Sunday, September 4, 2011

One weekend

I hardly know where this summer 2011 has gone.  Already, outside my window, I see the leaves falling gently and while it remains warm, there is a hint of autumn in the bite of a fresh wind.  Now, I don't want to get all nostalgic on you because there are plenty of things to look forward to with the changing of the seasons but I do marvel at how time passes so quickly.  All the more reason to seize the day, right?

While the majority of the city left for the beach or cooler climates, we pretty much stayed put except for a few long weekends.  While I'm at it, I have to say that its pretty pleasant to stay behind, I had the impression to have the city all to myself.  That said, it was nice to have a bit of change in scenery from time to time.

One weekend, we headed south for sunnier climes.  When we left Paris, the city of was gray and overcast but once we crossed the Loire valley, it was as if we were in another country altogether.  Our destination was Ardeche which is within the Rhone-Alpes region. It is mountainous country, verdant and  and peaceful.  It is named after the Ardeche river which empties itself out into the massive Rhone river.  

While it is not too far from the Cote d'Azur and its beaches, Ardeche's charms is of a different sort. There are quiet medieval villages perched among the mountain crags and here and there, are isolated farms with their herds of cows and horses.  There is a certain serenity and stillness in these mountains.

One village we managed to visit was the village of Rochemaure.  It is a slumbering medieval village with the remnants of an old citadel looming over the town.

the skyline, if you could call it that

the rocky remains of the Citadel
When we visited, it seemed as though we were the only people walking in the streets. And we marvelled at the stone walls and houses that look no different from what they must have looked like long long long ago.

As we wandered around, we caught glimpses of the citadel from various points...

And I liked this old church with pots of bright flowers providing a touch of color
I wondered what people were doing behind their shuttered (albeit freshly painted ) windows.

When we climbed up to the citadel, we got a good look at the lush valley below...

as well as the mighty Rhone in the distance

Stone walls, hardy shrubs and not a soul in sight except for us. A far cry from the bustling mountain villages of Provence but no less beautiful in its isolation.


  1. Mountainous villages have a charm of their own and quite often keep intact a people's heart. Lovely tour. Thanks!

  2. Such a romantic and mysterious olace. Missed you guys, glad to be back!