Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is located in western Provence, about 20 km north-east of Arles and in the same distance south of Avignon. Nostradamus was born in this town. The famous painter Vincent Van Gogh was treated here in a psychiatric clinic in Saint-Paul de Mausole, and there he painted many of his paintings. Outside the city there are also remains of the ancient Roman town of Glanum.
Important for us are two parking lots next to the historic town center. The first one is located near the church at Boulevard Marceau (GPS: 43.788398, 4.829941), and the other one is located at the Jean Jaures Square, next to the D5E road (Avenue Durand Maillane) leading to the Glanum (GPS: 43.785902, 4.831213).
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence has a very beautiful old town. Strolling the old town is a pure pleasure. It is surrounded by a ring consisting of 4 streets (Boulevard Gambetta, Bouleveard Marceau, Boulevard Victor Hugo and Boulevard Mirabeau); it is further protected by strict development of the buildings.
After walking down the Avenue de la Resistance street and passing the Collégiale Saint-Martin church (A; GPS: 43.788748, 4.830280) on the left side, we come to the square at Rue Lafayette street. There you will find the headquarters of the local authorities (B; 43.788697, 4.831634). Here also the Provencal markets take place. We then turn left on Rue Jaume Roux and turn left again on Rue Carnot, to get to the Favier Square (C; GPS: 43.789259, 4.831116), nicely shaded by a canopy of chestnut trees, where interesting fountain is located. Here you can find some historic buildings such as Hotel de Mistral de Montdragon from the sixteenth century. Now it's the Museum of Alpilles. Another historic building is the Hotel de Sade, which was built after Agnès Hugolen de Fos from Saint-Remy-de-Provence married a male representative of the family of de Sade (the wedding took place in the fifteenth century, so it is not about the Marquis de Sade of the eighteenth century, although it is the same family). Both buildings can be visited.
Each of the streets of the Old Town is different, it's really worth taking the time and leisurely stroll them. If you are tired, you can relax in Grand Café Riche (D; GPS: 43.788405, 4.830204) - there's really a very good coffee :).
As mentioned above, in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence was born Nostradamus - a famous author of the prophecies, and also a doctor, astrologer and mathematician. You can see the house of his birth - it is located at Rue Hoche at number 6 (E; GPS: 43.788201, 4.830571). Unfortunately the apartment itself can not be visited - on the outer wall exists only a plate with the appropriate information. In addition, the town has also a fountain with a bust of Nostradamus. Much more Nostradamus' memorabilia can be found in Salon-de-Provence, where he spent the rest of his life (we also visited this town).
"Fête de la transhumance" in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is the festival of transhumance. In the morning, more than 2,500 sheeps, goats and donkeys parade around the old center of town with their shepherds and the dogs. An ocean of sheeps!
Transhumance is the seasonal movement of people with their livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions (vertical transhumance) it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and lower valleys in winter.
Vincent Van Gogh stayed in a psychiatric hospital of Saint-Paul de Mausole from May 1889 to May 1890. During this time he painted about 150 paintings, and many of them became masterpieces. It showed there the landscapes of places where he stayed - Saint-Remy-de-Provence and surrounding hills of the Alpilles.
The Saint-Paul-de-Mausole hospital is located on the outskirts of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. It was alredy mentioned by Nostradamus, who knew it as a Franciscan monastery. Adjacent to hospital buildings is located the archaeological area of the ancient Greco-Roman town Glanum. The Mont Gaussier, which can be seen from here, as well as Alpilles mountain range can be found on some paintings of Van Gogh. The hospital is still a functioning center for treatment of mental illnesses.
The place where Van Gogh stayed, can be visited (the entrance: F; GPS 43.776670, 4.833164). The room of the artist has been restored, and the area, which in his time was a field, became now a garden. Here you can find reproductions of his most important works. The museum is available seven days a week, the admission price is 5€. Cars can be parked across the street in the parking lot next to the beautiful triumphal arch of Glanum (GPS: 43.775928, 4.831146).
Glanum is an ancient town, abandoned by the Romans in the year 260. It is located on the slopes of Alpilles hills, about a kilometer south of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. It is especially known for two preserved Roman monuments from the first century BC: the mausoleum of Julia containing the scene of the battle of Zela, where Julius Caesar uttered his famous words "veni, vidi, vici", as well as the triumphal arch of Glanum which was built in approx. 20 AD (it's the oldest arch in France). These two attractions are free and can be found at some distance (GPS: 43.776447, 4.831188) from actual Glanum (G; GPS: 43.774684, 4.832006), for which the admission is paid (normal ticket 9.5€, reduced ticket 7.5€).