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.