The Des Baux, Lords of Provence

This Page Last Updated 22 July 1999

This Site Was Created By

Richard L. Hoover

Long Beach, California

From the 11th Century the lords were among the strongest in the south of France, having in their control 79 towns and villages. From 1145 to 1162 they warred against the House of Barcelona, whose rights to Provence they contested; supported for a while by the German emperor, they finally submitted after succumbing to a siege at Les Baux. They won titles: members of different branches became variously princes of Orange, viscounts of Marseille, counts of Avellino and dukes of Andria (having followed the Capetian Princes of Anjou who were campaigning in southern Italy). One of them them married Marie of Anjou, sister of Joan I, queen of Sicily and countess of Provence, a lovely woman much loved by the people of Provence. She was destined to lead a tragic existence-- three times a widow, she died in 1382, smothered by an ambitious cousin.


Les Baux was famous as a court of love in the 13th Century. To become a member the women had to be of noble birth, well read and beautiful. In the company of this court, questions of gallantry and chivalry were raised and discussed.

Troubadours, often great lords, came from all the southern provinces and composed passionate verses in praise of these ladies. The prize awarded to the best poet was a crown of peacock feathers and a kiss from the lady in question.


Detached from the Alpilles, Les Baux de Provence lies on a bare rock spur some 2953 feet long and 656 wide, with vertical ravines on either side. A fortified castle lying in ruins, and old desolate houses compose the spectacular site of the village of Les Baux, once a proud fief. The red mineral bauxite discovered in 1822 on the land of Les Baux, from which it takes its name, consists mainly of aluminum, iron trioxide and water. Extraction of the mineral has given rise to the immense modern aluminum industry. Nowadays bauxite is no longer mined in France.

----from Michelin Tourist Guide to PROVENCE

Music:Or est Bayard en la pature, Hure! by Adam De La Halle (1240-1287)

Midi Realization by Julio Feliz

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