Château des Baux-de-Provence

The Château des Baux-de-Provence is an old fortified castle perched on the Alpilles between Maussane and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Every year, this tourist site, classified as a Historical Monument, attracts a large number of visitors. This place, steeped in history, offers a real time travel. Walking on the remains of the castle, carved in the rock, visitors can easily enjoy a route back to the medieval period.

The story of the Château des Baux

Les Beaux-de-Provence, located in the Alpilles massif, has always been a strategic place. Situated on a high point, at the crossroads of several roads, it was an ideal observation post. As early as prehistoric times, men discovered the potential of this place and exploited it. A cave housing an 8,000-year-old grave bears witness to this.

The Celts laid the first stones to create a village. It was then enough to bend down to collect the materials necessary for the construction of stone houses.

At the time when the Romans reigned over Gaul, the population of the village decreased. Thanks to the peace brought by the Roman Empire, it was no longer necessary to live in an easily defensible place. The inhabitants were attracted by Arles, a large city not far away.

The Château des Baux-de-Provence was built in the 11th century for the Lords of Baux, one of the most powerful families of lower Provence in medieval times. Les Baux was struck several times by local wars, including the Baussenque wars between 1145 and 1162 because of a conflict for the succession of the county of Provence. The fortress suffered many assaults and fights during the following decades. Several lords wanted to control this stronghold from which one could see, when the weather was clement, as far as the Mediterranean Sea. In the 13th century, 3,000 inhabitants lived in the village of Les Baux-de-Provence.

In the 15th century, the line of the Lords of Baux died out with the death of Princess Alix. The barons of the House of the Counts of Provence took control of the village. During this period, life was good in Les Baux-de-Provence until the land was put under royal tutelage when Provence was attached to the Kingdom of France in 1486.

Protestants came to take refuge in the fortress of Les Baux during the religious wars that took place in France at the end of the 16th century. The Manville family, who then managed the place, was regarded with distrust by the King’s representatives. Cardinal Richelieu was displeased and decided to destroy this city so stubbornly rebellious. He besieged the city for 27 days and had the fortress dismantled in 1633. Once the ramparts were knocked down, the citadel was forced to surrender definitively to royal power.

Since 1642, the Lord of Baux is none other than the Prince of Monaco. Louis XIII gave the marquisate of Les Baux to the first Prince, Honoré II Grimaldi.

Remarkable ruins and vestiges

The Château des Baux-de-Provence has incredible testimonies of the past: the Saracen tower, troglodytic houses, the castle chapel, the “trou aux lièvres” (hares’ burrow), the oven house, the cistern, the dovecote, the reconstitution of siege engines, etc.

The particularity of the fortified castle of Les Baux-de-Provence is that it has a large troglodyte part. Whole sections of walls have been carved out of the limestone rock of the Alpilles massif, as if the castle had been sculpted in the mountains. It is also one of the oldest castles in Europe. Writings already evoked the presence of fortifications in 975.

The keep, built in the 13th century, is one of the best-preserved parts of the castle. This important vestige of the military architecture of the place was the last rampart of this fortress, once impregnable.

The farmyards, located at the foot of the castle, are true witnesses of daily life in medieval times. The inhabitants of the seigneurial residences mingled with the maids who baked bread in the oven house and the guards who lived in this part of the castle. Further down, the second courtyard was lined with houses and welcomed the peasants and craftsmen who worked there.

A breathtaking view of the Alpilles

The Château des Baux is perched on one of the last foothills of the Alpilles massif. The view from the monument is breathtaking. With one look, visitors embrace the Camargue and Provence that extend under their feet. This wonderfulpanorama allows you to discover the typical landscapes of the region, with olive groves and vineyards, the hills between which the red earth of the bauxite quarries is hidden, the meadows where herds of merino sheep graze, etc.

Les Baux de Provence

Les Baux-de-Provence is one of the most beautiful villages in France. Its small cobbled streets, its shady squares full of charm and its incredible architectural heritage attract many visitors every year. In the village, the strictly pedestrian traffic makes it possible to discover the various buildings in complete tranquility. Numerous monuments are to be admired and visited: Hôtel de Manville, pavilion of Queen Jeanne, chapel of Saint-Blaise, Saint-Vincent church, etc.

Prepare your visit

The Château des Baux-de-Provence is open 365 days a year. The schedule varies according to the seasons:

  • January to February: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • March: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • April to June: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • July and August: 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • September: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • October: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • November to December: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Audio guides are available for free at the site’s reception desk in French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, and Portuguese.

Booklets for children from 7 to 12 years old are also available for free at the entrance. They allow them to discover the places and history of the Château des Baux in a playful way.

The official application of the Château des Baux-de-Provence offers visitors the opportunity to discover the site while enjoying a guided tour, complete with images and reconstitutions of the fortress.

Address: 13 520 Les Baux-de-Provence


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