Cherry blossoms in the Luberon

 

Close up……….

 

………and far away. An orchard slashing its colour around

This Spring Provence is being instagrammed left right and centre. Wow! Is this a hot app or what? It seems to be a bit addictive, compulsive but a great concept. Like all of these apps – where to next?

Of course the famous Luberon cherry blossoms did not escape the attentions of Instagram!

Here they go – click, type, send.

 

Come to Provence in the Springtime! The Luberon, in particular is ablaze with cherry blossoms. The world’s glace fruit capital!

 

Wikipedia reports as follows:

Following incursions of Saracens and the razing of the old town of Glandèves, the more defensible site of mediaeval Entrevaux was founded in the 11th century on the rocky spur in an angle of the river; the oldest recorded name is Interrivos and dates from 1040.

Between 1481 and 1487, Provence became a part of France.

In 1536, Entrevaux fell to the troops of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, betrayed by its lord Jacques Glandeves; half the population was massacred (coll.). The remaining population staged an uprising, cutting the throat of the governor, and offered the town to the French Dauphin, King François I. In recognition of this, Entrevaux was given the Charter of Avignon and declared a royal town of France and its inhabitants exempt from taxation (Le Monti).

In the 16th century, the old cathedral of Glandèves was finally abandoned as the official bishop’s seat and a new cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, constructed in Entrevaux.

In 1658 a bridge guarded by towers and a portcullis was constructed over the Var; this is the modern Porte Royale. In 1690 the military architect Vauban drew up plans to further fortify the town, due to its strategic position guarding the valley of the Var and on the border with Savoy. Although not completed in full, the citadel perched high above the town was strengthened, particularly on the more accessible side closest to the hilltops, and a protected walyway constructed up the side of the mountain from the town. Two small forts were provided toprotect the town, and its two main gates – now called the Porte d’Italie and the Porte de France – strengthened.

Entrevaux was briefly besieged in June 1707 by the Savoyards under Chevalier Blaignac, but resisted and was relieved by the French forces.

The citadel was last used during World War I as a prison for German officers.

Here’s our pictorial evidence of the Citadel and surrounding village and spectacular scenery:

Inner Entrevaux village

 

A picture opportunity around every corner

 

Part of the walk to the Citadel – walled to repel invaders and stop you from falling over the side when you have cardiac arrest from the stiff walk

 

Views, ruins, views

 

Only in France .A copulating couple etched into the rock face gong up to the Citadel.

Some more visuals of the train ride…….

 

Apart from great old buildings, there are many artefacts on the railroad

 

The train station at St Andre des Alpes

 

Our driver, conductor and the Saint Andre station manager await our bus

This was the seeond time, we had been on the little Chemin de Fer de Provence railroad. A small guage rail track between Digne les Bains and Nice (thrice daily) with many stops and starts. We go half-way to the medieval hilltop village of Entrevaux high up in Provence and then return two hours later.

Part of the attraction of the train ride is the small stations you pass through. “The train track runs right through the middle of these villages!” Wally was heard to exclaim. And they do!

 

Spectacular scenery in Haute Provence

 

A reminder of days gone by……Le Grande Hotel in St Andre des Alpes. Sadly, now boarded up and desolated.

 

From the bus…….the start of the Verdon gorges. An old medieval bridge

 

This time was a trip with a difference. Due to line maintenance, we had to train to St Andre des Alpes, take a bus to Anot and then train to Entrevaux. A different perspective and a sight of the High gorges of Verdon – impressive and in some cases awe-inspiring, and we’re also talking about out bus driver’s negotiation of the winding mountain pass. Not for the faint-hearted!

The are many lakes and waterways in this area

 

 

Stairs anyone?

At Entrevaux, we had decided to hike to the top of the hill to visit the Citadel and have a picnic there – yes, taking food and the all-important wine with us up a 30 minute s-t-e-e-p climb. Armed with our supplies and Wally and Erica in accompaniment off we went. Yours truly shed the load to Madame and just made it. The others breezed up and were soon climbing over the Citadel like rock rabbits. Sadly, the picnic could not be consumed up top as we ran out of time but it was enjoyed on the train platform back down on solid basement level.

The start of the Bog Walk – much more pics to come!

 

 

 

Erica, Mark and Armen arrived from Chatham and London respectively and a round of cooking, touring, fun and jollification ensued. As is there wont, M&A arrived with cook books and various spice delicacies concealed in little packets. It wasn’t long before the dining room table was strewn with said cook books and all manner of aromas came from the kitchen. A cauliflower pizza was one such treat!

The base of the pizza is finely grated Cauliflower and cream cheese. Topped with aubergine, home made tomato sauce, basil, goat’s cheese and chili.

 

One of Mark’s – many – specialities – an aubergine and parmesan wrap. Sliced aubergines, cooked on a griddle pan and then filled with tomato sauce, grated parmesan, mozerella and basil.

 

Madame’s current ‘dessert du moment’ – Orange Cake

Armen wanted to go to see Avignon. Looking great as the season starts, the Papal City did not diappoint. The boys took the little white train around the city – a great idea for first-time visitors, the train has an informative commentary and you see all the right places without traipsing through some more dubious areas.

 

The little white train dwarfed by the Notre Dame in the heart of Avignon

 

Mark’s duck confit at La Verso – a great little Italian-orientated restaurant off the Palais des Papes in Avignon

 

One of the fun things to look out for when you wander around Avignon are many murals which have been painted on buildings.

 

An unseasonal rainy day saw us take off to the Rhone Valley for a car-picnic, a visit to Beamues-de-Venise (home of the sweet muscat wine) and the more illustrious Chateauneuf-de-Pape and a detour to rain sodden Gigondas.

Part of the Pope’s Chateau at Chateauneuf-de-pape, now under re-construction and renovation of the ancient dining hall

 

Just of the main village square of Chateauneuf-de-pape is this tasting establishment, a great place to try the wines of the area as well as purchasing some local meat and cheese delicacies.

The boys flew off back to London town and then it was time for a train trip from Digne-les-Bains to Entrevaux with Wally. More of this in the next few posts…….

A bientot

Lovonne and Simon xx

 

Spring breakfast at Bastide les Amis

 

Al fresco lunch at Bastide les Amis – Luberon.

 

 

As spring marches forward, we find al manner of things growing out of the most impossible places.

Gorgeous creeping or hanging rosemary plant in Chateauneuf-de-Pape.

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