October 28, 2019
I have been remiss in posting lately, for two reasons. First, the amount of “real” work I’m doing has picked up a bit. It’s a bit tricky to write client blogs and white papers while sitting on a kitchen chair in a little cabin, but I’m doing it.
Second, for the last week W. had two friends staying here in Bonnieux. Most days I was their de facto chauffeur and tour guide (although both women are highly competent and totally independent). It just worked out that way because we have been here a while and know the landscape. So that took up any extra time.
We had an interesting weekend. On Saturday we went to St. Remy (St. Remy de Provence) which is a beautiful town of about 10,000 people perhaps 50 miles southwest of here.
St. Remy has a more or less intact “historical center” which is a circular section in the middle of town, replete with shops, galleries and restaurants. But the whole town is attractive and well worth a visit. The landscape is a bit different as les Alpilles (another range of mountains) loom up over a town that is situated on the flatlands.
South of St. Remy is the excavated Roman town of Glanum, first inhabited by Celts in the 7th century BC, then by Hellenistic colonists, then by Romans. When the Allemani came storming down from the North, the Gallo-Romans abandoned Glanum and moved north to what is now St. Remy.
The site encompasses an entire town with baths, forum, houses, market and fountains. Essentially, it is in a narrow valley with what used to be a wall at one end, designed not so much to keep out invaders as to control traffic and customs. An amazing place, but one that doesn’t get much commentary from people visiting Provence.
Sunday we said goodbye to our guests and drove about 90 minutes to see friends in Goudargues, a village of about 1300 in Gard (across the Rhone river but supposedly still in Provence). Goudargues sits next to a canal and near the river Ceze.
We had a beautiful canal-side lunch at a restaurant in the village, then went to see the site on which one friend is building his dream house. We wandered around his “hameau” (a place too small to be a village and without commercial establishments) and chatted with his neighbors (or rather, he chatted and we listened and tried to figure out what was being said).
All very otherworldly and not at all like Richmond. Which, I suppose, is the point of traveling.
At the end of this week, we leave the Luberon and move on to Nice. Five weeks to go, and I must admit to a bit of homesickness, although I do love southern France.
Below, the ochre cliffs of Rousillon, another great Luberon village.