Les Baux-de-Provence Vacations
Rising from a rocky hilltop, Les Baux-de-Provence is home to the ruins of a once-powerful fortress. Sometimes referred to as ville morte (dead town), Les Baux is also a living village of charming Renaissance-period buildings and cobblestone lanes. Enjoy walking along its car-free streets lined with charming shops, cafés, galleries and countless historic sites.
Baux in Provençal French means “rocky spur.” This surname was taken by the lords who controlled this area beginning in the 10th century. After thriving for hundreds of years, the town entered a decline toward the end of the 15th century. The lords of Baux were overthrown and Les Baux became part of France. The town experienced a second golden age during the Renaissance, with many buildings restored to their former glory and elegant new structures built.
Explore the rambling ruins of Château des Baux to discover ancient buildings and towers carved from the surrounding rock. Walk downhill from Les Baux to the former limestone quarry that is now a venue for Carrières de Lumières. In this unforgettable sound-and-light show, iconic works of art are projected onto the quarry’s stone walls, floor and ceilings.
Stroll through the Yves Brayer Museum, housed in the 16th-century Hôtel de Porcelet. This small museum showcases watercolors, oils and drawings of French painter Yves Brayer, who was captivated with the scenery of Provence. Admire the Renaissance architecture and stained-glass detailing in Hôtel de Manville. Once the home of an affluent 16th-century family, Hôtel de Manville is now the site of Les Baux’s town hall.
The Les Baux area is part of the Alpilles, a limestone mountain range that stretches across Provence. Go horseback riding or mountain biking among the vineyards and olive trees of this stunning natural landscape. Hike the GR6 Grande Randonnée, a 683-mile (1,100-kilometer) trail along the full length of the Alpilles.
Les Baux-de-Provence is located between Avignon and Arles. It is most easily reached by car. Public buses heading toward Arles often stop in Les Baux. Most nearby cities offer organized daytrips to the area.