The Departement of Bouches du Rhone - Alpilles - Pop.: 18,000 inh.
Between Saint Rémy de Provence (11 km to the south) and Avignon (10 km).
Situated in the north of the department, at the foot of a little hill between La Montagnette to the west and La Petite Cran to the east, Châteaurenard is a little town which lies peacefully at the heart of a fertile valley.
Châteaurenard boasts all the attractions of a rural town: surrounded by vast, colourful orchards, between the Alpilles and Durance,but just a stone’s throw from Avignon and the main tourist attractions of the region.
Châteaurenard was formerly a strategic defensive site, providing protection against attacks by enemies and watching over the Durance valley. Some remnants of the town’s feudal past have been preserved, with two towers of the old château still surviving today.
Constructed in 1170 by Reynardus, the local lord of the manor, the château gave its name to the village: originally called Castel Reynard, it then became Castel Renard and later Châteaurenard.
The château underwent several changes and transformations over the centuries. For instance, in 1420 a second floor was added, which explains the mixture of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
Some famous people have stayed at the château: Louis XIV, Queen Jeanne and Catherine de Medici are among the most well known, as well as Pope Benoit XIII (the last pope of Avignon).
Sadly, the château was destroyed by the villagers during the French Revolution - only the two towers visible today were spared. From the castle esplanade and the Griffin Tower visitors can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of la Montagnette, Avignon, le Ventoux and the Alpilles.
Today the château houses four themed rooms : the Middle Ages, stone engravings and sculptures, the 17th century and the 18th century. During the summer months you can also visit the Châteaurenard Museum of Agricultural Implements.!
The main economic activity in Châteaurenard is its Marché d’Intérêt National (MIN - or National Market), held on a site which extends over 800 m².
Around 300,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables are handled here every year (making this the largest market of its kind in Europe in terms of weight). The market is supplied by 150 municipalities in the surrounding area.
It is open for business every day from 6.30 am to 7.30 am but it’s not worth getting up early and going there with your little basket - the melons, tomatoes, cauliflowers, lettuces, apples and other fruit and vegetables are sold here by the palette and the lorry load!
Finally, don’t leave Châteaurenard without trying the local specialities: liqueur de Frigolet (herbal liqueur), Frigoleïo (grapes covered in marzipan and infused with a herbal liqueur) and Pavé du Cours Carnot (small chocolate).
Market on Sunday mornings (Cours Carnot).
Frigolet liqueur distillery.
Waymarked walks - fitness trail.
Horse riding and mountain biking.
Riding centre. Pony club. Tennis.
Heated open-air swimming pool. Cinema. Discos.
Manades and Courses camarguaises (courses with bulls, horses and calves).
Festival of St Eloi: 1st weekend in July.
Madeleine Festival: 1st weekend in August.
Festival of St Omer: 3rd weekend in September.
Bed and breakfast.