Monday, December 28, 2009

Oppède Le Vieux, Provence

I had read that the very small village of Oppède Le Vieux (another village on a rocky outcrop) was inhabited mainly by artists who were restoring the previously abandoned buildings. So after loving the art galleries of Roussillon, I was expecting even better in Oppède Le Vieux. I also thought I had read about an interesting walking tour that wound its way around the vineyards.

Well....I seemed to have been wrong on both counts, but it was still had a memorable visit! According to Wikipedia:

"The old village, build on a rocky hill, has narrow streets. In winter, the Petit Luberon starts casting its shadow early in the afternoon. Houses beyond the medieval ramparts are dark, humid and tricky to maintain.

In the 19th century, the inhabitants had enough and started to move down in the valley, dismantling the roof of their houses to stop paying property taxes.

By the beginning of the 20th century, Oppède-le-Vieux was a ghost village and a new community was officially established in the valley, with larger streets, cosier houses and farmers closer to their fields."

On the path to the town we passed by these two interesting plants. Does anyone know what they are?

We couldn't see any indication that artists lived in the village. Not so much as a single store to browse. So we hiked up to the castle, first through this lovely arch.

Tempting to explore, but I didn't want to infringe on the privacy of the locals.

Up at the castle, or should I say the remains of the castle, was this church that is still in very good shape, and I believe is still in use.

But the rest of the castle is crumbling. However it was very nice to explore the ruins without any tour groups. In fact, there were only a couple of other people there!

When I noticed this beautiful old door, I realized that I should be taking pictures of the doors and windows. So for the rest of the day I concentrated on taking pics of them.

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