Tour of the Alpilles, olives, villages and more
Art of living - Off the beaten tracks - Wine and gastronomy
There's a lot to see in the Alpilles, so it's a race against the clock if you hope to fit it all in. The humble olive is the star of the region and tours and tastings are available at plenty of local estates. For lunch, get a table at Le Patio, totally devoted to regional produce and set in a former sheep fold. Les Olivades is devoted to the manufacture of Provençal fabric. To stretch your legs, walk around Aureille, Orgon and Chiari cheese dairy. A visit to Saint-Rémy isn't complete without enjoying a sumptuous treat from the Lilamand confectioner's. Ready? Steady... Go!
Saint-Etienne-du-Grès: Les Olivades, makers of Provençal fabric
Les Olivades 5 avenue du Docteur Barberin 13103 Saint-Étienne-du-Grès
Continue on your way to Saint-Etienne-du-Grès which is home to the last remaining factory in Provence keeping alive the tradition of printing on fabric, invented in Marseille in 1648. The factory shop is open to visitors and stocks a selection of high-end merchandise, all Made in France, ranging from ready-to-wear and accessories to bags and tableware.
Wine and olives at Château d’Estoublon in Fontvieille
Route de Maussane 13990 Fontvieille
Made famous in Les Lettres de Mon Moulin, Daudet mill in Fontvieille is your next stop. The village is also an opportunity to explore the grounds of Château d'Estoublon, a wine and olive oil producer. This artisanal company is set in a well-preserved Provençal mansion from the 18th century and is well worth a detour! A fine delicatessen stocks wine and oils made on site and local pastries that gourmets will appreciate.
Fontvieille: sophisticated fare at Le Patio
117 Route Du Nord 13990 Fontvieille
After a busy morning of visits, lunch is well deserved. Le Patio comes highly recommended (2 toques in the Gault & Millau Guide). Set in a former sheep fold and decorated in a tasteful rustic style, Le Patio offers creative gourmet dishes, all made with Provençal ingredients, including the famous Alpilles lamb baked in AOC Crau hay, and a regularly updated menu which changes with the availability of produce and the seasons.
Les Baux: a breath of fresh air at Moulin Castelas
Route des Oliviers 13520 Les Baux-de-Provence
Continue your walk at Moulin Castelas, at the foot of Château des Baux. The Hugues are a couple of passionate farmers who lovingly produce AOP Vallée des Baux-de-Provence olive oils from their 45-hectare olive grove. You can visit the mill and the production facility where you can taste the different varieties of oil and browse the charming farm shop which is bursting with sun-drenched scents of Provence.
Orgon: tradition and luxury at Domaine de Valdition
Route D'Eygalières 13660 Orgon
Next head to Orgon, en route passing Notre-Dame-de-Beauregard Chapel that looks over the valley. Don't miss Domaine de Valdition, an estate set in a walled village surrounded by ancient trees, where you can taste exquisite olive oil and wine. Its Pays des Alpilles wine makes a delicious gift to take home as a souvenir of your time in Provence.
- Taking a stroll to admire traditional stone houses in Provençal villages
- Stocking up on sun-drenched local produce (at Saint-Rémy's market day every Wednesday)
- Being spoilt for choice (wine, olive oil, cheese, candied fruit) and packing your bags with high-quality products to remember your trip all through the year
- Comparing olive oils from the Alpilles made by different producers and becoming an expert
The best time to visit
- Autumn for the olive harvest
- Late November to get into the Christmas spirit at Orgon's traditional market (Place de la Liberté)
- Whit Monday to take part in Saint-Rémy's transhumance festival with all the farmers in the region
Art of living, Off the beaten tracks, Wine and gastronomy
- Visited cities
All year round
Discover other itineraries
This tour is designed to help you get to know the capital of Bouches-du-Rhône and European Capital of Culture 2013 inside and out. First, pay a quick visit to the 'Bonne Mère', as the locals familiarly refer to the basilica which watches over the city. Next go and listen to the city's beating heart, the Old Port, and while you're there stop for lunch at Chez Madie. Then head to Panier, the city's old town that is home to a vibrant community today. Afterwards, rest your weary limbs a while in the courtyard of the majestic Vieille Charité cultural centre. Once rested, make your way to the MuCEM, one of the city's cultural landmarks, before taking in the sights of the surrounding calanques.If you love being on the water, then this part of the tour is for you!
The seven wonders of the Bouches-du-Rhône
This tour showcases seven wonders around the Bouches-du-Rhône, easily covered in just half a day if you're riding in a helicopter or – and this is our personal recommendation – staggered over several days during your next trip to Provence! Starting in the north of the department, make your way slowly but surely down to Marseille. The first wonder is Les Baux-de-Provence, one of the prettiest villages in France. Then travel back in time at the Arles Amphitheatre before you are completely wowed by the Camargue countryside. Like Cézanne, you'll be enchanted by the sight of Mount Saint-Victoire before you head for a stroll along Cours Mirabeau, the main boulevard in the centre of Aix-en-Provence. End with a flourish in Marseille where its Old Port and calanques, those stunning natural creeks, are protected world heritage sites.
Martigues and Marigagne by Ma Cigale est Fantastique
The towns of Marignane and Martigues, situated between land and sea, sit proudly on the banks of the étang de Berre. We have all heard of Marignane airport, but we know little about the town itself, which is an interesting place to visit. The town centre is currently being renovated. Martigues, Provence’s answer to Venice, is an island criss-crossed by canals that connect it directly to the sea. Together we will (re)discover the charms of these little-known towns.
Art de vivre
The accent: our identity
The Gourmet's New Eldorado
It had all but disappeared from the markets, but then – perhaps as a result of Halloween arriving in France – squash made a big comeback on our stalls just over a decade ago
Drawing its inspiration from the city's sulphurous reputation since the early 20th century, this literary movement is a spinoff from the 'Roman Noir' crime novel
Villages the world over envy us!