The best area for olive oil in Provence is the Alpilles mountain range, a gentle countryside filled with olive tree groves. All year round, it’s a pleasure to come accross the orchards, however, the harvest in November and December is a lively spectacle where you can see people harvesting the olives and bringing them to the olive oil mill.
Tasting the local speciality of “olives cassées”, and the newly made olive oil is an unbelievable experience. Also, the vineyards add to the beauty of the countryside and invite you to taste the excellent Provencal wines!
That’s in this area, not far from the quiet and charming little town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, that the painter Van Gogh spent one year after his stay in Arles. He completed many of his major works there, fascinated by the landscape, the light and the nuances of colors.
The mental institution of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole (former medieval priory) where he stayed is worh a visit
The Southern part of the small mountain range harbours the village of les Baux-de-Provence. It offers a particular silhouette with the ruins of its castle on top of a high cliff. The outcrops, wheathered into strange shapes, are present everywhere.
The cobbled streets of les Baux-de-Provence bring you back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period when the village was Protestant. The history of this rebelious fortress-town, destroyed under the order of the King of France, unfolds as you walk around.