Twice a year, the village of L’Isle sur la Sorgue has an antiques festival which attracts buyers and vendors from all over Europe. Legend has it that it is the third largest in the world – after London and Saint-Ouen in France.
The 2014 version was over the Easter weekend and true to form we had rain and wind, and some degree of cold. This did not damper the locals’ spirits, howfer, and a good time was had by all.
Just above the busling town of Apt in the heart of the Luberon, 453m above lies the hilltop village of Saignon. A huge rock peers down on Apt and the tiny viage of 1,053 sould wraps itself around the protection of the rock. This village has seen much action over the centuries as the villagers (or Saignonais as they like to be called), helped protect their bigger sister down below.
Our latest Grande Radoneé, (big walk/hike) saw our active group leave from a Mas below the village and thread our way up along the contour paths to the village. It is a beautiful walk as you start in the vineyards and then progressively notch upwards into the welcoming arms of the Chez Catheine coffee shop.
Everywhere you look at the moment, there are colours, flowers, buds, small fruits.
Here’s a ‘Judas Tree’ spotted near Saignon, a hilltop village near Apt in the Luberon.
Wikipedia comments: “Cercis siliquastrum, commonly known as the Judas tree, is a small decidious tree from Southern Europe and Western Asia which is noted for its prolific display of deep pink flowers in spring.”
This species forms a small tree up to 12 metres in height and 10 metres in width.
The deep pink flowers are produced on year-old or older growth, including the trunk in late spring. The leaves appear shortly after the first flowers emerge. These are heart-shaped with a blunt apex, which occasionally has a shallow notch at the tip. The tree produces long flat pods that hang vertically. The flowers are edible and purportedly have a sweet-acid taste.
There is a long-standing myth that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from a tree of this species. This belief is related to the common name ‘Judas Tree’, which is possibly a corrupted derivation from the French common name – Abre de Judeé, mean Tree of Judea, referring to the hilly regions of that country where the tree used to be common. Another possible source for the vernacular name is the fact that the flowers and seedpods can dangle direct from the trunk in a way reminiscent of Judas’ suicide.