Hill and Dale


The countryside of Provence is quite beautiful and distinctly Mediterranean.  I never realized how overwhelmingly dense in things to do and see.  There is no way not to make this a return region to visit.  There is something to see or do everywhere you turn.  When we think of “old” in California we are amazed to find something a few hundred years old though there are Native American sites.  Here almost everywhere you step there is something ancient and certainly there has been quite a bit of attention focused on this region.

I always think of this type of road with the tall trees on either side as a distinct feature of French landscape. The only thing missing is an elderly man with a beret riding a bicycle with a baguette on the back.
I always think of this type of road with the tall trees on either side as a distinct feature of French landscape. The only thing missing is an elderly man with a beret riding a bicycle with a baguette on the back.
This triumphal arch built in 25 BCE can be found across the road from the hospital in St. Remy where van Gogh spent some time. It marked the northern end of the city of Galum, a fortified city later abandoned in 260 CE. It is the best preserved of this type of arch in France.
This triumphal arch built in 25 BCE can be found across the road from the hospital in St. Remy where van Gogh spent some time. It marked the northern end of the city of Galum, a fortified city later abandoned in 260 CE. It is the best preserved of this type of arch in France.
Also known as the Julii Mausoleum located in the same place was built earlier in 40 BCE, acknowledging one of the most distinguished family names in the Roman Empire and currently the best preserved in France.
Also known as the Julii Mausoleum located in the same place was built earlier in 40 BCE, acknowledging one of the most distinguished family names in the Roman Empire and currently the best preserved in France.
Looking out from Opede Le Vieux over the Luberon region.
Looking out from Oppede Le Vieux over the Luberon region.
Oppede Le Vieux is a village at the top of a hill dating from the 12th century.
Oppede Le Vieux is a village at the top of a hill dating from the 12th century.
This village was hard to get to and a bit dark and dank so by the 19th century it was mostly abandoned for a new village further down in the valley. Only facilities for visitors remain and a few hearty souls.
This village was hard to get to and a bit dark and dank so by the 19th century it was mostly abandoned for a new village further down in the valley. Only facilities for visitors remain and a few hearty souls.
Through this arch one starts the climb up to the village and the small cathedral at the top.
Through this arch one starts the climb up to the village and the small cathedral at the top.
This restored cathedral contains a number of trompe l'oeil frescoes mostly gone with bits preserved here and there, a Roman column and capital supporting a perch for the priest.
This restored cathedral contains a number of trompe l’oeil frescoes mostly gone with bits preserved here and there, a Roman column and capital supporting a perch for the priest.
At the very top the fortress looks out over the whole valley and appears to be in some stage of restoration.
At the very top the fortress looks out over the whole valley and appears to be in some stage of restoration.
Crusader fortress had direct connections to the popes in Avignon.
Crusader fortress had direct connections to the popes in Avignon.
Wending our way back through the village and down to the new village of Oppede.
Wending our way back through the village and down to the new village of Oppede.
This 10th century hilltop village would probably be a sleepy backwater except for the fame of "A Year in Provence" which put it and the Luberon region on the map.
This 10th century hilltop village, Menerbes, would probably be a sleepy backwater except for the fame of “A Year in Provence” which put it and the Luberon region on the map.
Another arched alleyway. Menembres was the home of Dora Maar, a surrealist photographer and one of Picasso's lovers.
Another arched alleyway. Menerbres was the home of Dora Maar, a surrealist photographer and one of Picasso’s lovers.
Menerbres was the site of a famous battle between the Catholics and the Huguenots which lasted for five years.
Menerbres was the site of a famous battle between the Catholics and the Huguenots which lasted for five years.
This view from town looks like what you might imagine as the inspiration for "A Year in Provence"
This view from town looks like what you might imagine as the inspiration for “A Year in Provence”

 

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