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.

Can't-miss experiences

  • 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)

We love

  • 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
  • Theme

    Art of living, Off the beaten tracks, Wine and gastronomy

  • Duration

    1 day

  • Transport means

    Personal vehicle

  • Visited cities

  • Ideal for

    All year round

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Pays salonais and its chateaux, heritage and wine

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The Mediterranean, from beach to creek

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Inspirations

The 'OM'

The 'OM'

Lifestyle

The 'OM' is more than just a symbol, it's a way of life!

The pizza

The pizza

When a tourist comes to Marseille, one of the first things they have to eat is the local speciality: Pizza!

Figs

Figs

Francis lived happily close beside his tree...

Picked ripe from the tree, figs are simply to die for. They can also be scattered on trays and left to dry in the sun for 3 days: "That's the best way to keep your figs all winter – we serve figs at Christmas as one of Provence's famous 13 Desserts," smiles Jacqueline Honoré.

Candied Fruit

Candied Fruit

A gourmet treat…

Provence has been famed for its candied fruit from time immemorial. In the early 16th century, the region was fairly impoverished. Fruit grew here in abundance, but much of it was lost every year.