Saint-Didier is a small Provence village: a bit more than 2,000 people live here. I used to run there: there’s a lot of greenery, some of its country lanes are really quiet, and there’s a nice forest nearby (“forêt domaniale”) . Saint-Didier is also renown for Our Lady of Saint Guard (Notre Dame de Sainte Garde), and its trail of 15 oratories: this walking tour includes them all. You’ll also be able to view its castle, church, well-preserved fountains and wash-houses, typical of Provence villages.
- 1. Character house
- 2. Tall metal cross
- 3. Square & fountain by Thézan castle
- 4. Thézan Castle
- 5. Fountain by the church
- 6. The village church
- 7. 1st oratory: The Annunciation
- 8. Fountain & wash basin
- 9. Saint Joseph oratory
- 10. The Virgin Mary oratory
- 11. Stone cross
- 12. 2nd oratory: The Visitation
- 13. 3rd oratory: The Nativity
- 14. 4th oratory: The Presentation in the Temple
- 15. 5th oratory: The Finding in the Temple
- 16. 6th oratory: The Agony of Jesus
- 17. 7th oratory: The Scourging of Jesus
- 18. 8th oratory: The Crowning with Thorns
- 19. 9th oratory: The Carrying of the Cross
- 20. 10th oratory: The Crucifixion & Death of Jesus
- 21. 11th oratory: The Resurrection of Jesus
- 22. 12th oratory : The Ascension of Jesus in Heaven
- 23. 13th oratory: The Descent of the Holy Spirit
- 24. 14th oratory: The Assumption of Mary into Heaven
- 25. 15th oratory: The Coronation of Our Lady
- 26. Tall white cross
- 27. Fountain & wash house by main street
- 28. Painter’s house
- 29. Small square & fountain
- 30. Fountain & wash house by a bakery
- 31. City hall
- 32. Square behind the city hall
- 33. Clock tower
Please note: this map is available here in addition to 2 others that are more detailed.
- This tour takes approximately 1 h to complete. Afternoons in Provence can get really hot, so you might want to do this walk in the morning otherwise do bring a bottle of water with you.
- The 2 first oratories (St-Joseph & The Virgin Mary) you’ll find on your way aren’t part of the « famous » 15 oratories initially erected in the 17th (and then restored during the 19th and 20th centuries).
- A big thank you to the staff of Our Lady of Saint Guard who helped me figure out the 15 oratories (their meaning but also exact locations). These 15 oratories are part of the « Mysteries » of the Rosary prayer (= « Mysteries » are the major events that took place in Jesus’ and Mary’s lives), which are as follow.
15 Mysteries of the Rosary Prayer
- The 5 Joyful Mysteries
- The 5 Sorrowful Mysteries
- The 5 Glorious Mysteries
The video of this walking tour is available here below:
Once you exit the car park, you’ll notice an outstanding house with artifacts on its façade. It’s located on the western side, on the other side of the road.
Tall metal cross
By this car park, there’s also a nice (and tall) cross made of metal, typical of French Provence villages.
Square & fountain by the castle
This small square and its fountain are by the village castle. If you look closely into the basin, you might see the fish swimming there.
The Thézan castle is a private property but can be visited.
Fountain by the church
This fountain of character is located right by the church. It’s covered with a nice coat of green foam.
The village church
The church is adjoined to the clock tower (you can see its windows and an old entrance with blue wooden doors). Its entrance is actually located on the outside of this « hamlet », by the main street (you’ll notice the large cross hanging by its entrance door).
1st oratory: The Annunciation
Fountain & wash basin
This fountain, adjoined to its washing basin, is typical of Provence villages.
Saint Joseph oratory
This very first oratory isn’t part of the “15 Mysteries” Saint-Didier is renown for. Even though it represents Saint Joseph, this oratory is dedicated to Saint Marc. I love the expressions on both faces and the kindness that emantes from them. At the foot of it, many colourful flowers were blooming which added to the beauty of this site.
The Virgin Mary oratory
This oratory is dedicated to The Virgin Mary. This second oratory is of a different style of sculpting. Like the previous one, it’s not part of the “15 Mysteries”.
The cross is made of raw stone which enhances its beauty.
