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Boulbon

 
The Departement of Bouches du Rhone - Pop.: 1.557 h.

8 km north of Tarascon on the D35. 15 km south of Avignon via the D2 and the D35.
Boulbon - Square

Boulbon is a charming village in the north of the department of Bouches du Rhône, between Avignon and Tarascon. Nestled in a fold of La Montagnette, the land around Boulbon is divided between the fertile plain used for farming and La Montagnette, a paradise for walkers, mushroom gatherers and hunters (except for July to mid September when access is prohibited because of the fire risk).
Boulbon - Street



Visitors to Boulbon will discover a typical mediaeval Provençal village. It has a fortified château which dominates the village and fortifications which protected it from attack.

An attractive brochure produced by the mairie forms a useful guide, with lots of information about the history concealed in the old stones of the village.



Boulbon - Loriol door

As you leave the Place de la Mairie at the entrance to the village you will pass through the fortified gate, the Porte Loriol. On the left is the “Gardette” (the building which formerly housed the guards who controlled people entering and leaving the village). You will then find yourself in Boulbon’s longest street, la Grand’rue, which boasts old houses with lovely façades, some with Renaissance windows. You will also pass the large 14th-century statue of St Christopher. Look out for the old doors with sculpted pediments and little lanes which open out into charming little squares with flower-bedecked windows.

Boulbon - Fortress


Going along the ramparts from the rue du Barri, you come to the foot of what remains of Boulbon’s splendid feudal fortress. Its keep (11th century) can still be seen but the defence towers, the machicolations, the living quarters and the terraces sadly did not survive the many turbulent periods in the village’s history.

Boulbon - Church


Not far from the château is the church of St Anne, built in 1626, after which you will come to the chapel of St Marcellin, a little gem of Romanesque architecture, that you will reach via the street with the town hall on it. The way into the chapel is through a wonderful semicircular portal. The building is not only of interest for its architecture but also because it is the scene every year of the rather unusual Bottle Procession, which is without doubt the most picturesque of Boulbon’s festivals. It takes place every year on the evening of June 1st.


At around 7 pm the bells ring out and all the men and boys of the village (the women and girls are excluded) hurry along behind the priest to process to the Chapel of St Marcellin. Each man or boy carries one of his best bottles of wine. At the end of the mass the bottles are uncorked and the priest sings prayers and solemnly blesses the wine. Then everyone clinks glasses and drinks religiously.

Generally they all then very carefully recork their bottles - thus enriched by reverent prayer the wine will serve to soothe fevers, stomach aches and other illnesses until the following June… Then the procession returns to the village, uplifted and joyful.


What to see:

Ruines du château fort (ne se visite pas pour raisons de sécurité)
Fortifications. Chapelle St Julien. Chapelle Romane de St Marcellin (XI°) .
Abbaye St Michel de Frigolet (3 km from the village).



Leisure activities:

Market on Monday morning (Place Gilles Leontin)
Walking and horse riding. Summer events.
Blessing of the bottles on 1 June.
4th Sunday in August: Festival of St Eloi.
Last weekend in September: bullfighting festival.



Accommodation:

Hotel-Restaurant
Bed and breakfast.
Holiday rentals.



Neighbouring cities and villages:

Barbentane (7km), Graveson (13km), Maillane (16km), Châteaurenard (21km).







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