Thursday, 2 June 2016

Journal Provencal: Chapitre 1

Aren't we lucky? Two weeks in Alaska followed by 6 days in Provence. It wasn't planned this way, it just happened this way. We are down in the South of France helping a friend celebrate a significant birthday. It was the least we could do to take up her kind offer of staying a while in the villa she had rented in the hills. It's a lovely part of the world and it's great to be back in France again after a break of many years. We used to holiday in the French countryside every year and it's comforting to realise that it really hasn't changed that much in the intervening time.
We are staying in a very nice villa in the hilly countryside near the village of Saint-Antonin-du-Var, which is around 80 miles to the west of Nice
Our first trip out and about took us to and through a number of towns and villages in the vicinity of the villa. One such was Entrecasteaux  which was dominated by a castle originating in the 13th Century.
One of the original entrances to the castle was hewn out of the rocks on which the castle was built. Unfortuantely the castle was closed when we were there so we couldn't visit it.
Some interesting shapes and textures in this third storey window.
Looking down onto the knot parterre. The steps to the left were designed by Le Notre, who had a lot to do with the design of the gardens at Versailles.
There's always something fascinating about people-watching. Take this fellow with the large plaster on his head. I wonder what the story behind it is. Perhaps it's the result of surgery? Perhaps it's the result of being beaten about the head with a heavy object?
Perhaps by Madame's stick in a lover's tiff?
On to Tourtour with a terraced garden overlooking the countryside. An interesting collection of statues from a local sculpture were on view.
And nearby, the equally interesting natural sculpture of a tree just coming into leaf.
How we like the public spaces in French hilltop villages. Fountains, restaurants, buildings - all made for wandering around.
These steps once lead to something important? But now overgrown and the reason for their existence either lost or known to just a few.
An alley scene. Tourtour had a labyrinth of these. All leading somewhere...
Sometimes to another fountain..
Sometimes to an interesting wall plaque. Regular readers of my blog may recall an earlier post in which I mentioned Ronald Searle and some of the artwork he'd done for the Municipality of Paris on dog fouling (it's true: check it out here). I knew that he was a long-time resident of France but I had not realised that he had lived down here. He must have been living here when he died, which was at the end of 2011.
Simply a Passionflower because I find the floral architecture fascinating.

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