This one is a classic!

A big boy

Heaven knows what kind of dog this is!

Rue de St Esteve, Menerbes, Luberon valley, Provence

The grapes are early

Smiling happily at the sun

How the French view the Chinese! For the franco-challenged, the words mean 'access denied'

How they view the Japanese……..

A purple hibiscus at Bastide les Amis, Menerbes

A little daisy peeps out of our front drive chain

A little bit of homesickness…..Bastide les Amis, Luberon

It’s perhaps pertinent to reflect on the mighty Mont Ventoux which guards over the Luberon and Rhone Valleys during the Tour de France. This year is different, in that le Tour does not come down our part of the Provençal world however, it’s a bit of fun to reflect on the great Mountain.

Mont Ventoux is located some 20 km northeast of Carpentras in the Vaucluse Department. On the north side, the mountain borders the Drome department. It is the largest mountain in the region and has been nicknamed the “Giant of Provence”, or “The Bald Mountain”.

As the name might suggest (venteux means windy in French), it can get windy at the summit, especially with the mistral; wind speeds as high as 320 km/h (200 mph) have been recorded. The wind blows at 90+ km/h (56+ mph) 240 days a year. The road over the mountain is often closed due to high winds. Especially the “col de tempêtes” (“storm pass”) just before the summit, which is known for its strong winds. The real origins of the name are thought to trace back to the 1st or 2nd century AD, when it was named ‘Vintur’ after a Gaulish god of the summits, or ‘Ven-Top’, meaning “snowy peak” in the ancient Gallic language. In the 10th century, the names Mons Ventosus and Mons Ventorius appear.

Mont Ventoux, although geologically part of the Alps, is often considered to be separate from them, due to the lack of mountains of a similar height nearby. It stands alone to the north of the Luberon range. The top of the mountain is bare limestone without vegetation or trees, which makes the mountain’s barren peak appear from a distance to be snow-capped all year round (its snow cover actually lasts from December to April). Its isolated position overlooking the valley of the Rhone ensures that it dominates the entire region and can be seen from many miles away on a clear day. The view from the top is correspondingly superb.

Sue and Mark paid a recent trip up to the to and sent us these pics:

The summit is open!

Looking up at the summit beacon

Road graffitti adorns the road, reminiscing the various races

You can't escape the retail - even at the summit

One of the Gods of the Tour - Andy Schleck is honoured on the road side

Shale covers the summit

The quaint - and well stocked - epicerie in Menerbes, Luberon

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