Yvon Bodelot, owner of Touratech-France, invited me to the Travel Event 2014 at the Exhibition site in Orange from May 23rd to May 25th. I decided to be playing truant in Luberon.
I left the Villa Thébaïde at Peical, my residence of cardiac handicapped person, on Saturday, May 17 as of early dawn by a secondary roads of the Var then of Vaucluse. My first stop was the Mirabeau Bridge on the Durance, entirely rebuilt, then the few kilometers announced by the Green Guide book as being the “Defile of the Durance”. Large disappointment, I expected a defile of the type of the Gorges of Verdon or Daluis, Que nenni. The Durance walks on in an alluvial plain which is used to him as discharge system in the event of risings. Admittedly there is, on the right & on the left, some notched rocks.
Then I visited the abbey of Silvacane of the 12th century of Cistercian order started by Robert de Molesme. It is one of the three Cistercian abbeys in Provence with those of Thoronet and Sénanque.
|Silvacane Abbey, water lily flower|
Finally the day was completed by the visit of the Ansouis castle built in the 10th century and several times altered in 17th and 18th centuries. The frontage is typical private mansions style at Aix-en-Provence. The interior is a tangle of hardcore constructions attesting of the architecture of the various times. No-photo! I establish my bivouac on a car park at the entrance Ansouis. I found my feelings of journeys before the “annus horribilis 2013”.
|Ansouis, bird's eyes view|
The day was announced radiant. The program began with the large village of La Tour d'Aigues whose castle is a sumptuous ruin being used as frameworks for musical shows. Alas, twice alas, the vast car park having entered to me was occupied by the Sunday market consequently the visit of the castle is not possible that the afternoon. I made some shopping for the meal of midday.
By the secondary roads D 956 then D 27 through Grambois & Cucuron I arrived at Lourmarin. The landscape is a plain devoted to the food crop as well as vine at the bottom of Grand Luberon.
Lourmarin is called the village with the three bell-towers, the protesting temple, the Catholic church and the belfry of the 17th century. The castle had three periods of construction, a fortress in 12th & 13th century, a Gothic part finishing and finally the Revival part. It was a long time the property of the powerful family of Foulques d'Agoult which gave birth to Marie d' Agoult, woman of letters, who gave birth to, from her loves with Franz List, Cosima d' Agoult future woman of Richard Wagner.
On the way to Bonnieux I stopped after a picnic at the Enclosure of bories. On a ground of approximately 4 ha about twenty bories was found and restored. A bori is a construction of dry stones, roofing stones, assembled without mortar, whose walls could reach from 80 cm to more 1 meter thickness. The Enclosure of bories attests occupation of the area as well by nomads, shepherds, as by sedentary, farmers. The site presents cisterns, aiguiers, threshing floors and an extraordinary apiary in a wall of roofing stones.
Finally a superb sight on Bonnieux, Small Luberon and the Ventoux Mount. Alas time passed too quickly.
I visited High Bonnieux quickly because I wanted to traverse the Fort of Buoux built on an impregnable cliff dominating the area.
The occupation of the site is attested since the most moved back times, the man of Paleolithic in the caves of the Balsam. The fort had a military vocation as of the origins, the Ligurians, the Romans then the wars of religion between Catholics and Protestant. The visit offers an impressive view on Luberon requiring a walk since the car park of approximately an hour and half. Finally at the end of day I found a bivouac at the crossroads of secondary roads 113 & 232. The sky covered clouds; being a sign of bad weather for the following day.
The forecast proved to be exact, it rained during the night and in the small hour a malicious drizzle fell. I began the day with a detour to visit the village of Sivergues perched on the slopes of Luberon. It was created by of Vaudois name of the founder of the eponymous sect, Vaudès, at the 12th century. It has some rural houses, gîtes in season and a town hall!
I continued my program by going to Auribeau at the bottom of Luberon, departure of the excursion of the rise of Negro Mourre (in vernacular language, the muzzle black) top of Luberon at 1125 meters high. In view of bad weather and being alone, I gave up, death in the heart, at this trip which was to be used to me as aptitude test for the medium mountains.
