Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gordes, Provence, France

One of my favourite old hilltop villages in Provence is Gordes. This ancient site once had structures built of flat stones without cement, much like those seen in parts of Ireland. Some were still in use in the early 1800s. The present village has been extensively rebuilt, its infrastructure appears to be modern in every respect, its restaurants excellent (one offered a menu dinner for 94 Euros or about $150), property prices are now exceedingly high, views are stunning as one overlooks the valley, and the village is equally attractive when seen from the valley or the road wending its way upward. That afternoon we experienced very high winds which just ripped through the narrow streets, sweeping up the valley and through the village with such force that you held onto things tightly. This was a warm wind, unlike the cold Mistral from the north (consequently virtually no hill villages face north). So many women lit candles in front of one of the church's various statues that I took a picture. The church wall is suffering from dampness affecting the soft stone and plaster, yet the faithful come faithfully. I hope that the village leaders will now see fit to devote some resources to maintaining this lovely church, for one cannot imagine the village without it.