Bouches-du-Rhône (13300) Population: 34,054 Altitude: 90 m
This town, centered between Aix-en-Provence--Arles and Marseilles--Avignon, was a fortified around the hilltop fortress Chateau de l'Empéri. At the center of the now built-up modern town the ancient circular walls have entries through the medieval Porte de l'Horloge (17th-c) and the Port Bourg Neuf (17th-c
A popular attraction in Salon is the Fontaine Moussue [photo-1, at night], on the Place Crousillat just outside the Porte de l'Horloge. This 18th-century fountain is covered by a thick mound of moss. The fountain is surrounded by plane trees planted over the centuries: one was planted in 1799 to mark the end of the Revolution and another was planted in 1919 to mark the end of the Great War.
Salon-de-Provence is a busy modern town with loads of shopping possibilities, good hotels and plenty of activities, including flying. The ancient center is a nice tourist site, well worth a visit, but the town would be better as a base for visiting the region rather than a destination for itself.
Canal. In the 16th century, native son Adam de Craponne built the canal bearing his name. The canal brought commerce and the town prospered. Photo-5 is a pretty fountain with a statue of Adam.
An earthquake in 1909 caused serious damage to the town.
Before the Revolution Salon was the seat of several religious communities. Much more recently, Salon-de-Provence is the seat of the Ecole Nationale d'Agriculture and the well-known Ecole de l'Air. The air base is the home of France's national precision flying team.
History of Salon-de-Provence
First record, 9th century Villa Salone
Celto-Ligurian: A Ligurian oppidum is located at Ste-Croix.
Gallo-Roman: The Roman Aurelian Way is still visible crossing the fields on the edge of town. The remains of a Roman monument called "les Antiquités" and a pyramid are located at St-Jean-de-Bernasse.
Medieval: Salon was ruled by the archbishops of Arles from the end of the 10th century. The town became was active commercial center through the 13th and 14th centuries, with markets and fairs.
• GPS: 43.640506, 5.086604
IGN (1/25,000) #3143 OT "Salon-de-Provence, Miramas"
IGN Verte (1/100,000) #67 "Marseille, Carpentras"
Most of the surrounding countryside is farmland and airbase. East of the autoroute, north of Pelissanne, are hills and woods with some small lanes and trails suitable for country walks.
With a wide variety of restaurants to choose from, we spent a fun evening in Pizzassimo on the rue de l'Horloge (in the fortified center of the old town). Pizzas are great, of course, with fresh tomatoes, and the ambience is good -- everybody seems to go there.
Musée de l'Empéri
in the inner courtyards of the 12th-16th century chateau-fortress
an historical and war museum and a wax museum
in the old town center
Entry: about 4 euros
in the old town center, 11 rue Nostradamus
Tel: (33) 490 56 64 31
Entry: about 4 euros
Closed: Sat and Sun mornings
Charleval - Mallemort - Salon Bus
- There are several buses a day between Charleval and Salon-de-Provence, going thorough the towns of Charleval, Mallemort, Alleins, Lamaron and Salon-de-Provence.
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).