We spent all day exploring the Northeast corner of Provence, the part entering the Southern Alps of France. When we were on our way skiing last month we passed the city of Sisteron and there was this breathtaking citadel on top of a cliff overlooking the valley. I knew I had to get back and explore the city. Unfortunately, we arrived at lunch time, which was ok as long as we were eating lunch, but the tourist office was closed so we couldn't see all there was to see in Sisteron which, by the way, is not part of Provence. The citadel turned out not to be opened either. I don't know if it opened later in the day or later in the year. The whole city is surrounded with cliffs and mountains, one, as can be seen by the layers of rock, turned on its side at one point in distant time.
There were four of these towers in the middle of the city-the citadel is in the background.
I thought this clocktower was especially elegant.
Closeup of middle of clock tower.
As close as we got to the citadel.
Heading back to our house we stopped at Les Mees, a little village with a line of cliffs called Les Penitants, priests frozen in stone for looking at women with lust in their hearts. I couldn't get a good view from a distance where it does look like a row of people but got some photos close up.
View from the side.
Hole worn in one.
I read about a place of retreat high on a mountain nearby and we drove the winding road to the top where fantastic views of the valley could be seen. There was a small little chapel at the top and some interesting walks. It is used for religious retreats and there was some sort of school up there as well.
Exterior of chapel. I like the trim on the arches.
Statue of Mary and Jesus inside.
A path leading to an incredible view.
There is a village, high atop another hill, called Lurs. It is a very interesting place to walk around mostly untouched by tourist trade. A murder of an entire family took place here years ago and that is what everyone thinks of when they hear the name. It was almost totally shut down with shutters closed on every window. A ruined chateau sits on the top and there was what looked like an interesting walk but a sign said it would take and hour and a half, so we passed.
View as you approach Lurs.
This whole area is loaded with rocks as the buildings show.
Chapel at entry to Lurs. The round shape appealed to me.
On Sunday Maurice and I decided to take a hike. This whole area is known for it's hiking and biking and we haven't tried any of it. It was really cold as the temperatures were in the 40's or so and the darn mistral was blowing. It was very cold on top of the mountain. The path we took went up a mountain and we ended up in pine trees. There was a great view from the top although we never really found a good vantage point. The forest service has put a red and white stripe on various trees as you climb so you can stay on the trail. The wrong direction has the two stripes crossed. Even with this we somehow got off of it at an intersection. The forest itself wasn't that photogenic to my eyes with lots of dead brush and trees at eye level where it was shady and the only great, besides moss, being high in the air where the pine trees reached to the sun. Europeans do a lot of hiking. I don't think it is as big in the States.
Mark on tree showing the trail.
View on the way to the mountain of a cross in memory of those from the village who died in WWI.
This tower is part of a chateau, seen to the right in our village.
I am now in Paris but before I left Provence we made a quick trip to Menerbes, the village made famous by a book called A Year In Provence by Peter Mayle. It was basically shut down for the winter and I assume it must become much more lively in the summer. I believe that Mayle lived down the hill from the actual village in one of the many luxurious homes we saw driving around.
A tower on the edge of Menerbes.
Two of these set at the entrance to a house in the village.
A cross like this is in every village I've seen.
The local cemetery
I've been in Paris for a week now. There have been some really fabulous days with blue skies and sunshine and it has been too hot for a coat. Rain is now forcast for the next week but I did get some shots at a park with flowers in bloom and the trees starting to bud.
A little dark but I like the sun shining through the glass house and the weeping willow to the right.
Pansies, green grass and daffodils ready to bloom right behind them.