The distinctly unreal fortified village of Les Baux-de-Provence perches atop the Alpilles ridge, 15km northeast of Arles. The ruins of its eleventh-century castle merge almost imperceptibly into the plateau, whose rock is both foundation and part of the structure. The village itself, straggling over the hilltop just below, is a too-good-to-be-true collection of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century churches, chapels and mansions. To avoid the crowds of summer day-trippers, it’s best to turn up late in the day.

 

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