Tuesday, July 19, 2016

France: Impressions of Grignan

Grignan is a magnificent village perched on a hill and topped by a Renaissance castle. This is the shot I took from the moving bus.

Grignan, approximately 70 km north of Avignon enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, with dry winters and summers, rainy spring and fall. The Mistral, that strong cold violent wind that blows through the Rhone Valley plays a major part in the climate of the area. 

Grignan was made famous in France by the letter-writing of the aristocratic Madame de Sévigné in the 17th century. Over the course of 30 years, Madame wrote letters from Paris to her daughter Françoise-Marguerite who was living in Grignan with her husband. In fact, by writing these long letters, up to 20 pages in length, more than 1000 of them, Madame de Sévigné became well-known as a formidable correspondent in the literary world after her death.  

This garden/maze, the Labyrinth of the Jardin de Sévigné, as seen from the castle above was named in her honour.

The road entering Grignan was colourful.

Beauty even grows on roofs in Grignan.

This is the Lavoir du Mail, a wash house with a circular basin inside 16 Doric columns, nicely shaded in the 19th century for Madame Sévigné.

The facade of Castle Grignan

The original château was built in the 11th century and built upon/improved through the centuries but was eventually destroyed in 1793 during the French Revolution. It was restored early in the 20th century.

The south facade of the castle with scallop shell alcoves and flame ornaments on the roof 

The top terrace behind the castle was an ideal place to look down on the town's jumble of tile rooftops.

Wouldn't you love to live here for a while?

There were wide angled views, all breathtaking. Luckily there were interpretive signs posted to make us look smart when we get home and show our photos.

Below: in the distance, the tower and village of Chamaret

Below: Looking south: Le Mont Ventoux, in the centre and at the right (west), Les Dentelles de Montmirail. This tooth-shaped formation came to mind later when we arrived in Spain and saw Montserrat in the distance.

Below: Mont Ventoux, at 1912 metres, the highest point in Provence and one of the most gruelling parts of the Tour de France

These mountains/hills/ridges undulating through the centre of France are part of the Massif Central between the Southern Alps and the Rhone River valley

The poppies always caught my eye.