Chaîne des Alpilles
Alpilles near Maussane-les-Alpilles.
Highest point
Peak Tour des Opies (Eyguières)
Elevation 498 m (1,634 ft)
Length 25 km (16 mi)
Width 8 km (5.0 mi)
Area 171 km2 (66 sq mi)
Country France
State/Province Bouches-du-Rhône

The Chaîne des Alpilles is a small range of low mountains in Provence, southern France, located about 20 km (12 mi) south of Avignon.


  • Geography 1
  • Communes 2
  • Flora and fauna 3
  • History 4
  • Conservation 5
  • The Alpilles in arts 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8


The range is an extension of the much larger Luberon range. Although it is not high - some 498 m (1,634 ft) at its highest point - the Alpilles range stands out disproportionately, as it rises apparently sheer from the Rhône valley and from the very flat alluvial plain of Crau. The range is about 25 km long by about 8 to 10 km wide, running in an east-west direction between the Rhône and Durance rivers. The landscape of the Alpilles is one of arid limestone peaks separated by dry valleys.


The Chaîne des Alpilles is part of the territory of 15 Saint-Étienne-du-Grès, Saint-Martin-de-Crau, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Sénas, Tarascon.

Flora and fauna

Alpilles landscape near Le Destet. The three types of landscape forms can clearly be seen: cultivated land on the lower slopes, trees on the foothills and bare rock on the peaks.

The lower slopes are planted with olive and almond trees. Kermes oaks and pines also grow there. Much of the range is bare rock or stony ground covered with scrub and maquis.

The highest parts of the range are a nature reserve inhabited by a number of rare species, including Bonelli's eagle, the Egyptian vulture and eagle owl. Some of these species were introduced in the Alpilles in the 1980s.


Some protohistorical settlements have been found in the Alpilles. In the very old village of Les Baux de Provence, a cave was used 8000 years ago.


The Parc Naturel Régional des Alpilles was created on January 30, 2007.[2] It covers the territory of 16 communes. The area is also under the protection of the Natura 2000 Environmental Protection Plan of the European Union.[3]

The Alpilles in arts

Les Alpilles (1889), painted by van Gogh while in Saint-Rémy

The Alpilles were immortalized in art by Vincent van Gogh, who painted many images of the Alpilles' landscapes during his time in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence on the north side of the mountains. One of the paintings was given by van Gogh to his friend Eugène Boch.[4]

Alphonse Daudet's 1885 novel Tartarin sur les Alpes, which is a sequel to the 1872 Tartarin de Tarascon, takes place in the Alpilles.

See also

Panorama of the Alpilles


  1. ^ Zone ZNIEFF (French)
  2. ^ Parc Naturel Régional des Alpilles : un territoire qui conserve un équilibre économique et écologique (French)
  3. ^ Les Alpilles: Natura 2000 site (French)
  4. ^ More about the Alpilles painting by Vincent van Gogh