What an astonishing castle ruin!Älgbert Elgson
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In the southern French town of Les Baux de Provence is one of the largest castle complexes in France. In addition, the place is one of the most beautiful villages in France. (Les plus beaux villages de France)
The place and its just under 400 inhabitants mainly live from tourism and its income. The surrounding area is also famous for the wine and olive oil grown there.
The mountain ridge was settled very early due to the location. During excavations, pottery shards were found that were dated to around 6000 BC.
The Celts built an oppidum, a fortified settlement, in order to be able to defend themselves well against attackers.
In the Middle Ages, Les Baux was a feudal and cultural center. Minnesingers and troubadours came from far away to take part in court life in the castle.
In the era of the wars of religion, the place was the center of the Huguenots. The mighty fortress offered protection, which prompted the French king to besiege the castle in 1632 and to have it demolished in 1633 by the inhabitants of the city.
The Grimaldi family fought alongside France against Spain. Therefore, the family’s possessions in Spain were confiscated by the Spanish crown. The Grimaldi family received four fiefs in France, including Les Baux-de-Provence, by way of a contract concluded in 1641, which prohibited any French interference in Monaco. Even today, the Grimaldis call themselves princes of Monaco and counts of Les Baux.
Some replicas of medieval siege equipment can be seen on the castle grounds.
The old town at the foot of the castle can also be visited by wheelchair or pram. The castle ruins require a lot of skill to be able to explore every corner. It is advisable to wear sturdy shoes here in order to master the ascent on the steep, worn steps.
In the old town there is also a crib figure museum, the Carrières de Lumières and some churches to visit
How to get there?
Les Baux-des-Provence can be easily reached by car. Parking spaces are available on the street for a fee.
Arriving by bus is also possible, but time-consuming and should be well planned in advance.
The castle ruins make a very well-kept impression.
Unfortunately there is only a shadow left of the once powerful castle, but it is still worth exploring the old remains. With an audio guide, it is particularly easy to take yourself back to the Middle Ages.
The village at the foot of the castle is very nice, but also very touristy. The small cafés invite you to take a rest in the shade.
We were here: 2019