Our first full day in Provence, and we're headed off to Fontaine de
Before walking the path to the source, we hiked up to the ruins of an
old chateau, and enjoyed the views of the town and the valley. We kept
looking for an area to actually see down to the source from there, but
it wasn't visible from the trails. Just us up on this pinnacle - and a
lovely spot it is. Back down in the town, we followed the well-touristed
track to the source. The rushing river was beautiful - but the source
was almost a let-down to me. I was expecting water gushing from the cliff,
but, paradoxically for this unending and thriving river, it comes from
a quiet, still pool. The secret is that the pool is so deep that it took
centuries (and even attempts by Cousteau!) to discover the bottom - the
true source. This quiet pool IS the source of the rushing, mighty torrent
below - fascinating!
On to the Abbey of Senanque, where we, along with several classes of school
children, toured the empty rooms. Wonderful bookstore - found some books
on Provence, and the Cistercians, in English that I haven't seen in the
States. It was getting close to 2:30, when there was a mass, and we couldn't
find the small chapel where it would be celebrated. Asked at the bookstore
and were directed outside and around back on the right. Glad we found
it - a quiet spot, where the 6 monks who live there chanted a 10 minute
devotion, then returned to their work.
Then to beautiful Roussillon - even more gorgeous in the evening light.
The colors in the quarry are fabulous - vibrant hues of every color of
ocher - from pale yellow to deep brick red. An interesting remnant of
the mining was a huge tower of ocher that looked like a gyro in a Greek
sandwich shop - the circular method of retrieving the ocher left a
shaved multi-hued column. The lovely hues continue through the town -
houses of every shade from the quarry. Our shorts , sandals, and feet
were also ruddy. That dust didn't want to leave us!
Decided to head east to a farm outside of the end-of-the-road village
of Sivergue. The few cars ahead on the narrow lane came to a stop - a
traffic-jam out here in the middle of nowhere? No, just time to move the
sheep to another pasture. The wooly flock, bells jingling, fill the road,
and we just have to wait while their shepherd moves them to the next field.
We sit in the car and enjoy the tinkling bells and the twilight - we're
not in a hurry!
We wave as we pass the weathered brown shepherd, crook in his hand.
There's a road sign in Sivergues. A big T, indicating that this is the
end of the road. But off to the right is a little wooden post pointing
down a dirt road to Le Castellet- a farm/ hostel/ restaurant. We had no
phone number, so couldn't call ahead, and found that only the goats and
sheep were home tonight. The ancient stone farmstead was quiet and empty.
We sat on a wall and looked out over the darkening valley, and discussed
our dinner options - planning to return another day for a meal. After
a while we heard voices - a couple of hikers were spending the night,
and were up on the terrace. They told us that the owners had gone for
a walk, and were taking the night off. They'd been to the area before,
and shared stories of the ancient Waldensian Protestant sect that had
settled here centuries ago. After a while Gianni, the owner, and his wife
walked up the hill, and we talked with them about coming back another