St Rémy market, Van Gogh and Carrieres de Lumieres

Go to the Wednesday morning market in St Rémy-de-Provence, stroll along the boulevards under shade of century-old plane trees to discover squares and fountains, and through narrow streets lined with attractive boutiques and galleries that make the town’s historic centre so lively. Nostradamus was born here in 1503; the house, tucked away down a narrow side-street, bears a plaque.

Visit the Monastère Saint-Paul de Mausole where Vincent van Gogh was hospitalised for two years for a nervous breakdown and where he painted some of his masterpieces (and the same little field of lavender 16 times).

Across the road is the vast Glanum Roman archeological site and a perfume museum.

Head now to Les Baux-de-Provence, a village named after its location, a bauc being a rocky spur, and for the aluminium ore (bauxite) discovered there in 1821. The steep cobbled lanes are a maze of wonderful boutiques, galleries, architecture and views to be discovered before you come to the ruined castle at the top. Lunch in one of the lovely restaurants with a view out over the plains.

Next, walk 600m downhill to the famous Carrieres de Lumieres. This could possibly be the highlight of your week – it’s a gigantic spectacle of images painted by the grand masters displayed on the inner walls of the cavernous disused bauxite quarry, set to music. Simply amazing! Allow at least an hour here, if not more. You’ll be mesmerised.

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