Shortened to "Salon", the city of Salon de Provence is a very nice place, it is in the south of France, half an hour from Marseilles and a hour from Avignon. There is a train station but very few trains stop here, from Marseille you can go by bus also. There is a lovely old town, quite small, you can see the city in an afternoon, but to sleep there, and discover the rest of the region by the day, is a nice choice. Salon has a good range of hotels and restaurants to accommodate visitors. The city is famous because Nostradamus lived there. It is a medieval city that has a warm climate in summer. The interesting things to see include the House of Nostradamus, the castle and the Empéri Museum, and in summer there are many concerts and festivals in Salon and the surrounding area. It is a little similar to Aix en Provence, but cheaper and with less tourism.
Nostradamus was a strange character, who was born in the village of Saint Remy de Provence, but spent the last 20 years of his life in Salon de Provence. The house in which he lived is now a museum. It is a beautiful 16 century house. He lived here until his death, and wrote his prophecies, which predict the future until the year 3797. He was a scientist, who studied astrology, pharmacy, medicine etc. He was a friend of aristocrats, French kings and of Catherine de Medici. There is a 40-minute guided tour that tells you about the life and work of Nostradamus.
The square is named after a famous nineteenth century poet who lived in the beautiful city of Salon de Provence. In fact it is the most beautiful square of the city, with at its center an emblem, the fountain of the moss. The fountain is huge and covered by vegetation so to see the water coming out you need to take a closer look. Around are some small terraces of restaurants, the grand hotel of the Correos and also a lounge called the Colisee which hosts karaoke nights on Fridays and Saturdays DJ. The Provencal houses line this beautiful plaza which is semi pedestrian. It is difficult to park here.
The Castillo de l'Empéri dominates the Crau with its massive structure. It is on a rock, the rock of Puech, already occupied in Roman times. This fort, one of the three oldest in Provence, has a name from the holy Roman Empire. In the fourteenth century it was enlarged thanks to the Archbishop of Arles who lived there. Gradually it was improved by each owner, foe example by the governor of Provence Henri d'Angouleme in the XVI century, for the young King Louis XIV. It has been national property since 1792. The town hall has bought it. It was a barracks, then a museum, now a historical monument since 1840. It's on a list of monuments drawn up by Mérimée. Nice place to go with kids
Saint Michel Church is in the historic center of Salon de Provence. It is built at the foot of the castle, and was erected in the early 13 century, in the middle of the medieval city. It looks out onto what was the central square and the junction of several major highways. The building faces east and Jerusalem. Its bell tower with arches and door are typical Provencal art. It is simple but at the same time its massive. It has an imposing silhouette in the square. The door is Provencal Gothic and is nice. Before the bell was the only town clock but when it broke, they built a non-religious bell tower.
The Cours Victor Hugo is a prestigious avenue in the center of Salon de Provence. It joins the Cours Carnot by Moussue fountain. It is the place where, once they started to build houses outside the medieval town, all the citizens built a home. They were called "private hotels". The whole family lived on two or three floors. Now it is the headquarters of banks, chocolate shops, cafes and a few restaurants. It is hard to imagine that these old houses then represented modernity. People fled the medieval centre with its poor hygienic conditions, to build a "civilized" place, where the streets were wide enough for horse and carriage.
The inscription on it tells us fountain was erected in 1859. The mayor at the time, Fidele Reynaud, ordered its construction in honour of Robert de Lamanon, an eighteenth-century naturalist who participated in the expeditionary voyages of La Perouse and died on the island of Maouna. It is a small fountain with four facades, three of them are decorated, mostly with vegetables: wheat, vines, flowers and fruit. The fourth side has a female mask which is where the water comes out. There's also a decorative metal font. The fountain was restored in 1988 and again in 2006, when the whole of Corso Victor Hugo was renovated.
The first stone of the City Hall of Salon de Provence was blessed and laid in 1655 by the the First Consul Pol de Grignan, helped by several citizens and merchants from the region. It is said that he placed a gold coin underneath the stone. The facade is the work of master sculptor Mainville, and the interior by Arnaud. The building is built on the site of an old town house, and is located within the medieval walls. It was built, after digging away the wall to allow the new building gave way to the modern city. The statues of the facade are allegories of wisdom which have been recognized as historic landmarks.
