The dreamy, little-changed community of St-Rémy-de-Provence, where Van Gogh painted some of his most lyrical works, nestles against the northern base of the Alpilles, 30km from either Arles or Avignon. St-Rémy is a beautiful spot, centring on a charmingly low-key old town, the Vieille Ville, an enchanting tangle of narrow lanes and ancient alleyways interspersed with peaceful little squares. Despite the presence of several boutiques and restaurants, it’s all surprisingly sleepy. There’s not even a café where you can sit and watch the world go by; instead virtually all the town’s commercial life takes place on the four busy boulevards that ring the entire ensemble.

Several exceptional sites and attractions lie within walking distance to the south: Van Gogh’s hospital of St-Paul-de-Mausole, a Roman arch, and the ruins of the ancient city of Glanum.

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