Because during the Wars of Religion Les Baux-de-Provence was one of the bulwarks of Protestantism by the order of Cardinal Richelieu in 1632 the castle-fortress was destroyed and the town and the lands were attached to the French crown.
From that time until the beginning of XIX century the life in the town of Les Baux-de-Provence froze, the population was reduced to a minimum, there were more crows than residents.
But like a phoenix from the ashes the town was revived due to the discovery of the rich deposits of bauxite (the name of this mineral comes from Les Baux) here in 1822. And finally Les Baux-de-Provence was transformed by tourism (today there are about 400 inhabitants and the number of tourists who visit it every year is over 1.5 million).
Near the ruins, the remains of the feudal castle there are partially restored Tour Sarrasine, Chapelle Castrale and destroyed houses partly carved into the «body» of the rock.
The visitors can passing through the narrow old streets look into some of the courtyards of private mansions, take a picture of the old town hall with a chapel of the 17th century, Pénitents Blancs with beautiful frescoes. And yet, the Saint-Vincent church with its elegant bell tower «lantern of the dead» and stained-glass windows in modernist style of «cubism», the chapel of the White Penitents brotherhood. We cannot also forget the views opening from here to the Val d'Enfer where the witches' sabbaths took place (about which the poet Dante Alighieri wrote in his «Divine Comedy»).
Now there are a lot of beautiful low buildings and several museums in the town. And on the plateau above the town there is a very interesting exhibition of medieval throwing machines by which the forts were taken by storm.
In the City History Museum located in the Tour de Brau the guests will see a collection of archaeological finds and models that «illustrate» the history of Les Baux-de-Provence from the greatness during the Middle Ages to the beginning of the development of bauxite here.
It is also very curious to explore the old printing presses, the printing wooden boards and books hand-printed by the master printer in the mansion of Jean de Brion of the 15th century – at the Museum of the Louis Jou Foundation.
In the Hotel de Manville one can for free explore one of the constantly changing exhibitions of contemporary artists of Provence.
Take a look also in the Yves Brayer Museum (in the Hôtel des Porcelets), a metaphorical artist of the 20th century whose painting adorns the Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs of 17th century. His other interesting works are exhibited here.
The Museum of Santons (Musée des Santons) which is located in a historic town hall invites to look at the fine collection of traditional Provencal Christmas figurines, the santons.
has also a museum-memorial commemorated to the wife of the Prince Rainier III of Monaco, beauty-actress, Grace Kelly.