Le Paradou is a medieval village, really tiny.
Very old stone houses admirably restored, shutters in pastel tones, flowery and colourful gardens and narrow pedestrian streets inviting to stroll, so many assets for this city nestled between the Baux de Provence and Maussane les Alpilles.
The name Paradou does not come, as one might think from paradise, but from the name given to the old weavers' mills installed along the Arcoule.
The Paradou has a rich past.
Formerly called Saint-Martin-de-Castillon, the Paradou was located a little higher up on the Rochers de la Pène.
This site was already an oppidum in the 2nd century B.C., archaeological excavations having brought to light a Roman stele, burials, a small votive altar and the "Lion of Arcoules", a truncated statue from the 1st century B.C.
The objects are now part of the collection of the Museum of Ancient Arles.
The place was occupied until the 15th century.
Of the old castle of Saint-Martin-de-Castillon only the three towers dating from the 13th century and a surrounding wall still remain.
The site can be visited.
With the drainage of the marshes, the inhabitants abandoned the castrum to settle a few hundred metres further north. The 10th century church of St. Martin was partially rebuilt in 1632. Together with the cemetery cross, it is classified as a Historic Monument.
Then the village took the name "Le Paradou".
There are many craft shops as well as a good choice of restaurants and cafés including the Bistrot du Paradou, which has become an institution for the locals.
Charles Aznavour would have his favorite table there and Caroline of Monaco would be a regular.
This agricultural land was immortalized by the "peasant poet" Charloun Rieu, a great friend of Mistral, a famous inhabitant of Paradou.
In the summer, this landscape is the setting for the Festival des Alpilles, a festival of songs of the earth, some of whose events are held in the large green theatre set up on a rocky promontory.
La Petite Provence du Paradou
If you like the santons you should not miss the « Petite Provence du Paradou », a miniature village of the santons of Provence. Populated with more than 400 santons on 500m2, these works are the fruit of the work of the best santon makers of France with the villagers, the houses, the animals, the objects?
It is said that little Provence is one of the largest cribs in the world.
In the surroundings of Le Paradou you can visit Les Baux de Provence, 3 km away, a perched village with a unique architectural heritage with its castle and fortress, Fontvieille, 6 km away, and Alphonse Daudet's mill, and Maussane les Alpilles, 1.9 km away, specialist in olive oil, a charming village with its Provencal market every Thursday morning.
Place Laugier de Monblan
Phone : 04 90 54 52 04