Maussane les Alpilles is a lovely Provencal village that is situated on the old Roman Aix to Arles road, but there is very little left in the village otherwise to connect it with the Roman occupation. It is thought that the Romans began the tradition of collecting olives and this tradition has multiplied to the point where at one stage there were 12 oil mills in the village, and although there are fewer nowadays, Maussane together with its neighbor Mouries, are at the heart of the most important olive oil producing region in France. You will not be surprised to learn about the beautiful landscape being dominated by olive trees! These trees are particularly attractive to us Brits, as we love the gnarled features of the oldest ones and I think we love the sense of history as some olive trees can be over 1000 years old.
Maussane is the first step on "the Olive Trail" and if you want a suggestion as to how to taste the oil, you can make a "peche mignon" simply by drizzling some olive oil on some bread or even some goats cheese and add a slice of tomato, delicious!
It has 4 historic monuments the you should check out, the 18th century chapel of St Croix, the 15th century chapel de Monblan, the 18th century chapel of St Roman and the 14th century château Querry. There are also ancient communal washing areas, the Quatre Saisons fountain, the oratories and the Santon Museum. Santons are rather gaudy ceramic figurines made in the area and much loved by the French.
Maussane can also offer walking, hiking, a swimming pool, and even has its own bullfighting ring that is used for more than just bullfighting nowadays. However, they do still stage the odd bull-fight, which many Brits feel a little strange about, the deliberate baiting of an animal for sport and spectacle is not necessarily my idea of holiday entertainment, however I guess you must respect the traditions, which are more entrenched to the south in the Camargue area than this area. There is also fishing, the inevitable petanque also known in the rest of France as boule, arts and crafts festivals from time to time, and even a horse show.
About 6 km's away is the charming village of Le Baux De Provence. It has the most fantastic views from the top of the village, commanding the high ground as it does, and the village is busy with craft shops, santon makers, olive oil producers and all sorts of surprises to find through exploration. It boasts of over 20 historical monuments and also claims to host over 1.5 million visitors each year, so don't expect it to be tranquil!
There are a couple of interesting hotels in Maussane, but they are interesting rather than conforming to most international standards. Far better to seek to rent a private villa in or around the area, as there are many to be found and several agencies dedicated to finding you the right one for your needs. Views are offered almost without exception, many have pools and the cost can be surprisingly reasonable for the features offered compared with a hotel. There is also a campsite in the village.
Getting to Maussane is a little tricky. You will need a car because the idea of public transport does not seem to have occurred to the people of deepest Provence. The nearest airport if Marseilles about 70 km's distant with a number of regular services into London, many of the bigger French towns and cities, such as Paris, and some flights to many centers in Europe. Nimes also has an airport serviced by Ryan air but with only Liverpool, London and Brussels to choose from as a destination it is a bit limited.