Les Baux-the lower village

I am in Texas where I met my newest grandson, Benjamin James, weighing in at 8 pounds 8 ounces. My daughter had to have a c-section but both are doing well.

Emily, my guest blogger, visits les Baux.

The lower village of Les Baux actually requires a rather steep climb, and it’s the lucky person who’s there at a quiet time of year and is able to drive and park almost at the entrance gate. It’s a vibrant, small, medieval town which depends entirely on tourism and is filled with many shops and cafes, most found along a narrow cobblestone street with one or two short side streets and the square, Place St. Vincent.


The remains of this Renaissance window once was a Protestant chapel and may have been where Huguenots worshiped. Carved into the window you can see the words, Post tenebras lux – “After the shadow comes the light.”


I can’t remember exactly what this tower was but I like the bird gargoyles around the top. It may be a campanile, the lantern of the dead, on one side of the church.


The Eglise St. Vincent is a 12th century church partially carved out of bedrock. It houses the town’s traditional Provencal processional chariot.


In old Provence it was the tradition on Christmas Eve to put a newborn lamb in a cart, symbolizing the newborn Christ child. The cart, surrounded by candles, was then pulled in a processional through town to the church for the celebration at midnight of the Christmas mass. This still is done in Les Baux.


Adjacent to the main church is the Chapel of Penitents Blancs. Its frescoes of the Nativity, painted by local artist Yves Bryer in 1974, “prove” the local legend that Jesus was born in Les Baux. Notice in the Nativity scene the background of the Alpilles, and at the top – seen in the second photograph – medieval men watching in wonder. In the next fresco, the shepherds watch their sheep by night and stare in amazement at the wondrous star. The last photo is the fresco over the front alter in the little chapel. Probably this legend began because the lords of Les Baux claimed to be descendants of the Magi king, Balthazar. However, it also may have been simply a device for the medieval church to make local people feel closer to biblical stories.



Sideroads of Europe

8 thoughts to “Les Baux-the lower village”

  1. Wonderful news, Linda! Enjoy your time there with your family and the new baby.
    Emily, I’m really enjoying your photos and travel diary. Terrific!

  2. Linda, congratulations. We’ll expect a picture, too. Our best to you, daughter, family and the newest addition. Much happiness.

  3. Have a wonderful time with your new grandson Linda.

    I’ve been to Les Beaux – a few years ago. I loved it. I started a santon collection during our summer in Provence.

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