Vincent Van Gogh arrived in Arles in Provence, after a 16 hour train ride
from Paris in February 1888. He then commenced the most productive period
of painting in his life. He fell in love with the area at once: Arles, the
Alpilles, blooming fields, Langlois drawbridges and abbey ruins. ‘My
God!’ he exclaimed, ‘If I had only known of this country at the age of
25, instead of coming here when I was 35.’ This may express the feelings
of many of us today.
Les Alpilles is a small massif standing out as its white peaks rise
apparently sheer from the plain of the Rhône valley. Its slopes are
covered in vineyards along with olive and almond trees. Along footpaths
dotted with cypress trees and lone chapels we follow Van Gogh’s
footsteps through the many landscapes of the Alpilles that he painted from
St-Rémy to Les Baux-de-Provence and onto Arles.
trip starts in Avignon, where you stay inside Avignon’s fortified city
for the first night giving you a bit of time to discover the beauty of one
of Provence’s great centres.
then transfer by taxi towards the Alpilles and Saint Rémy de
Provence, the adopted home of the Marquis de Sade and Van Gogh. From here
walk into the Alpilles, with great views of the Rhone Valley all the way
to the Luberon. Take the time to visit the Saint-Paul de Mausole monastery
where Van Gogh painted 150 paintings in a year!
beautiful day follows from Saint Rémy into the Baux valley in the heart
of the Baux de Provence. From the summits of the Alpilles there are views
across to the Camargue. Next there is a walk in the Baux Valley to the
typical village of Maussane where you can enjoy the centre’s cafés and
producers of local wonders, such as Provence’s best olive oils. On the
penultimate morning, walk from Les Baux de Provence to the 12th century
Roman Saint Gabriel Chapel. Then there is a short transfer to Arles and
your hotel in the heart of the city to discover Van Gogh’s second home
and the city’s Roman centre!