2nd oratory: The Visitation
This oratory represents the Visitation of the Virgin Mary.
3rd oratory: The Nativity
This oratory is located at the very beginning of the “Chemin des Oratoires” in Saint-Didier (I wasn’t able to tell which Mystery it was linked to)
4th oratory: The Presentation in the Temple
This is the oratory reprensenting “The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple“.
5th oratory: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
This (empty) oratory is located at the junction of the Chemin des Oratoires and another small path. It used to represent The Finding of Jesus in the Temple.
6th oratory: The Agony of Jesus
“The Agony of Jesus” is the 1st of the 5 Rosary Prayer’s “Sorrowful Mysteries”. It’s located at the junction between Chemin des Oratoires and Chemin de la Chalaysse.
7th oratory: The Scourging of Jesus
Oratory of the Scourging of Jesus. It’s located at the junction between Chemin des Oratoires and a path going uphill (called Chemin des Vocades)
8th oratory: The Crowning with Thorns
“The Crowning of Jesus with Thorns” oratory can be found on the Chemin des Oratoires by a private entrance (on your right hand side)
9th oratory: The Carrying of the Cross
This (empty) oratory is situated between the oratories of the Crowning with Thorns and the Crucifixion one, so it should logically show the Carrying of the Cross. It’s located at the very end of the Chemin des Oratoires (at the junction with Chemin de la Garenne that goes uphill)
10th oratory: The Crucifixion & Death of Jesus
This is the oratory representing the Crucifixion of Jesus, the last Sorrowful Mystery. It’s located by the Route de Vénasque (East side of Saint-Didier)
11th oratory: The Resurrection of Jesus
This oratory is dedicated to the 1st Glorious Mystery: “The Resurrection of Jesus“. It’s located only few meters before Our Lady of Saint Guard’s entrance.
12th oratory: The Ascension / Our Lady of Saint Guard’s chapel
This other oratory is in fact a chapel: Our Lady of Saint Guard chapel. It represents the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven (the 2nd Glorious Mystery) on the 40th day after his Resurrection.
13th oratory: The Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
This (empty) oratory is located by the Chemin Saint-Geniez. As it’s situated right after the Ascension oratory (which is the 2nd Glorious Mystery), we could logically deduce that it might have represented the 3rd Glorious Mystery, which is the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
14th oratory: The Assumption of Mary into Heaven
The other oratory shows the Assumption of Mary into Heaven (which is the 4th of the 5 Glorious Mysteries). It’s located at the junction of Chemin Saint-Geniez and Chemin Fond in Saint-Didier
15th oratory: The Coronation of Our Lady
This (empty) oratory is located at the junction of Chemin Saint-Geniez and Chemin du Tennis in Saint-Didier. It’s embedded into someone’s fence wall.
Tall white cross
At the very end of Chemin Saint Geniez, you’ll notice this tall cross (accross the main street named Le Cours) Made of metal, it’s cover with white paint and a nice green bush sits at its feet.
Fountain & wash house by main street
Here’s the perfect example of a Provence wash house, with its fountain, washing basin and small roof to shield you from the sun. You’ll find it by the Le Cours Street in Saint-Didier.
This house was owned by a painter. Many artists actually decided to live in Saint-Didier: not only were they drawn by Provence light but they were also interested in taking care of their health (as the castle down the same road used to house hydrotherapy facilities)
Small square & fountain
This small (and refreshing) square can be found on the Le Cours Street in Saint-Didier. You’ll find few benches, shielded from the sun by nice olive trees, along with a water fountain (and its lion head)
Fountain & wash house by a bakery
This beautiful wash house is typical of Provence villages in South of France. As you might have guessed by its name, this is where people would gather to wash their laundry.
Saint-Didier City Hall is located on Le Cours Street (not far from the clock tower and the castle which are down this same road) It’s a nice and tall building, made of local stones.
Square behind the city hall
Behind Saint-Didier City Hall, you’ll find a small garden where to rest (and listent to birds chirping away)
Saint-Didier clock tower is at the very end of Le Cours Street. It’s adjoined the village church (on the left hand side) and if you go underneath it you’ll face the village castle (Château de Thézan)