To all of us, this photo sumed it all up. A derelict chair, its occupants long gone and the signboard to civilisation

To all of us, this photo sumed it all up. A derelict chair, its occupants long gone and the signboard to civilisation

 

Another abandoned house

Another abandoned house

 

Once upon a time .......

Once upon a time …….

 

Inside the bakery - the oven

Inside the bakery – the oven

 

What could this have been?

What could this have been?

 

Roots cover an old window

Roots cover an old window

It's quite a stiff, but beautiful hike from the parking area to Travignon. The views are really worth it!

It’s quite a stiff, but beautiful hike from the parking area to Travignon. The views are really worth it!

 

We had wanted to hike to the ‘lost village’ of Travignon. We finally did it!

Travignon is a small ghost town perched on a hill, located high up on the Sault plateau Vaucluse, and an hour’s walk from the village of Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt. Situated on the southern slopes of Mont Ventoux, it’s altitude is a little more than 900m above sea level.

The village was founded in 1542 and the name comes from the ancient French word ‘travi’ which means ‘crossroads.

It was populated by about thirty people before World War I, but the menfolk had gone to war, not to return, the remaining women and children abandoned Travignon in 1914.

One of the two aiguiers. This one enclosed and with a water channel to allow rain water to flow inot it.

One of the two aiguiers. This one enclosed and with a water channel to allow rain water to flow into it.

In terms of rural heritage, Travignon is distinguished by its two remarkable aiguiers, or cisterns carved out of the rocks and provided the water for the populace and their animals.

Spectacular views

Spectacular views

Tumble down and deserted.An eery atmosphere pervades the village.

Tumble down and deserted.An eery atmosphere pervades the village.

 

The Main Street!

The Main Street!

 

The entrance to the bakery - the door stone says 1843.

The entrance to the bakery – the door stone says 1843.

 

Everywhere you look - poppies, poppies. THese seen on the D900 National Road between Avignon and Apt in the Luberon.

Everywhere you look – poppies, poppies. These were seen on the D900 National Road between Avignon and Apt in the Luberon.

We wrote about Procession Caterpillars and the threat they are to pets, a while ago. Click here.

A sequel to this was that the tiny village of Rustrel had three fatalities amongst the canine population and five badly ill dogs. On a recent hike, we can across these little horrors crossing a rural road.

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Luberon Valley in the Spring morning sunshine

Luberon Valley in the Spring morning sunshine

The poppies are starting to come out! Seen near Ménerbes in the Luberon Valley.

The poppies are starting to come out! Seen near Ménerbes in the Luberon Valley.

images

 

May in Provence is not only a time of regrowth, poppies, cherry blossoms and wild irises. It is also the time of numerous public holidays – some religious, some appealing to wider, more secular audience.

The 10th May celebrates VE Day to signify the end of the Second World War and the liberation of Paris.

Not far from Simiane, on the Sault Plateau, is the hamlet of Chavon and close to there is an area hidden from view once used by the local Resistance fighters, who went under the name “Abatteur” (Slaughterman), for the reception of weapons and supplies parachuted by the allies. These weapons were then used in actions against the Nazi occupiers during which many resistance fighters lost their lives. The Abatteur group comprised 7 men and their main role was the reception of weapons for the resistance movement. They were under the control of the section for landings and parachuting known as the S.A.P. (Section Atterrissage Parachutage).

On the night of the 10th May 1944 a tragic event took place that would profoundly affect the Abatteur group and to this day leaves no one indifferent to the horrors of World War II and indeed any war.
The section chief had received a coded message on Radio London that a parachute drop of weapons was to take place on the night of the 10th May 1944. He summoned his group and they lit the three beacons for the plane on the drop zone.
Unknown to them a British bombing raid was taking place over Valance that night and one of the Wellington Bombers from this raid saw the beacons. The bomber in question had probably been severely damaged by anti-aircraft fire and was looking for somewhere to land as the return home seemed impossible. Seeing the beacons and mistaking them as a Resistance landing strip they decided to give the landing a go.
On the field the seven men from the resistance group saw the plane fly over at 2am, disappear and then come back at low altitude and seemingly at full throttle only to watch it crash into the valley below, now named “La Combe de L’Avion”, The Airplane Valley. After the crash there was a moment of silence and the men hurried down to see if there were any survivors, but the silence was brief and a series of explosions and detonations followed and the zone was too hot to approach.

At dawn the wreckage revealed the carbonised remains of the four crew at the front of the plane where the heat was such that even their identity plaques had melted. The identity of the fifth crew member, the gunner, Eric Howell, in the tail section was readable and it was this name that allowed the authorities to later identify the rest of the crew. What shocked the resistance group was that Eric Howell was only 22 years old, the same age as them.
The burial of their remains was overseen by the section chief René Char and the rest of the plane was dismantled and hidden from sight under branches and forest debris. The men then returned to their duties receiving weapons as the war raged on.

The drop zone area is now covered in lavender and a rather forlorn sign indicates its whereabouts.

But that night was never forgotten and as soon as the war ended a monument was put up in valley in their memory. In 1994 a team from the BBC found the families of the lost airmen and took them to the site, but I cannot find any information on this event, if any one knows anything use the comments below of send me an email.

Every year on the 10th of May a commemoration ceremony takes place in the Combe de l’Avion to remember those who died there on that tragic night.

Close to the Combe d'avion site, we foulnd this memorial to two Resistance fighters who were executed by the Germans

Close to the Combe d’avion site, we found this memorial to two Resistance fighters who were executed by the Germans

 

This year’s event will feature the Engineering Regiment of the French Foreign Legion who are based close by in Saint Cristol. The ceremony is open to everyone.

[Thanks to Mike T for pointing me towards the site:  http://blog.unique-provence.com 

Much of this information comes from the above mentioned blog.

IMG_3046

 

The peony is named after Paeon (also spelled Paean), a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. Asclepius became jealous of his pupil; Zeus saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower.

Over 262 compounds have been obtained so far from the plants of Paeoniaceae. These include monoterpenoid glucosides, flavonoids, tannins, stilbenoids, triterpenoids and steroids, paeonols, and phenols. Biological activities include antioxidant, antitumor, antipathogenic, immune-system-modulation activities, cardiovascular-system-protective activities and central-nervous-system activities.

The herb known as Paeonia, in particular the root of P. lactiflora (Bai Shao, Radix Paeoniae Lactiflorae), has been used frequently in traditional medicines of Korea, China and Japan. Research suggests that constituents in P. lactiflora – paeoniflorin and paeonol – can modulate induced scratching behaviors and mast cell degranulation.

They also make great cut flowers!

The chef prepares the class

Chef Michel Meissonnier prepares the class

 

One of the tricks Madame learnt at her course at Le Marmiton, La Mirande’s cooking school was how to prepare the perfect poached egg…

Cook the egg, cool it down and then clasp gently in the hand. Scissors at the ready

Cook the egg, cool it down and then clasp gently in the hand. Scissors at the ready

 

Trim carefully with the scissors

Trim carefully with the scissors

 

Then trim to perfection with a knife. A Michelin star awaits your poached egg.

Then trim the other ingredients for your dish to perfection with a knife. A Michelin star awaits your poached egg and vegetable salad.

 

The dining table awaits the course members

The dining table awaits the course members

 

Madame and M.Chef

Madame and M.Chef

 

 

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