Bouches-du-Rhône (13690) Population: 4,271 Altitude: 20 m
Graveson is a small village, once an ancient medieval walled town.
It's quiet and calm here and has a very pleasant feeling. There are some narrow little streets in the center, an old church with tall steeple and sundials, and Medieval gateways (portails).
Graveson has a very fine museum for the painter Auguste Chabaud. Market day Fri.
Graveson has a small, picturesque medieval center with some entrances through the ancient walls. The main Cours National is a long square divided by a double row of shady plane trees (platans), with a short stretch of canal at one end. The village isn't grouped around the center in an obvious way, so obtaining a map (free) at the Office de Tourism would be a help if you would like to explore the place thouroughly.
Graveson commerce in the village center includes a bank, small grocery stores, a couple of cafés and other small shops (see our photos). The shops are dispersed around the village so you'll need to search them out.
Panels of the paintings of Auguste Chabaud are placed around the village, showing the scenes right where they were painted. An interesting tour would be to wander around discovering these panels, comparing the tableaux with the view today, and at the same time discovering village. We found that the church spire cropped up in more scenes than we could see in actuality, but that could be a painter's poetic license.
In addition to its picturesque center, Graveson now serves as a bedroom community for the Avignon-Tarascon area.
For sites to see, there's the Chabaud museum in the village, and the Aroma museum and Aquatic garden just to the south (all three described below). A few blocks north of the center you'll find the Jardin des 4 Saisons (Four Seasons Gardins), open from Oct-Mar 8h-18h, Apr-Sept 8h-20h.
History of Graveson
First record, 11th century Castrum Gravisonis. The name Graveson appeared even earlier, in the 9th century, in the Chartes du Pays d'Avignon.
A rich archeological site is located at La Roque 3 km north of Graveson, half-way to Barbentane. Located on the very edge of the Montagnette hills, this site contained extensive artifacts from prehistoric on. The earliest included shaped stones and ceramic, followed by coins, pottery and cooking utensils. Stone and fitted-stone construction, including walls and ramparts date from the 6th-century BC.
Gallo-Roman: La Roque was a busy Roman site for 500 years, located on the Agrippa Way connecting Arles and Avignon (see our map).
Medieval: Graveson was a fortified town with a fuedal castle located in the center of the village. Graveson suffered from Barbarian invasions and from the Wars of Religion.
More Recently: There was once a silk industry here, probably in the 19th century.
Market day: Fri. Market every Friday May-Oct from 16h-20h. (Note the late-afternoon time!) There's a special themed market the last Friday of the month, from June-Oct.
July (Last week) - Fête de Saint Eloi
Aug-Sept - A very special painting event is held the last few days of August and beginning of September. During the last week of Aug, painters decorate village walls with murals, which are then judged in contest.
• GPS: 43.852098, 4.772688
IGN (1/25,000) #3042 OT "Tarascon, St-Rémy-de-Provence, Alpilles"
A great arc of land, from due north clockwise around to the southwest is excellent farmland, with orchards, gardens and vineyards — unsuitable for hiking. Just to the west though, only a kilometer away, are the low rugged hills of la montagnette. A few trails and several forestry roads criss-cross the hills, between Bolbon in the west to Barbentane in the north.
The choice of cafés isn't great, and wandering around at mid-day on a June saturday we didn't run across any open restaurants (our preferred method). To be fair, the guidebook from the Office de Tourisme lists several restaurants, wih menus from 11 euros on up to the 50-75€ range.
Aroma and Perfume Museum - Musée des arômes et du parfum
Open: 365 days, 10h-12h, 14h-18h
The distillery operates every Monday during the summer.
Entry: 4 €, under 12 free
Tel: 0490 958 155; Fax: 0490 958 520
Biological garden. Distillation free at 16h00 Mon and Thur.
Auguste Chabaud Regional Museum - Le Musée de Région Auguste Chabaud
Contains the works of the Provençal painter-sculpture Auguste Chabaud, born in Nîmes in 1882, lived in Graveson until his death in 1955.
Location: Cours National
Open: June-Sept, 7 days, 10h-12h, 13h30-18h30; Oct-May 7 days, 13h30-18h30
Closed: 25 Dec, 01 Jan
Entry: 4 €
Tel: 0490 905 302; Fax: 0490 905 302
A friend of Matisse and Andre Derain, Chabaud was famous for his Provençal scenes, such as his "la montagnette", and for Paris scenes of that era. The museum interior is very nicely done, with four rooms, good lighting and a good selection of Chabaud's work.
Aux Fleurs de l'Eau
Aquatic Garden 15,000 square meters of garden, water basins and falls, with aquatic flora and birds.
- Open: 1 May - 14 June: weekends and holidays; 15 June - 15 Sept: daily.
- 10-12h, 14h30-19h
- Entry: 4 €; under 8 free
- Tel: 0490 958 502; Fax: 0490 958 502
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Web: www.auxfleursdeleau.fr.st
Line 57A runs one day a week, Wednesdays, between Graveson and Avignon (gare routière). The schedule from the Office de Tourisme (in 2007) specifies: Graveson 13h45, Eyragues 13h55, Avignon 14h20; and Avignon 18h00, Chateaurenard 18h20, Graveson 18h30, Maillane 18h40.
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).