The Old and the New: Hyper U and Grambois

Guest blogger, Emily, continues on her adventures:

Garbage disposals are not in evidence in France, but recycling is in. As we head out to explore, we carry our bagged garbage and recyclables in the trunk of the car up the steep hill to the neighborhood containers. We’re regular shoppers at Hyper-U in the town of Pertuis, about 20 min. from the house (a huge “big box” store rather like a Wal-Mart, with the best prices in the area) and have the plan down pat: croutons next to the smoked salmon, and bread next to the cordless drills and office supplies, where else? Shoppers must bring their own reusable bags and bag their own groceries. All of the other shoppers are very kind about helping me locate things when I need help, often taking me by the hand and personally escorting me to the correct aisle, sharing tips about which brand is best or how best to cook a particular cut of meat. We occasionally pick up something at a small market just for the fun of it, or at one of the numerous outdoor markets; there is one somewhere every day. The first day I was at Hyper-U, I noticed the name tag on the lady who was checking my groceries: “Mireille.” I was stoked and told her that Mireille was the name of the heroine in my French in Action language course, and that everyone had to learn the correct pronunciation of the name in order to pass the course. She was delighted, as were the other ladies in my queue, and astonished as well that Mireille is not a common name in the states.

One afternoon after leaving Hyper-U, we finally detoured up the hill to check out a small town we always wondered about as we passed it on our way home, Grambois. We thought it might be rather new. Well, it was…in the year 1100! There was nothing going on and not a soul to be seen, with the exception of a curious little white cat who followed us everywhere.

I love this old iron boulangerie sign hanging high on the ancient stone wall. The belfry in the church also is an iron filigree design, typical of Provence. This is because of the strong mistral winds that would topple a solid tower.


In the square, surrounded by the church, the mairie, and centered with the the village fountain, scenes in two movies have been filmed: Pagnol’s The Glory of my Father and The Chateau of My Mother. You can see the backside of a red “deux chevaux,” in the street adjoining the square.


Note the little white cat in the lower corner, nestled in the greenery.


The church, “Notre-Dame de Beauvoir,” is an 11th century Romanesque design but the square is too small to be able to get back for a full length photo.


Sideroads of Europe

6 thoughts to “The Old and the New: Hyper U and Grambois”

  1. Well, I am putting this blog posting up from the States and from a strange computer so there is no way to correct my mistake and put up the photo that has the little white cat in it. I will just leave up the duplicate photo. Sorry. Linda

  2. Well, such a small world! My French class has gone adventuring in action with Mireille and Robert–to Versailles and Chartres, but not yet to Provence. That Mireille seems to be a bit of a tease, and poor R. is quite smitten. 🙂

    Thanks for that. It encourages me that I will, yes I will, get my French up to a proficiency level that I can use it in France. Thanks, too, for the wonderful account of the beautiful stone bridge. Am I correct in thinking it was made sans mortar, a la such as Macchu Pichu? Remarkable.

  3. Yes, Emm, the bridge was made sans mortar. Later, I’ll post things about Pont du Gard which, remarkably, also was made by interlocking the huge stones and used no mortar.

    Keep up your aventures avec Mirelle et Robert. I think you’ll be amazed with your progress. What an improvement this program is from the old methods of teaching language!

    Also, thanks to each of you who has posted comments. I’m not plugged in to be able to answer you individually, but I appreciate your comments and am pleased that you’re enjoying the posts in Linda’s absence.

  4. Another informative post full of memories pour moi!! In England, when a teen, we had a French student named Mireille stay in our home two Summers to learn English – so I have always been able to pronounce that one!!

    So happy to know the locals assist you at the Hyper – the set-up can be confusing. Love the church belfry. I wasn’t aware of the reason for the filigree – that Mistrale takes no prisoners!

    Looking forward to the Pont du Gard pics. We were there in June 2006 – boiling temps.
    Stunning place but disappointed you can no long walk other than the lower level. Makes sense though as far as saving the structure – just amazed that my SIL walked across the very TOP years ago, how dangerous that must have been!!

    Enjoy each day – wish I was there!

  5. Isn’t it amazing that there are no garbage disposals in France? At least I’ve never seen one. I wonder why. Out here in the country where I live, we compost most of the stuff that back in San Francisco we would have run through the garbage grinder down the drain. But in Paris or other cities? It’s mysterious.

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