The area around St-Rémy-de-Provence is wonderful for hiking. The Alpilles Mountains are crisscrossed with well-marked trails that offer fabulous views.
But let’s face it, who wants to schlep through the mountains on a hot summer day? Isn’t there a better way to stretch your legs and still see beautiful countryside?
Yes—a canal walk.
St-Rémy is surrounded by agriculture—vineyards, olive groves, and fields growing fruits and vegetables of all kinds. A vast network of canals, built around the main Canal des Alpines, supports it all. This canal and its offshoots are like a bunch of little rivers with pleasant, shady walking paths alongside them.
My favorite starting point is the waterfall near the road into St-Rémy from Cavaillon. Tourists like to stop here to take a photo, as it’s very picturesque. (note: parking is tricky) If you follow the canal upstream about 100 meters you will come to a split. You can follow the path to the left and go for miles, with wonderful views of vineyards and the Alpilles beyond. You’ll often find townspeople there, walking with their dogs.
If you instead go to the right, you’ll amble towards town, passing bassins full of croaking frogs and the occasional peep into someone’s back yard.
If you follow the canal downstream from the waterfall, you’ll soon cross over the main road—what looks like an overpass from below is actually an elevated canal!
Continue for a mile or so you will be rewarded with beautiful views down onto St.-Rémy itself.
The network of canals extends far beyond St-Rémy, towards Eygalières in the east, St.-Ètienne-du-Grès in the west and towns like Maillane in the north. Check Google Maps to trace their path and find a spot to begin your walk. It’s an unbeatable way to get some cool exercise on a hot day.
What a terrific post. I have always wanted to do that walk and now I have via your images.
Ah, the canals of St Remy! Among my favorite memories, wandering along the canal from our mas. From mystical grotto, iris & poppy mounds; the path along the waterway gives a glimpse of the unexpected. Taking the ‘backroads’ in Provence rewards the adventurous spirit.
Great post, Keith, as many might not venture forth without knowing the canal possibilities. Still, I. puzzle over their creation and the fact that these waterways continue to flow in service to the land and the people.
Gee, who knew there were canals near St. Remy? What a nice experience…for my next time in Provence!
Love the photos Keith. Canals are also good for kids to learn to ride a bike, except if that means your six year old crashes, goes down the embankment and falls into feeezing winter water. Oops!
Thank you. Weve have just done the walk you sugested, going to the right, from the winery. We Will do the one to the left also. Do you have any other suggestions for walks please.? Not too strenuous or rough. We’ve also walked around the base of Les Baux. We’re here in St Remy for 2 More weeks and want to do more walks, so suggestions welcomed. Thank you
One walk I love is up to la Caume, but it can get hot so you’ll want to start early. Take the road from St-Rémy towards Maussane. At the very top, on the left, is a big dirt parking lot. From the back of the lot is a trail that is mostly paved and very pleasant. After a while you get some wonderful views! Eventually it gets fairly steep so you might want to turn around but if you carry on it goes all the way to the big communications tower you have probably seen, with really lovely views in all directions. Good luck and have fun!
Thank you! We Wil ldo the other canal walk tomorrow (early!) and try your other suggestion another day. Thank so much for these ideas. We stay in St Remy each year (from Australia) and are keen to do some walks.
Hello again, today we did the canal walk, turning left, and took the walk to the right, then turned left. We really enjoyed this too, and will do the other one, towards the water wheel next. Is there any advantage in parking near the stadium and walking from there? Does the canal go on for some distance from that point? Yesterday we also went to the Musee des Alpilles – a wonderful insight inot the agricultural practices – and the canals etc – of St Remy. Re your suggestion up to la Caume – is la Caume the name of a hill? and about how long would that walk take? Thanks very much for these great ideas.