Set in the Alpilles mountains, Les Baux is named one of the most beautiful medieval villages in France.
We made a day trip to this quaint, fortified town during our stay in Arles. Ironically, a place Rachel had visited 15 years prior on a high school study abroad program. Waking up early, we caught the local bus to Le Piradou, a couple of miles south of Les Baux. From there, we enjoyed an hour-long stroll through the countryside. Against a backdrop of the area’s distinct, low-lying rocky mountains, we passed picturesque old cemeteries and expansive olive groves.
Approaching the town of Les Baux, we had one last push up a steep incline to reach the summit of the village. Miles of walking is par for the course on our wanders. We often find that the longer it takes to reach a destination, the more observations we make. We’re able to relax and notice the little things. The journey, not just the destination, becomes an integral part of the experience.
Les Baux is home to 22 permanent residents out of 400 people who make up the entire commune.
But we were definitely not the only ones wandering around this medieval village. Les Baux receives over 1.5 million visitors every year. Despite the tourist mobs, it’s still a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. After a café au lait at a local café, we perused the many craft shops and took in a couple of quaint churches. Next to Eglise Saint Vincent, the 17th century Chapelle des Penitents Blancs is particularly interesting featuring modern frescoes completed in 1974 by French painter Yves Brayer.
Due to the limited bus schedule, we didn’t have time to visit the nearby Carriers de Lumieres. This museum offers a multi-sensory experience out of a former limestone quarry. But who knows… Rachel never expected to return to Les Baux, so perhaps it won’t be our last visit.