La Torre Bourg Neuf means tower of the new city, and is one of the remains of the twelfth century wall. It owes its name to its role as the way between the old walled city and the new town. Having suffered with violence and pillaging mercenaries, in the twelfth and thirteenth century, the tower was made more defensive. Renovated in the sixteenth century during the wars of religion. A Black Madonna with the child was at the top of the tower. It is now exhibited in the museum of history of Hall, but you can see a duplicate entry in the town hall.
The fountain representing Adam de Craponne is in front of the city hall in a beautiful semi pedestrian square. It replaces a fountain of 1760, and opened in 1854. It is a tribute to Adam de Craponne, an engineer who lived in the sixteenth century, and made a canal that allowed irrrigation in the entire region. The 22 municipalities represented in the fountain involved in the construction thereof. There are two texts, which maintain four geniuses. One is in Provencal, and says that thanks to Craponne, the City of Salon deProvence which was dying of thirst could have access to water. Then there is another poem that says the same in Latin. The work, which is by the sculptor ,Marius Ramus,has a statue of de Craponne, and the precious water comes from a founta in in Aubes.
The medieval town of Hall is organized around two "Corsos", Victor Hugo and Carnot, and is quite small compared to the center of Aix en Provence. The tourist office, which is on the Cours Victor Hugo. There are various points of interest. These include Bourg Neuf tower and the clock tower, which formed part of the defensive enclosure and the ancient city walls. In the middle of the old walled town you have Empéri l'Castle, which you should visit. It's worth it. You can explore other streets on foot. Most are pedestrian, with shops, bars and restaurants. In summer it gets crowded, but until the beginning of June it is less crowded, and it is cooler.
The building of the clock tower began with King Louis XIII, and ended with Louis XIV. A novel mechanism rang the bells, and also gave the position of the moon. Once it had a clock. People were able to share fairly irrigation tools and water coming through the channels. Each had the right to open the tap for so long a day. The northern part of the tower represents the stars of Cancer in a sphere which describes the movements of the moon. The southern part indicates the days of the week represented by celestial bodies, i.e., moon day Monday, Tuesday day of Mars, Mercury Wednesday, Thursday for Jupiter, Friday for Venus, Saturn Saturday and Sunday is sun day. Renovated in 2003, it is beautiful.
Its name means the source of the moss. It is located in the Croussillat Square in Salon de Provence, and it is also the emblem of the city. It has existed since the sixteenth century. Lime formations have developed, gluing the two piles and moss, along with the rest of the vegetation, and so it got its strange shape. For good luck, guys throw a coin and make a wish. The fountain is so covered by vegetation that d not a lot of water comes out, it rather slips over the moss.
Le Marigny is a cafe-bar on Victor Hugo street. The bar itself is nothing particularly special, it serves coffees and alcoholic drinks until 11pm at night during the summer. The nice thing is the environment. On Corso Victor Hugo because of the coloured houses, you have the feeling that on seeing a ray of sun, even in winter, that you're on holidays. Prices are lower than in the trendy bars of the square with the fountain. It is sells tobacco.
Le Concorde is a bar and a fast food restaurant in the Victor Hugo area, in central Salon de Provence. It has long opening hours, from 7 am until 1 am on weekends and summer and until 10 pm at other times. They organize many events, including parties, traditional festivals, Spanish fiestas - there is always something to celebrate here. The food, well, it's nothing fancy but the drinks are good.
The Armand Municipal Theatre is in Salon de Provence, in a nice old building near the Charles de Gaulle Square. The theatre was founded in 1884 by Etienne Armand, a wealthy businessman who was financially ruined by the cost of building the theatre, and had no more money to carry out the production and construction on the building. The city then bought it at an auction, and turned it into the municipal theater. The architect who did the work was David, who was, at that time, the mayor of the city! The performances that are presented are diverse. There are modern, contemporary works and some from French groups. During the summer there are several festivals.
La Maison d'Hotes is called a "guest house", but in reality it sells decorations for the home. You can find very beautiful objects, is a region of France which is famous for the quality of the houses and their fine touches. Many people have a second home in the region and want to furnish and decorate it well. The prices here are higher than in a chain but the objects have been designed by local artists, some are very nice people.
The Pub Au Bureau is located in the Place des Centuries, next to the church of Saint Michel de Salon de Provence. It's a pub, bar in which to drink beer, and traditional brasserie.
It's open daily until 1 am in the morning and Sunday until 5pm. They organize various events throughout the year and have giant screens to watch tennis, football and rugby games, but there are also concerts, festivals, games ... It is a place with good atmosphere, with a terrace that opens onto the square, overlooking the castle of l'Empéri. In sum, it is very nice.