24.5.12

Les Baux-de-Provence



I have had little time to visit other blogs lately. So sorry! Some travels, a number of friends around… I will try to improve, but the coming week looks also largely “booked”.

So, I was in the south of France, in the Provence area for a couple of days. I have already from previous visits blogged about Arles, Camargue… This time I thought I would add something about what is today a little village with few inhabitants but many visitors, Les Baux-de-Provence.

Les Baux is situated on a rocky beginning of a plateau, dominating the surroundings and has thanks to this strategic situation been inhabited since thousands of years. The name of the village in the old local language referred to a cliff. … and Les Baux has later given the name to bauxite – the ore of aluminum, which was first discovered and exploited in the surrounding mountains in the beginning of the 19th century.

During the Middle Ages, Les Baux became the stronghold controlling the majority of the surrounding cities and villages; a fortress was built during the 11th and 13th centuries and the princes of Baux controlled the whole of Provence during a long period. A lot of fighting about this strategic site took place. The fortress which also became a castle was renowned for a highly cultured court and chivalry until the 15th century, when the last Princess of Baux died and finally Les Baux was attached to the Crown of France, lost its importance and was more or less abandoned. In 1642, the village was offered to the Grimaldi family as a marquisate and Prince Albert still carries the title of Marquis de Baux.  … and today Les Baux survives largely as a tourist attraction.

First a general view of the village with the ruins of the fortress on the top and some views of the surroundings.



Some further views of the village with its narrow alleys, old buildings, chapels…






… and some from the ruins of the fortress, castle, where stairs and some rooms still can be seen carved into the rocks.


When you the see the nearby valley, named “Val d’Enfer” (Valley of Hell), today looking extremely attractive and housing some of the French best hotels and restaurants, it’s surprising to learn that  - with its white limestone rock formations - it obviously once inspired Dante to describe the Hell (Inferno) in his Divine Comedy, here illustrated by Botticelli. 

  

22 comments:

Shionge said...

It is a lovely place and we (me and hubby) been looking at the Europe map lately as I will be going to Copenhagen for a conference and exploring other places soon.

Vagabonde said...

This is a wild and beautiful area. I went there years ago and to be on top of that hill, with the mistral blowing, and no one around, is something else! I was born 40 kms (24 miles) from Nimes, since my mother had to get away from the Germans in Paris, but we went back to Paris 3 years later, so I don’t remember it from that time. Your pictures are great.

Vagabonde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nikon said...

Very beautiful photos of a beautiful spot.

Pierre BOYER said...

J'aime beaucoup cet endroit...

Pierre

Olivier said...

encore une tres belle face cachée de Paris ;o)) superbe paysage, ca fait rever

Ola said...

no wonder it is known all over the world!


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claude said...

C'est sympa de revoir les Baux que j'ai visité il y a bien longtemps. Visite un soir après la tombée de la nuit. Nous avions pique niquer du haut des anciennes carrières, les Baux éclairés dans la nuit, c'était super "Baux".

hpy said...

C'est dommage, je ne vois pas toutes les photos (et pourtant je porte mes lunettes). Il va donc falloir que j'y aille un jour, car cela a l'air très baux!

Alison said...

This is one of the areas of France that remains on my "to visit" list. Thanks for touring me around a bit!

Studio at the Farm said...

Peter, your photos are wonderful. I almost felt I was in Les-Baux-de-Provence. Thank you.

Starman said...

Les Baux-de-Provence is exactly the kind of place I like to visit but, sadly, find it difficult these days.

ALAIN said...

Je vais mettre une croix.

Owen said...

Ah, Peter is out and about again ! Well, there are worse places to be forced to spend time... that whole region is gorgeous. Have fun !

Cergie said...

Toujours intéressant de connaitre l'origine d'un nom de ville, la bauxite, tiens tiens...
Pas grand monde sur la plupart de tes photos, avec en plus une lumière douce ce devait être très agréable.
Château troglodytique donc comme celui de la Roche-Guyon (et "plus beau village" de France ?) mais des marches beaucoup plus usées par les pas...

Cezar and Léia said...

Wonderful pictures of this romantic place.Thanks so much for sharing and I hope I can visit there someday, it's really a special place!
Léia

generika said...

This place is SO amazing and endlessly romantic! Thanks for showing this beauty to the world!

Jeanie said...

Oh, Peter -- you always give me more places to visit! Provence has been on the list for a long while. Now Rick will be able to see why!

Cheri said...

I loved the post, I am from Oklahoma and i actually got to visit there when we came to France. it was a very beautiful and interesting place. Thanks for sharing.

martinealison said...

Comment ne pas aimer le lieu, la région avec sa lumière et son histoire ?...
Je suis une grande amoureuse de cette région... J'y recherche la maison qui pourrait être celle de mes rêves (je ne désespère pas!) Le seul bémol est le vent!
Vos photos ne font que confirmer que tous les points de vue sont merveilleux.
Une très jolie publication.
Gros bisous

(et au travail avec la peinture ! Je veux voir!)

Mo said...

What a wonderful trip.

Mo said...

What a wonderful trip.