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Les Baux de Provence

(4.2/5 based on 5,500+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: sightseeing, historic sites, outdoors
Les Baux-de-Provence is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department of the province of Provence in southern France. It has a spectacular position in the Alpilles mountains, set atop a rocky outcrop that is crowned with a ruined castle overlooking the plains to the south. Its name refers to its site: in Provençal, a bauç is a rocky spur. The village gives its name to the aluminium ore bauxite, which was first discovered there by geologist Pierre Berthier in 1821.HistoryThe defensive possibilities of Les Baux led to the site being settled early on in human history. Traces of habitation have been found dating back as far as 6000 BC, and the site was used by the Celts as a hill fort or oppidum around the 2nd century BC. During the Middle Ages it became the seat of a powerful feudal lordship that controlled 79 towns and villages in the vicinity. The lords of Baux sought control of Provence for many years. They claimed ancestry from the Magus king Balthazar and placed the Star of Bethlehem on their coat of arms.
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