Traditions

The village of Les Baux-de-Provence maintains some ancient Provençal traditions. Discover these age-old rituals in a typical setting.

Midnight mass, living cribs and the Pastrage ceremony

Midnight mass is celebrated in the lovely church of St Vincent in the same way it has been for more than four centuries.

Provençal carols are sung to the flute and tambourine.

During mass, the inhabitants of the village enact a living crib. Shepherds and Arlésiennes, Mireilles and Baussencs – typical characters dressed in traditional costume – sing during the Pastrage ceremony. The head shepherd, the Bayle, offers the newest-born lamb from his flock to the Infant Jesus.

Aubade ceremony

Since the 16th century, the dawn vigil, or Aubade, has been observed by the shepherds in Les Baux Valley.

The “shepherds of Les Baux – all men of good sense”, according to the Christmas carol by Provençal writer and poet Charloun Rieu, come together on Christmas eve to sing and keep vigil until dawn, “We, the shepherds, have come down from the mountains – To announce the coming of Christmas…”

The Bayle and his flock process through the village. The tambourines sound and the Arlésiennes and Mireilles dance the farandole.

The Tremaïe Pilgrimage

The tradition of a pilgrimage around the rocky spur of Les Baux-de-Provence goes back to the 19th century when the little Chapel of Tremaïe was built at the foot of the citadel.

Every third Sunday in May, the pilgrims assemble in St Vincent’s church at the top of the village where the boat in which the Tremaïe – the three Marys, who according to legend landed at Les Baux-de-Provence – is kept.

The procession then proceeds down the cobbled streets and along the path at the foot of the rock to the chapel. An open-air mass is then celebrated in front of the little chapel dedicated to Mary Jacob, Mary Salome and Sarah.

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History

Perched in splendid isolation on top of a natural plateau, Les Baux-de-Provence has always offered its inhabitants the dual advantage of being able to observe the land all around and to protect themselves. This no doubt explains why the site has been continuously inhabited from prehistoric times to the present day.

Tourist Office

Maison du Roy, Rue Porte Mage,
13520 Les Baux-de-Provence
Tel +33 (0)4 90 54 34 39
tourisme@lesbauxdeprovence.com

Hours
Mon – Fri: 9.30 am – 5.00 pm
Sat – Sun: 10.00 am – 5.30 pm

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