The Provencal village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, 20 km south of Avignon, is most famous for its impressively preserved Roman ruins, but behind its ancient façade lies a lively town full of character. The magnificent Triumphant Arch of Glanum is the town’s most dramatic attraction - the oldest Roman arch of the narbonensis region - and the ruins of its 14th century defensive walls still encircle the ancient Gallo-Roman center, with the original portes still used as gateways to the center. The Nostradamus fountain, in honor of its namesake who was born in the town, is another popular sight, as is the elegant 16th century Mairie (Town Hall). The town also possesses a more unusual claim to fame – the town’s Monastery de Mausole housed Van Gogh during his period of psychiatric treatment prior to his untimely death and was where he painted his late masterpieces Starry Night and Self-Portrait.
Travelers looking to escape the bustle of Aix-de-Provence, Avignon and Arles, will find Saint-Rémy-de-Provence a tranquil base for exploring the region and despite its diminutive size, the strategically located town has plenty to offer visitors. A cluster of hotels, restaurants and shops line the town center, which is easily traversed on foot, and the Wednesday markets transform the sleepy village into a hive of activity.