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An itinerary to visit the places where Michel de Nortedame, or Nostradamus, lived and worked.
The loop takes four hours of driving, too much for one day, even without sightseeing. We suggest:
Saint Rémy-de-Provence, with two or three days for visiting the birthplace (1503) of Nostradamus and the nearby sites.
Travel via Tarascon/Beaucaire
Overnight in Nîmes, for a day of visiting the town.
Travel to Montpellier.
Overnight in Montpellier, to visit where he studied medicine and treated victims of the plague.
Travel to "cross-country", returning east to Arles, and a half-day visit of the town.
Overnight in Arles.
Travel to Salon-de-Provence, and a half-day visit where Nostradamus published the Centuries, containing his 900 "predictions".
Return to Saint Rémy-de-Provence.
Like Nostradamus himself, you'll start in Saint Rémy-de-Provence. Saint Rémy is a wonderful town to visit, so plan on an extra few days at the beginning or end of your itinerary to see the sites round and about.
From Saint Rémy-de-Provence [map], the Roman ruins of Glanum are just a couple of minutes out of town to the south. The ancient and picturesque village of Les Baux-de-Provence is only 10 km south of Saint Rémy, continuing on the road past Glanum.
Depart Saint Rémy-de-Provence west onto the D99, direction Tarascon [map].
Tarascon, on the Rhône opposite the town of Beaucaire, was a Roman town and has the big 14th-century castle of King Réne.
From Tarascon/Beaucaire, head west on the D999 to Nîmes.
Nîmes is a very exciting Roman town, including the famous Roman Arena (Arènes). A day isn't enough time to see the sites, so we recommend spending a couple of nights here before you continue on the trail of Nostradamus.
From Nîmes, get on the A9 autoroute southeast to Montpellier [map].
Montpellier is a university town, adding a level of youth and dynanicism to the place.
Nostradamus was here to study, and to practice medicine. He was a very skilled doctor, one of the first to use the unknown art of cleanliness to help heal.
In the 18th century, when the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) was doing his famous classification of flora and fauna, many botanist from all over the south of France sent new plants to the university in Montpellier to be sent on to Linnaeus. Because Linnaeus often included the location of the plant in his classification, and because he noted that the item had come from Montpellier, many plants today are somewhat incorrectly named as coming from Montpellier (for example, the Ciste de Montpellier (Cistus monspeliensis), or narrow-leaved cistus).
Depart Montpellier northeast on the N113 (parallel to the A9 autoroute), via the village of Lunel (about 25 km from Montpellier), to Vauvert. Continue across the northern part of the Camargue from Vauvert, via Saint Gilles, to Arles [map].
Arles is, of course, a town to visit if you have the time. There are some striking Roman sites here, and a lovely old town to explore.
From Arles head east on the N113 express-way. About 18 km east, you can take exit 12 and continue to Salon-de-Provence on the parallel N113 highway, rather than taking the A54 autouroute with its toll.
In 1550 Nostradamus moved to Salon-de-Provence where he published the Centuries, containing his 900 "predictions". Nostradamus moved here after his work for Catherine de Medicis. He became court physician, although the job requirements here were more for the metaphysical rather than the physical health of his patrons.
You can visit the Nostradamus Museum (Musée Nostradamus) in the center of the old town, on rue Nostradamus.
The Royal physician ended his life's journey here in Salon-de-Provence on July 2nd, 1566, at the age of 63.
From Salon-de-Provence, the fastest way to Saint-Rémy is north on the N558 (parallels the autoroute) via Senas and Orgon (20 km), then left (west) on the D99.
Alternately you can go northwest on smaller roads, via Eyguières, Mouriès, Maussane-les-Alpilles, Les Baux-de-Provence (near) to Saint-Rémy.