See one of Les Baux-de-Provence’s most famous attractions, the sprawling medieval fortress that served as the region’s center of power for centuries.
Perched on a rocky hilltop, the ruins of Château des Baux define the surrounding landscape. The massive site is spread across an area more than five times larger than the modern town below. The hill offers dramatic views of the surrounding vineyards and olive groves, as well as Val d'Enfer (Valley of Hell), the rocky gorge found below Les Baux. Explore the ruins’ complex of buildings and discover ancient towers, abandoned dungeons and reconstructed battering rams, trebuchets and other medieval weapons.
The first mention of the chateau in texts was in the 10th century, when it was the stronghold of a powerful feudal lordship that ruled over 79 towns in the neighboring regions. Learn how the castle remained strong during a turbulent era, when numerous people vied for control of Provence. After ruling for more than 500 years, the lineage of local lords died out and the Counts of Provence took over lordship. In the 15th century, the Kingdom of France took control of Provence. Much of the fortress was destroyed in 1632 on the order of Cardinal Richelieu.
Begin at the Hôtel de la Tour de la Brau, the entrance to the fortress, which houses a small museum dedicated to local history and archeology. The museum contains a modest collection of relics, models of how the fortress looked during medieval times and other exhibits designed to help visitors better understand the fortress and its significance.
Inside the compound, check out the fortress’ most well-preserved towers: Tour Paravelle and Tour Sarrasine. Stop by the 12th-century Chapelle St. Blaise and see its audio-visual exhibit and a compact museum focused on olives.
From April to September, be sure to see the fortress’ medieval exhibitions. These lively events feature displays of medieval crafts, jousting tournaments and period costumes. Try shooting with a medieval bow or a crossbow.
Château des Baux is open year-round and accessible by bus or car. The admission fee includes an informative audio guide, available in several different languages. Receive a discount by purchasing a joint ticket for Château des Baux and Carrières de Lumières.