A doctor, philosopher and astronomer, Michel de Nostredame (Nostradamus) published his prophecies in 1555, an epic masterpiece that took 30 years to complete and for which he is primarily known. He is said to have predicted the Great Fire of London, the French Revolution, the ‘kingdom’ of Adolf Hitler, the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers.
Born in Saint-Rémy de Provence, Nostradamus grew up amidst medicine, mathematics and astronomy. He studied in Avignon and Montpelier before embarking on a long set of travels that took him the length and breadth of France to study the power of plants and illnesses. In his forties, he returned to Provence to help rid Marseille and Aix-en-Provence of the Plague. In 1547 he moved to Salon-de-Provence after marrying a local woman.
Having published his prophecies, his renown and fame grew to the point that Queen Catherine de Medici requested his presence alongside Charles IX and Henri de Navarre. Upon summoning him to court, the queen appointed him physician and councillor to the king. In 1566, he died in the exact circumstances described in one of his omens. Today, after much trial and tribulation, the little that remains of the famous ‘astrophile’ Michel de Nostre-Dame resides in the Notre-Dame chapel of the Saint-Laurent church in Salon de Provence.
Tour of Nostradamus’s house
This house where the astronomer resided from 1547 until his death along with his wife and 6 children is located in Salon-de-Provence at the foot of the Château de l’Empéri castle. A 40-minute audio-guided tour sheds light into his life. http://www.salondeprovence.fr/index.php/nostradamus
Historical re-enactment on the last weekend of June
Every year, Salon-de-Provence is transformed into a town of yesteryear over the course of three days of street festivities (costumed processions and parades, shows, events and activities, camps, night market) in the heart of Salon’s old town.
The international Greeters movement was founded in New York in the 1990s and brings together locals with a passion for their towns or regions. The enthusiasm Greeters have for their regions, towns and cities is a revival of the tradition of local residents welcoming visitors, and in 2014 France became the most popular destination for Greeters from around the world. Renowned for its soap-making and Nostradamus, in 2015 Salon-de-Provence created its own network of local volunteers to form a regional hub alongside Marseille-Provence and Nice. www.francegreeters.fr – www.salondeprovence-greeters.com
Where to stay
A new 5-star hotel in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
Ralph Gunter, a German publicist with a passion for old stone, purchased 3 old listed village houses with the ambitious goal of renovating them to create a luxurious hideaway in the heart of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in the Alpilles. This new intimate hotel (7 suites, a panoramic terrace and an inner courtyard complete with swimming-pool) has been offering guests elegance, comfort and refinement since June 2015.
Chef Benoit Fauci treats diners to colourful fine-dining at affordable prices (3-course menu for €48). The perfect location for hosting a private family event in Provence!
Château de Roussan**** in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
The very first master of the house at the Château de Roussan, back in the 16th century, was none other than the knighted Captain Bertrand de Nostredame, Nostradamus’s brother.