Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Surprise at Every Turn

I had never been to the small town of Fontaine de Vaucluse before our summer trip to Provence, but we swung by there on this trip.

I was amazed at the verdant green colors of both the water and the foliage, 

and the cliffs along each side of the river stretching towards the skies.

I didn't feel like I was in the south of France at all anymore, more like the Emerald City, but Fontaine de Vaucluse is the source of the River Sorgue which flows through the cute little village I shared with you in my last post: Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. The village is built around the spring that spills forth at the source.

For some, kayaking may be fun,

but "flip-overs" like this one would discourage me from giving it a try. I know some of you are much braver than I.

On our way to the car, we spotted this restful little cafe on the side of the river, and wished we had saved our lunch meal to eat there. Isn't the water some of the greenest you've ever seen?

After the coolness of Fontaine de Vaucluse, we motored on to the hillside village of Oppède le Vieux perched high above the valley, which has a fascinating story. Parking below and walking uphill 15 minutes to the village takes quite a commitment, but the rewards are plenty.

Its roots date back to the Middle Ages when the town's location in the hills proved a safe haven from warring factions. The Baron of Oppède took the castle as his seat in the 16th century. But in the 19th century, the inhabitants began to slowly move down into the valley for an easier lifestyle, and by the beginning of the 20th century, the town was uninhabited.

It remained a ghost town until the beginning of WWII when a commune of artists was founded there, and writers and artists took over the ruined houses to make them their own. Today there are very few permanent inhabitants, most choosing to live in the valley below instead, but the town is a fascinating spot to imagine the days gone by.

At the top of the village, you find the Romanesque Notre Dame d'Alydon church originally constructed in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 16th century.

The locals are bit by bit restoring the frescoes that are found inside.

Ruins of the old fortified castle leave a testimony of days when the town was at its peak.

Today tourists make up most of the activity in this very tranquil spot,

but a few people are still making the quiet little town

their home.

Who wouldn't enjoy having this view of Mont Ventoux in the distance and the Luberon valley extending to the hills? If it just wasn't for that little matter of climbing that hill every day!!

A city lost in time, ready to be rediscovered. Go see it if you can!


  1. SO beautiful Debi - glad you are enjoying your time!

  2. Hi Debi, these photos are so nice and I'd love to pack my bags and move to that village right now - yep, a bit sick of London and the rubbish weather here ;-)

    Thanks so much for your lovely birthday wishes for Dylan xo

  3. Your photographs are just beautiful! Love the flowers.

  4. Beautiful photos - can't wait to visit there myself!

  5. no one can expose a glorious spot like you!
    thank you for giving us mainlanders a peak.