Essential Salon-de-Provence, a soap opera
Art of living - Off the beaten tracks
This is a simple itinerary designed to stimulate your senses. The first stops on the tour are the Marius Fabre and Rampal Latour soap factories, two Provençal institutions. Salon-de-Provence was also the one-time home of Nostradamus, the famous seer and now the name of an excellent chocolate makers in the town. At Château de l’Empéri, history buffs will get a thrill brushing their hands over ancient stones. Lastly, after a fancy lunch at Mas du Soleil, it's onwards to Au Clair des Fontaines for a little refreshment. Follow the guide!
Marius Fabre soap maker and museum, quality au naturel
Savonnerie Marius Fabre 148 avenue Paul Bourret 13651 Salon de Provence
Start the morning at the Marius Fabre soap factory. Based in Salon-de-Provence for four generations, the manufacturer channels its passion and know-how into making genuine Savon de Marseille following a traditional recipe that is entirely plant based and colouring free. A museum retraces the history of this Provençal speciality while the gift shop sells natural products made from olive oil and plants.
Rampal Latour, another star of the soap opera
Savonnerie Rampal Latour - Artisans Savonniers depuis 1828 71 rue Félix Pyat 13300 Salon de Provence
Continue your tour of discovery of Savon de Marseille with a visit to another local institution, a soap factory established in 1828. Savonnerie Rampal Latour is also open to the public. The first thing you'll notice is the distinctive smell of Savon de Marseille 'extra pur'. The factory shop stocks a range of organically-certified products for the home (soapflakes, black soap, etc.) and body (soaps, shower gel, shampoo, etc.).
Château de l'Empéri: from religious site to army museum
Château de l'Empéri Montée Du Puech 13300 Salon de Provence
Resume your tour of Salon at Château de l’Empéri, the oldest fortified castle in the region, which overlooks Crau Plain (free access). Built in the 10th century, it served as the residence for the archbishops of Arles from the Middle Ages to 1792. Today, the castle houses an extraordinary military museum which is in fact the country's second biggest museum dedicated to the French army. It has over 8,000 objects on display that retrace different periods of history, including the Napoleonic years. You can even walk around the medical plant garden, designed by Nostradamus, in one of the courtyards.
Salon-de-Provence: Au Clair des Fontaines
Follow your castle tour with a walking trail that continues for 1.5 kilometres, Au Clair des Fontaines. Along quiet streets, around the town centre and in parks and gardens, you will get to discover the ingenious system invented by Adam de Craponne to supply the town with drinking water by diverting the Durance. Don't miss the moss-covered fountain and the wall of water at Place des Centuries.
Your head in the stars at the Nostradamus Museum
Maison de Nostradamus Rue Nostradamus 13300 Salon de Provence
Bring your day in Salon-de-Provence to a close by visiting the one-time home of the legendary seer from the 16th century. Learn all about the life and career of Michel de Nostredame, widely known as Nostradamus, during the 45-minute audio guide. An amazing light show brings a spectacular touch to this place frozen in time. A few streets away, you can try and decipher the seer's original writings at the Centre Nostradamus.
- Learning all about the future of our bees at Rucher Salonais where they produce sustainable honey
- Stopping for a cool drink beneath the canopy of the plane trees in the town centre
- Stimulating all your senses browsing the stalls at the local market
- Getting to know the mythical and mystical Nostradamus by visiting the house where he lived
- Visiting the oldest fortified castle in Provence in Emperi
The best time to visit
- Mid-April to attend the Fête du Printemps (fresh produce market, festivities)
- Mid-summer to be moved by live concerts during the chamber music festival (over several days at Château de l’Empéri)
- 22 August to attend Fête de la Libération de Salon-de-Provence (military procession and music)
Art of living, Off the beaten tracks
Salon de Provence
All year round
Discover other itineraries
In a day, capture the essence of Cassis by taking a guided tour around the Provençal fishing village and visiting its museum. Potter around the boutiques and craft shops in the centre before finding a table on a terrace overlooking the sea. Cassis is especially proud of Calanques National Park, which you can explore on foot or by boat. Conclude your visit by meeting one or two Cassis wine producers. Less than an hour from the Marseille terminal, Cassis is also an essential destination for cruise tourists.
Marseille, fish and other delights
It's worth taking the time to explore Marseille if you want to get to know the local flavours and authentic products that have put the city on the foodie map. For instance, you'll get to visit the traditional Four des Navettes bakery where they make small boat-shaped biscuits, 'navettes', a local speciality. At the Old Port, wander around the stalls at the fish market before finding a table at a restaurant that has signed the 'Bouillabaisse Charter' for a fantastic culinary experience. In the afternoon, stock up on the best products the land has to offer. Bring your gourmet tour of the city to a satisfying finish at Chez AM. Simply delicious!
La Montagnette and its monuments
La Montagnette is a low-altitude mountain in Bouches-du-Rhône set against dry and rugged terrain. It is replete with architectural gems to visit. Start the morning with a visit to the cryptoporticus in Arles. In Tarascon, take a tour of Saint Michel du Frigolet Abbey and Château du Roi René. Next head to Le Garde-Manger for lunch before venturing off to see Daudet's mills. When you reach Fontvielle, you can't miss Château Montauban and the Roman aqueduct. Finish on a high note at Montmajour Abbey.
'Savon de Marseille', how to tell the real from the fake