Bouches-du-Rhône (13810) Population: 1,752 Altitude: 134 m
Eygalières was once a perched village on the north edge of the Alpilles mountains. Now its a very nice little village, with some interesting Medieval ruins on its hilltop, and popular locally for its weekly Provencal market. Market day Fri.
From the end of the main Rue de la République, past the front of the church, the picturesque Rue du Docteur Roque goes up past stone houses, ancient sculpted doorways, and past what once may have been part of the chateau.
Continuing to the right up Rue de la Vieille Eglise, the path comes to the 12th-century Eglise Saint Laurent, with a lovely stone-slab roof and flat belfry (sans bell). While we were there (Aug 2013) the old church was being used as an art exhibit and we were able to visit the interior.
A few steps past the St Laurent church is the 16th-century Chapelle des Pénitents. The chapel is now used as the Maurice Pezet Museum, displaying some prehistoric artifacts as well as tools and ancient items of local history. The museum is open every Sunday (and holiday) afternoon from March to November.
The path continues on past the chapel around the edge of the hill, providing great views out across the countryside to the east and all the way around to the Alpilles across the village roofs to the south and west.
There's an interesting 18th-century lavoir Sounégues just out of town to the west. It's on the north side of the D248 (Route de Mouries) 1500 m from the center, next to the junction with the little Chemin de Cantos.
Market Day Friday
Eygalières really comes alive on Friday market day. The Provencal market here is renowned and, in our opinion, merited. The market takes up the full length of the main street, Rue de la République and south out the Ave des Molassis. (This does block the main east-west intersection through town, so people just passing through have to do a bit of detouring to avoid the center.)
This is a real Provencal market, but is a bit sparse on the choice of foods. It's mainly Provencal products, olive wood articles, cloth, clothing, scented soaps, baskets and touristy items. For food, there were three different vendors of paella to go; very tempting.
Saint Sixte Chapel
The Chapelle Sainte Sixte, located 1.4 km east of Eygalières center, is a pretty little 12th-century Provencal chapel, very, very popular by painters.
The chapel is open on Sunday afternoons (15h-19h), from June to mid-Sept.
Barbegal Roman Aqueduct
The "Eygalieres aqueduct" was a Roman aqueduct that began at sources near Eygalières and the nearby Saint Sixte Chapel to carry drinking water to the town of Arles, about 40 km to the southwest.
This aqueduct was one of two that powered the famous Barbegal Mills that provided the flour to the inhabitants of Arles during the 2nd and 3rd centuries.
History of Eygalières
First record, 1216 Aquilaria
The hilltop location of Eygalières was occupied from Neolithic times. At the beginning of the 13th century, the Castrum de Aquileriis was located here.
Prehistoric: An archeological dig at Contras revealed a collective Neolithic grave site; Les Contras is a ridge of the Alpilles about 3 km northeast. A Neolithic habitation was uncovered at the site of Baume Farnet, a low hill just 300 m northeast of Eygalières' hilltop.
• GPS: 43.76015, 4.950151
IGN (1/25,000) #3042 OT "Tarascon, St-Rémy-de-Provence, Alpilles"
There's a good selection of village café-restaurant dining in Eygalières. On market day Fridays, the Brasserie Le Progres serves Aïoli, and it was the best we've had in ages.
Department 13, Bouches-du-Rhône Buses
- See Beyond's Bouches-du-Rhone (13) Bus Schedules for downloading Bouches-du-Rhone bus-lines map and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).