I took again the road to go to Saignon located on a headland dominating Apt. It is characterized by an imposing Romanesque church, a pretty square of the Fountain with a launderette and the rock of Bellevue with downwards the town of Apt. I lunched in the truck on the car park.
Persistent drizzle I took again the road
to Apt. The city in spite of a tourist
route did not leave me an imperishable
memory if not by the litany of dog droppings
in the mall.
One day of shit! it is the case to say it.
The Green Guide book: … “ocher is a coloring natural mineral mingled with grains of sand that the iron oxide (mainly limonite or the goethite) colors in yellow, brown or red. If this pigment known as of prehistory - one finds of them traces in the caves of Lascaux - and is exploited since the Roman epoch, it is produced in an industrial way only starting from the end of the 18th century… In addition to the manufacturing used by paintings and the paints, ocher had various sometimes strange industrial applications: mixed with the rubber it entered the composition of rubber; one made of it tire tubes, rubber bands, linoleum, the skin of beef sausages and…”
I took again the road to advance me towards the starting circuit of ocher at Rustrel, whose castle of the 17th century is occupied by the town hall. I bivouacked on the car park at the entrance of village.
Provençal Colorado is located at approximately a kilometer from Rustrel. It is an ocher landscape mainly of color with various alternatives going to the white. The geological structures are produced by climatic erosion, wind and rain, and are thus brought to disappear. I walked on the circuit n°2 of 3.8 km
By returning towards the car park I met two extraterrestrial with funny machines, drones (UAV, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) . These two humanoids, extremely nice & French speaking (!), explained me that they proceeded to catches sights along the cyclist course of the Tour de France 2014 to animate the TV reports, to see imperatively. Their machines are manufactured in Hong-Kong and that one in photo costs without accessories 20,000€ They already traversed the world, the Antarctic, Monument Valley etc… Their website: www.freewaydrone.com; (free advertising)
The Mines of Bruoux at Gargas whose ocher was extracted from 1895 to 1960 were the most important in Europe with more than 40 km of gallery dug with the pickaxe. A team of three minors was made up of a minor of projection, ambidexter dug a vault of one meter fifty top and three meters broad and of two minors of chimney, one on right, right-handed and the other on the left, left-handed person, two chimneys dug to release a block of ocher which was then dynamited. In full exploitation the mine occupied 120 minors. The vault thus picked resembles a nave of cathedral true reversed vessel. From 1960 to 2006 - the galleries were used with the culture of mushrooms of bets. The visit is carried out by traversing 650 meter of gallery by a temperature of 10°C and a moisture of 90%. No-photo! The pictures presented are catches of sights of postcards or the mural ones.
The academy of ochers and color, Ôkhra, is located in the old Mathieu Factory organized in cultural cooperative. The guided tour presents the origins of the pigment of the ocher and well of others, its use and especially its manufacturing until 1963 by traversing the various workshops with their machines as well as the mud tanks and the oven of cooking. Our guide was young person a 19 year old, colorful local, with a humor pickling in this period of mess. The late hour, the multitude of the tourists and especially no parking space made me give up traversing the "Path of Ocher". I found a vast rest area where I posed the truck for the bivouac.
The weather was gloomy, lead sky and intermittent rain. The Romanesque church of Saint-Pantaléon was built on the rock as well as the tombs of children surrounding it. The tradition tells that dead children before the baptism were brought to the church to be baptized before their burial there.
On D 148 an old country house of the 17th century was transformed into olive oil museum since its origin in Mesopotamia until our days. Remarkable history by its implications in the three monotheist religions, by its uses therapeutic and medical, household soap whose invention was made in Alep, today sadly celebrates. At side in a modern building the history of glass and stained glass is told to us magnificently. There still its origin goes back to more than 6,000 years in Syria. These two museums were created by Frederique Duran, sculptor on duralumin. I have the occasion to meet this charming old woman.
The hamlet of about twenty bories, entirely restored is organized in museum, alas without heart. The Enclosure of Bories at Bonnieux is much more authentic by the aridity of the landscape and its conservation in the state.
