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Salon de Provence - La Crau

01 Salon de Provence

Salon de Provence

Close to Marseille, in the heart Provence, Salon is a place where the Provençal « Art de Vivre » is a reality… You will appreciate its beauty, its dynamism and its cultural heritage.

04 Salon de Provence

Guided by the downtown streets you will find the « Château de l'Empéri », one of the most important fortresses in Provence. It hosts the « Musée de l'Empéri », where a wide variety of military outfits and accessories will  help you to discover the trips and battles of our History.

In the old part of the town, you can also visit the house of Nostradamus (1503-1566), where the famous doctor and star-lover have lived 20 years and where he has written his famous prophecies. The Musée Grévin of Provence will bring you right back the old days of Provence, around the themes of Woman and Water.

Monuments (from the 12th century to the present) are numerous and varied, featuring a number of different architectural styles. Many drinking fountains, especially the famous « Fontaine Moussue » were where the people’s daily lives take place.  The villagers watered their lamb and sheep there during their annual transhumance to the Alps. Many statues represent the leading characters of the city.
Salon de Provence is also a place of welcome for  Master soap-makers and thier unique know-how  for Marseille soap manufacturing. Still operating, the soap factories are to be visited.

The town is also the nest of the « poussins » (in french in the text : chicks) training in the « Ecole de l'Air” and of the Alphajets of the “Patrouille Acrobatique de France”. Famous for its tricolor aerial tricks, it is a symbol of aeronautical progresses and human performances.

Many leisure activities are to be discovered with friends and family. Each one of us can create a his own timetable choosing among available activities…Hiking on the « Massif du Tallagard », sunbathing at the terrasse of a café, spa treatment, tasting traditional foods, intense emotions with accrobranche or gliding, children’s games…

Wandering in Spring and Summer will make you discover other treasures and meet people passionate about about their work. Concerts and shows are scheduled throughout the year. In the Summer period, the courtyard of the castle becomes a scene hosting festive and cultural evening shows.

05 La Crau

Saint Martin de Crau

Pastoralism and gentle lifestyle…

07 La Crau

In Saint Martin de Crau you will see a unique Provençal landscape: the dry Crau and its pebble desert, the moist Crau and its green meadows, the swamps and the hedged farmlands at the foot of the Alpilles. Ideal place for environmental tourism, the location managed to preserve its typical Provencal charm and authenticity, organizing many festivities, showing how deep it is attached to the local culture.

The Crau, an arid land with a thousand secrets

The Crau is a vast stretch of plains and one of the last protected steppes in Europe. Its wild and fragile environment reveals its secrets only to those that know how to observe it. The « coussouls » now cover over 7 400 ha of land, classified as a Natural Reserve in 2001 in order to preserve this unique natural heritage.

Indeed, this dry land hosts a wild, fragile and exceptional nature. Many birds make the naturalistic fame of the place: the pin-tailed sandgrouse, the lesser kestrel, the little bustard…

As for wildlife, the rhodanien locust (endemic species) or the ocellated lizard can be observed. The flora of the coussouls, which was able to adapt to this binding environment, is composed of ordinary plants for most of them but their combination is unique in the world : the branching brachypod, the hairy feather-grass, the spike lavender…

The Crau, a land of agriculture

From ancient times, it is a land of sheep pastoralism, there are many traces of Gallo-Roman sheepfolds. Even today, many flock of sheep, especially the distinctive breed « Mérinos d'Arles », freely graze in the Crau in Winter and Spring.
Furthermore, the town is the first French nectarine producer. At last the well renowned at international level hay of the Crau is cultivated (AOC since 1997).

The arboretums, green paradises

The three arboretums of the city are a complete break from the way the Crau is initially conceived, dry and arid. They are real havens of peace where many rare plant species develop. “Le Jardin de Gaston” is the most famous one, it preserved a part of the former reed bed. It is a unique place where the reeds meet a hundred of species of trees or shrubs from all over the world.
In the meandering of its path, visitors can familiarize themselves with the different species thanks to the  labels near each species. Crossed by a river with swams, the arboretum includes a cycle path, it is by the way accessible to persons with reduced mobility.

Balads in the Crau

Visitors can choose between five hiking trails, which reflect Saint Martin de Crau’s cultural and environmental identity .

On the « chemin de l’Ilon » you will walk from a pine forest to an oak wood, from the red cliff to the ancient swamps of the Baux. Goats, bulls and horses will be watching you…
The « chemin de Craulonguette » will show you the most beautiful sheepfolds of Crau and keys to understand the irrigation system.
The « chemin des Angelets » will give you the secrets of the hay of Crau, and Merinos sheep breeding.
On the « chemin de la Garrigue » there are magnificient views on the Alpilles, you will discover a flourished flora and wonderful Provençal farmhouses.

The green route will lead you to the arboretums…