Tuesday, October 6, 2009
An Amazing Playground of Stones
Imagine rough-hewn stone walls crumbling about you, over-grown with trees and bushes sprouting in the middle of what once was a king's bedroom. Down steep cobbled paths beneath, rooms carved into the stone of the hill-side, troglodyte caves that once were homes. Are there hidden passages? The climb up is perilous and steep (particularly in slippery sandals). The views from above magical.
We're in another world, another time. Oppède-le-vieux no longer houses bustling villagers. It is the ruins of a medieval town. The castle on the peak stands witness. The church beside it reveals vibrant painted ceilings, recessed alcoves, crypts beneath the flagstones.
Of all the villages of the Lubéron, this is my favorite. We're rarely dodging a plethora of other visitors. It is truly off the beaten path. Far less chic, barely renovated, it is the poor cousin to the magnificent Gordes. But, for small, scrambling legs, bright eyes and nimble feet, it is a playground bar none. -- And free but for a minimal parking donation.
With Leo and Jonas' close friends and their mom, we climbed under the early fall sun, picnicked amidst the stones, chatted and explored the secret grottos. A drink at a nearby cafe topped off the day.