Saint-Rémy de Provence is located in the foothills of the National Park of "Les Alpilles," with many hiking and mountain biking trails and picnic areas, all perfumed by the surrounding pine trees. Available sporting activities include bicycle riding, fishing, hiking, and swimming.
Enjoy the world renowned gastronomy of the region, inspired by the rich agricultural land surrounding the town, at one of the numerous restaurants outdoors terraces. Dishes such as tapenade, "anchoïade, or soupe de pistou are common fairs on the tables in Saint-Rémy.
Bring home more of the regional specialties available at the numerous regional markets. You will find a wide range of local produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, preserves and honey to remind you of your trip once you are home, or to enjoy on the outdoor patio at Le Mas de Pitou if you cannot wait that long.
Surrounding villages, churches and town squares stage concerts, as well as exhibitions of local and international artists all summer long. Antique scavenging is a favorite locale pastime, as well as visiting the many artists studios in the region.
St. Remy inspired Vincent Van Gogh to create almost 150 paintings during his stay in the village, including some of his most famous pieces. Follow his meanderings in the town and find recognizable landscapes form his work or look up at the sky and watch “Starry Night” come to life once the sun has gone down. Don’t be surprised if you are inspired to follow in his footsteps and set up an easel in the town square.
Le mas de Pitou in Saint-Rémy de Provence is located at the heart of a golden triangle drawn from Avignon, to Arles and Aix-en-Provence.
Avignon is well known for its Palace where Catholic popes lived during the 14th century. The city overlooks the Rhône River and was already prosperous under the Roman Empire. Once an independent republic, it has remained at the heart of history for centuries.
Today it is a vibrant cultural town with a university and a famous summer festival attracting people from all over the world. The Avignon Festival offers traditional performance of theater, dance and music, as well as cinema, staged in historical monuments. An off-beat art scene strives in the streets during the Festival in July, turning the city into the most creative studio of Europe.
Arles, located on the Rhône River, on the northern edge of the Camargue delta, used to be a thriving sea port. It was originally founded by the Greeks in the 6th century BC.
Throughout the centuries, it remained a center of attraction. Its rich architecture bears witness to the political, economic and religious importance of the town. It was a capital for Emperor Constantine III.
This made it an attractive destination for Vincent van Gogh, who arrived there in February 1888. He worked on over 300 paintings and drawings during his time in Arles. Many of his most famous paintings were completed there, including The Night Cafe, the Yellow Room, Starry Night over the Rhone, and L'Arlésienne.
Paul Gauguin visited van Gogh in Arles. But van Gogh's mental health deteriorated and he severed his own ear in December 1888. The concerned Arlesians circulated a petition demanding that van Gogh be confined. In May 1889, van Gogh left Arles for the asylum at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.
Aix-en-Provence was founded in 123 BC by a Roman consul. It became capital of Provence during the Middle Ages and housed many royal families from France and Spain. As such it became and remained a major center for the arts and learning.
The city has expended around the 'Cours Mirabeau', a wide thoroughfare, planted with double rows of plane-trees, bordered by fine houses and decorated by fountains. Old mansions date from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Its cafés, such as the 'Deux Garçons' brasserie, hosted the likes of Cézanne, Zola and Hemingway.
Classical music and opera are the main attractions, competing with Bayreuth and Salzburg in June and July each year. Other styles are also honored during the 'Fête de la Musique,' a popular week of classical, jazz and popular concerts held in street venues and courtyards.
The city has many museums, among them 'l'atelier de Cézanne', built around the studio of Paul Cézanne which can be viewed as it was at the native painter's death. One can also visit the house and grounds of Cézanne's father, 'Jas de Bouffan'.
Paul Cézanne (1839 - 22 October 1906) whose palette was undoubtedly made of Provence's colors was a Post-Impressionist who laid the foundation of a new and radically different art world in the 20th century. Both Matisse and Picasso called him "the father of us all."
Le Mas de Pitou is a short drive away from the 'Luberon' mountain range where villages such as Bonnieux, Gordes, Lourmarin, and Cucuron gave inspiration to Peter Mayle's "A year in Provence," ant its sequels.
Stepping out of Le Mas de Pitou, one walks right into the protected national park of 'Les Alpilles' , whose lower slopes are planted with olive and almond trees, kermes oaks and pines. Much of the range is made of stony ground covered with odorous scrub called 'maquis.' A path leads to the 'Baux de Provence,' a mountain-perched ancestral village which was a court in the 12th century. Today it is a bustling tourist town, where one can shop and eat.
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