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Les Baux de Provence

Provence - Alpes - Côte d'Azur

The municipality of Les Baux de Provence (500 inhabitants) lies 30 km south of Avignon and 40 km from the sea. Raised on a rocky limestone spur in the Alpilles mountains, the whole, comprising the castle, demolished in 1632 by Richelieu, the remains of cave houses and the old village, constitute an extraordinary mineral fortress which dominates the Crau Plain.

The site of the castle, a remarkable restoration project since 1991, is home to, among other things, the exceptional History Museum of Les Baux. Full scale reconstructions of siege equipment allow visitors to understand medieval military tactics.From this vantage point, there is a magnificent view over the olive orchards, the fruit of which is used to make the internationally renowned Vallée des Baux olive oil, with its own label of quality.

Cultural activities in the town are very intense, rich and varied; for example, it is home to the Brayer Foundation and Museum and the Louis Jou Foundation and the "Cathedral of Images" can be found in the old stone quarries. The town's hostelry is particularly renowned. The municipality of Les Baux de Provence is recognised as being one of "Les villages les plus beaux de France". Every year, it receives, on average, one million eight hundred thousand visitors.

The municipality of Les Baux de Provence is situated in the Alpilles Natural Regional Park, currently in the process of being created. The management of visitor numbers is the main preoccupation for the municipality. Two large projects are underway:

- The contracting out of the castle management will allow the municipality to collect the necessary funding in order to continue the restoration and development work and thus enhance the site's cultural attractiveness.

- The construction of a partially submerged car park, integrated into the natural landscape, aims to prevent above ground parking and help improve the quality of the landscape surrounding the site.