We found this amazing collection of small dolls at St Remy-de-Provence brocante market:

St Remy-de-Provence Brocante on Pentecost is a great place to be.

Redefining lights

 

What would Provence be without colourful fabrics?

 

Off we go, with Sally the three-legged rescue dog showing fine form

 

We’ve joined a group of like-minded folk in the Luberon who like exercise and hiking trails. Tuesday mornings are the time to strap on the walking shoes, pack up the bottled water, whistle for the dogs and set off for a pre-designated meeting spot to explore the countryside either on a GR or a PR. More French gobbledygook? You bet, more classification, more filing.

France is a country well equipped with long-distance footpaths or hiking trails. There are over 180,000 kilometres of walking trails, crossing the country in all directions; but it is in the areas of rural France that the paths are most numerous, and most popular. These are known in France as “Sentiers de grandé randonnée”; as with main roads, there is a national network, and the 35,000 km of marked and signposted footpaths that make up the main network are designated by numbers, preceded by the letters GR.

Besides GR paths, there are also PR paths, “Chemins de petite randonnée”, marked trails that are most suited for local hiking, and not necessarily connected to any GR routes. GR routes are marked (on trees, posts, stones, etc) by a short red band above a white band. PR routes are marked with a yellow band. In addition, many French communes or communities have set up their own marked footpaths independently of the national network. All in all, the choice for ramblers, walkers and serious hikers is immense.

 

In this, our first GR, we started out from the reservoir at St Saturnin-des-Apt – the ruins of the ancient chateau are in the background

 

A stunning view of the Luberon valley. The reddish cliffs that you see in the middle of the picture are the famous Roussillon ochre deposits

 

Walking is on rural roads, footpaths and some rocky patches. Nothing that needs a rope and chains, though!

 

The GRs are for nature lovers and those of us who never tire of the sights. Here we are ending our GR with a stroll through the back streets of Saint Saturnin

 

Most of the major long-distance trails run through villages where hikers can find accommodation in bed and breakfasts, “gîtes d’étape” (rather like small hostels), campsites or small hotels. Before setting out on a long distance trail, it is essential to study the route carefully on detailed maps, and check the accommodation available.

Over the rooftops of St Saturnin

All French tourism bureaus will give you details of the local GR and PRs.

 

We can never get enough of those tree lined avenues

More from the St Remy Brocante

I know somebody who was in ‘heaven’ here

 

Buttons everywhere

 

Napoleon’s Trees. France, and Provence in particular, is full of tree lined avenues. Legend has it that Napoleon had it done so ‘protect his troops from the blazing sun’ – ie so that they could march longer and faster!

 

A famous aquaduct still purveying water to the agricultural lands around. This one is at the entrance to St Remy-de-Provence.

Seen at St Remy de Provence market – one of the stallholders!

Here’s more ….

 

Saint Remy-de-Provence on Pentecost (20 May) was a hive of activity. Along with the Fete de la transhumance, there was a brocante fair of note. Photographic and browsing heave.

First thing we spotted. This really switched Madame’s 360 radar on…..

 

Antique lien – really slipping into overdrive now

 

Leather arm chairs – and not a Maison du Monde store in sight.

 

Multi colours – don’t the French just love colour

 

Bit of unusual merchandising.

This is not your classic poppy field, but pretty nevertheless

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