This year’s guest list is shaping up into quite the all-star roster. Johann and I are looking forward to seeing every single one of you! And uniquely this year, many of you (Erin, Francesco, Leah, Reynald, Daryl, Scott, Nozomi, Kelli) have never visited us before. Of course some of you (Mom, Dad, Al, Tanya, Ken) have been to Provence before and are well familiar with the area.
But for the sake of all our valued guests, I thought I’d give you a preview of what’s in store for you here. Of course, you’re all aware of the charms of Provence; the rolling hills covered in grapevines, the fields of golden sunflowers, the smell of lavender wafting in the breeze, the hillside castles around every bend, the sumptuous cuisine and the incomparable wine.
But the region has much more to offer than a first glance might reveal. For example, take the ochre deposits in Roussillon and Rustrel. Just 30 minutes or so from our door, it is as if one has left not only France, but Earth itself, as the former quarries resemble a moonscape more than anything else.
Both sites are protected national parks and are accessible via sometimes steep but always breathtaking footpaths. In Rustrel, the River Doa has cut a gorge into the ochre, earning it the moniker “The Provençal Colorado.”* With hiking paths from 1 km-5.5 km. and elevations ranging from 10-150 metres (30-500 feet), the area is perfect for hiking.
Sites to see or visit: Provençal Colorado, Ochre Trail, 17th century chateau, 9th century ruins of the Prieuré St. Julien, St. Roman Church, Chapel St. Roch.
Leisure activities: Hiking, cycling tours, man-made lake, fishing and pétanque.
Cultural events: Summer festivals and jazz concerts.
* Right now, my friend in Colorado is reading this and thinking, “Yeah, right. Where are the slopes, man?”