If you plan to visit the western part of the Provence region in southern France, known as “les Bouches-du-Rhône”, you will not want to miss the site called les Baux-de-Provence.
“Les Baux”, for short, is a tiny village on the top of a large, somewhat tabular white rock, which it shares with the ruins of a medieval castle.
One cannot separate les Baux-de-Provence from les Alpilles, that is: physically speaking. The rock stands on the southern slopes of that small mountain range, whose name is, in effect, the French diminutive for Alps (although that name has a history of its own).
But whereas les Baux-de-Provence is a huge touristic attraction, a “must-see” where you feel like you’ve entered a postcard, or you’ve been hired as an extra in a Hollywood production, les Alpilles are for the wanderer, they cannot be “done” in an hour.
This is not to minimize the beauty of les Baux-de-Provence ! Rather, it is a warning that, if you really want to SEE les Baux, some precautions are in order. The view from les Baux might hold you for some time, because it really is breathtaking, but otherwise it is a small place, that even the meticulous will have visited in a couple of hours.
Les Alpilles is something entirely different, with other dimensions, requiring probably several days to embrace.