11 PICTURE ALBUM
Saturday, October 11
Steve: It was another perfect fall day, and we made the
great decision to spend it in the Petit Luberon Valley in the Vaucluse region
of Provence. We had seen many beautiful pictures of the Luberon's villages,
cliffs, woods and mountains, and we had been looking forward to spending time
here. We were not disappointed - this is a wonderful place. In addition to
great weather, almost every place we visited today was void of tourists. This
certainly helped us get a feel for the quiet charm of the villages their residents.
In many ways, the scenery in the Luberon reminds us of Tuscany. The landscape
is filled with vineyards, olive groves and farms, and there are wonderful
We started by driving to the small hilltop town of Menerbes - this is where
Peter Mayle (author of A Year in Provence) lived. Menerbes is a very small
and picturesque community, with only a few shops and cafes in its center.
As in so many of the towns that we've visited, there are many narrow and winding
streets that are wonderful for strolling. In Menerbes, several of these streets
provide great views across the Luberon - it's only about a 3-minute
walk from one side of the town to the other, and we enjoyed seeing the views
from all directions. Near the top of the village, there's a small church and
square - it was hard to stop taking pictures from here.
From Menerbes we drove to the town of LaCoste which sits on a hillside. LaCoste
is also very charming, and here we enjoyed lunch in a small café (the
only one there!) in the center of the little village. The ruins from chateau
of Marquis de Sade (famous French writer who was sentenced to death for sexual
crimes) are here, and are undergoing major restoration. The views from the
chateau are spectacular. LaCoste was also empty today, and we spent time walking
through the numerous little streets and gates in the town.
Our next stop was the town of Bonnieux, which also sits along a hill and
looks straight across a small valley toward LaCoste. Bonnieux is visible from
the road at quite a distance, and we enjoyed the views as we continued to
get closer. In Bonnieux,
we walked to the top of the village where there's a church surrounded by huge
cedar trees. From here it was possible to see almost the entire Luberon Valley,
and we enjoyed locating towns on the map and spotting them in the distance.
Our final destination was Roussillon, a stunningly beautiful village located
on the other side of the valley from Bonnieux. Roussillon is perched among
huge deposits of ochre, and is painted entirely in shades of pigments from
the ochre. There are at least 17 shades of earth tones that have been used,
and the village blends in harmoniously with its surroundings.
The shops in Roussillon sell everything imaginable in ochre-colored tones,
including pottery, paintings, clothes, and the actual pigments that were used
here. We had never seen anything quite like this, and just loved walking through
the streets - the earth tones make everything feel very warm. From the top
of the village, it is possible to see cliffs and other large areas of ochre
- quite a sight!
After exploring the village we walked through the old ochre quarries that
are located nearby. There is a marked trail here that winds through many interesting
and beautiful ochre formations. Here we could see a wide variety of earth
tones, in a wonderful and sharp contrast to the evergreens and blue sky. We
spent a long time simply wandering through here, admiring the dramatic cliffs,
colors and scenery.
had a great day today, but there are several towns in this area that we plan
to come back to explore on another day. Days like these seem to pass too quickly,
and by the time we were done in Roussillon, it was almost 6:00 and we were
hungry and getting tired
Tomorrow we have tickets to see the "Filane du Championnat de France
de course Camarguaise." These are the championships of an vent where
men in white clothes must remove flags from between the horns of running bulls
- should be fun!
Distance Walked: 4.84 miles