabro d’Or. The afternoon is dedicated to olive oil production with visits to Moulin Castelas and Mas de la Dame before finishing up at the Maussane cooperative. Time to hit the road!
The art of recognising a good vintage at Domaine Dalmeran
Domaine Dalmeran 45 avenue Notre Dame du Château 13103 Saint Etienne du Grès
Begin your day by taking Via Domitia in the direction of Domaine Dalmeran. Set within pretty leafy grounds, this 16th century château is surrounded by 12 hectares of vines, on the north face of the Alpilles. Integrated farming is practised on the estate (fertilisers are prohibited) and the grapes are hand picked. Sommeliers and top chefs also give wine classes and cooking workshops. There is a busy programme of cultural events, from exhibitions to jazz concerts, too.
Stories and legends at the Val d'Enfer
Leave the north face of the Alpilles mountains and head back to Les Baux via the Val d'Enfer, a valley cut into the rock. The naturally-formed sculptures in fantastical shapes have given rise to countless legends. Dante was inspired by the valley when describing hell in his poem Divine Comedy and the great director Jean Cocteau filmed his last picture there: Le Testament d’Orphée. Well worth a detour!
A walk around Mas Sainte-Berthe
Mas Sainte Berthe Cd 27, chemin de Sainte Berthe 13520 Les Baux de Provence
Your next port of call is Mas Sainte-Berthe, an estate set at the foot of the Rocher des Baux with an olive grove and vineyard. You can take a 30–minute tour to learn about the different grape varieties grown on this 40-hectare estate (with information panels). Maître David practices integrated methods to prevent pests and joined the Nutrition Méditerranéenne en Provence label in 1998. All for the love of nature!
Fine dining in Relais & Châteaux
Baumanière La Cabro d'Or Mas de Baumanière 13520 Les Baux de Provence
When it's time to stop for lunch, head to the 'table d'hôtes' at Domaine La Cabro d'Or. This is a fantastic way to enjoy all the charming surroundings of a Relais & Château hotel at a price that is more than reasonable. The head chef Michel Hulin delivers creative cuisine bursting with sunshine using locally produced olive oil and other fresh, organic ingredients. Set below the medieval village of Les Baux, the restaurant has an elegant terrace offering clear views of the Alpilles mountains. Take your time!
Exceptional olive oil at Moulin Castelas
Moulin Castelas Mas de l'Olivier Quartier Fréchier 13520 Les Baux de Provence
As you're already in Les Baux, you can easily get to Moulin Castelas. The mill is run by a couple of passionate producers who are always happy to share their 'green and fruity' olive oil made in the Vallée des Baux-de-Provence appellation. Located just at the foot of the medieval castle, the setting is magnificent. Free guided tour and olive oil tasting available. Take home lovely souvenirs from the stylish gift shop.
Mas de la Dame
Mas de la Dame Rd 5 - Route de St-Rémy 13520 Les Baux de Provence
Now enter through the gates of Mas de la Dame, an estate where olive groves and vines have crept as far as the neighbouring garrigue. This enchanting site set over 300 hectares was once the retreat of a mysterious lady (the 'dame' in the name). Today, the country house painted by Van Gogh is run by two women, great-granddaughters of the founder. The estate produces AOC Baux-de-Provence wines and two olive oils from the appellation (ripe and fruity and green and fruity). You can't leave without buying a jar of their green olives with fennel!
Local produce at Moulin Cornille
Moulin Cornille - Coopérative Oléicole de la Vallée des Baux Rue Charloun Rieu 13520 Maussane les Alpilles
Time for one last visit in your busy day to the Vallée des Baux olive oil cooperative. You can visit this 17th century oil mill either in a group or independently free of charge. The tour includes tastings and a presentation of their traditional know-how. Make sure you leave room in your bags to take home some of the soaps, gift boxes and excellent quality olive oil (AOC Vallée des Baux) on sale!
- Feeling awe-struck by all 22 historic monuments in Les Baux-de-Provence, ranked as one of the prettiest villages in France
- Watching the Alpilles at sunset when you can see the skies that so inspired Van Gogh and Cézanne
- Feeling invigorated by exploring the Alpilles mountains on foot, by bike or on horseback
- Stocking up on the excellent local produce to savour the tastes of Provence in your cooking back home (until your next trip!)
The best time to visit
- From March to late August to take part in the Medieval events at the castle (duals, catapulting, etc.)
- September to explore a variety of arts and crafts at the 'Secrets d’Artisans' event ( at Chateau des Baux)
- Late October to visit the Salon des Santonniers, dedicated to the makers of the region's iconic figurines
Wine and gastronomy
Maussane les Alpilles, Saint Etienne du Grès, Les Baux de Provence
All year round
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Celebrated at Candlemas, this traditional Provencal biscuit is also a popular sweet treat all year round
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