The site is located 2 km from the road D 2. A vast car park is arranged for the prohibited-driving motor homes. It is necessary to go there by foot, Bof! But with my great amazement a car of the gendarmerie hid at the entrance of Village of Bories to charge the contraveners. At the beginning the “men-at-arms” were soldiers and in my youth they had a teaching behavior; now attached to the ministry for the interior they are simple repressive cops…!
Gordes, the village of the villages more attended of Luberon, is a tourist factory, I were not delayed there.
|Horde de tourists|
The day was completed in a haven of peace and silence, the abbey of Sénanque, third Cistercian abbey in Provence, brood in a small valley surrounded by wooded mountains. The site is inhabited by a small monastic community. I paid the highly advisable guided tour by the comments as well architectural as cultural of the monastic life. It was a true pleasure and an invitation with a spiritual retirement. I bought two CD of Gregorian chants of the abbey of Solesmes. I further found a bivouac a few kilometers on the plateau.
Weather was not good on Thursday, May 22, always a low sky and intermittent rains, despite everything the temperature oscillated between 20 and 22°C. The day started with the rise of the Pass of Chain at 625 meters of altitude. The road curves in splendid forests of holm oaks. The rise to Venasque was quite as beautiful with the arrival at the bottom of vestige of the walls with the towers known as Muslims Towers. The name of the village is at the origin of Comtat Venaissin. He is clutched on the cliff and the paved streets zigzag between the houses, each crossroads is decorated with a small square & a fountain. Beside the church Notre-Dame the Baptistry is one of the oldest religious buildings. It would be in 6th century, Merovingian time. But it could have been a Romansque temple dedicated to Diane, Venus or Mercury because several furnace altars were found. Its shape in cross Greek is known as quatrefoil.
The following stage was the town of Pernes-the-Fountains whose name is related to the multitude of fountains neighborhood. It is dominated by a high keep, Turn of the Clock, offering a panorama over the Ventoux Mount in clear weather! A tourist route makes it possible to appreciate the architecture of the city as well as a vestige of the ramparts with the gates of Villeneuve and St-Gilles.
Carpentras will not leave me an imperishable memory due to the closing of the tourist buildings. For example the pharmacy of the Hotel Dieu is worth visiting only on Friday except season of August July! To comfort me this misfortune I offered an small baskett of strawberries of the variety ciflorette, gratifies as we can. Of course I tasted it at once. In middle of afternoon I moved towards Orange with a stop to the local supermarket to supply for the three days weekend at the exhibition site for the Travel Event by Touratech.
The Travel Event 2014 exhibition organized by Touratech lasted three days. It was attended by motorcyclists mainly overlapping of BMW flat-two. This gathering on the car park was impressive. Saturdays more than 3,000 people visited the stands and in the afternoon families frpm Orange with women & children came to increase the frequentation. The harnessed visitors of leather & coughs up with the hand sauntered in the alleys, grouped discussed animated the whole of it very good child. Not extravagant decorations, not of gored helmets, not of provocative tattooing's, it was not a hairy horde put-putting of Harley-Davidson as in the USA. Environment was cool; the owners of BMW are well raised people, obliged budget motor bike, higher than 20,000 euros. Invited by Yvon Bodelot I assisted Mister & Mrs Giraud designer and manufacturer of the cells Psi-Azalaï for 4x4 vehicles intended for the raids which exposed two Ranger Ford and my Mercedes “G”. Of course the visitors, interested, not the collecting idlers of pub, by our vehicles were especially couples close to the retirement and wishing to continue their journeys with more comfort. They started to think of after trip by motor bike. The visitors Sunday were fewer, the motorcyclists from England, Germany or Holland were to return to their remote country. I benefitted from it to make a tour of the stands of the manufacturers of motor bikes to dream so that I could have made being younger… but I must think so that I will make in another life. As of 3 p.m. the exhibitors dismounted their stand. After a pot of good-bye offered by friends of the Ford dealer. We were left. Yvon Bodelot invited me to bivouac on the car park of his company.