There is a reason the houses in Provence are all sorts of glorious colors and it’s not because they were painted that way, contrary to my first assumption. The secret is in the ochre.
Ochre is a stone that is found naturally here
The Fairies' Chimneys in the Colorado Provençal of Rustrel
in all sorts of colors, even blue.
This is from the church in Gordes.
We visited Rustrel, which used to be a working quarry, and this is a remaining pipe that used to carry the water necessary to remove the stone.
You can see just how brilliant this ochre is
and how it sullies the pants.
But what’s a little dust between friends when you can be King of the Mountain!
(Here are some gratuitous shots for the grandparents).
Wet-lipped, cross-eyed cuteness. I’m dyin’ over here.
Okay, back to business.
There are whole cities made of this stone.
Roussillon is right next to another abandoned ochre quarry.
and the city is just inundated with ochre – in its walls
This lantern, while pretty, is not made of ochre. The wall behind it is.
- with color
and more color.
Extra points if you know what purpose that curly X on the wall serves. You see it all over France.
My post is getting long, but there is only one more city to cover from our visit to Provence, and since life trips merrily along and posts on other subjects await … I bring you:
Still listed as one of the most beautiful cities in France (as are Roussillon and Ménerbes).
and is a great place to go for souvenirs – lavender, tablecloths, soap, porcelain – all to your heart’s content, and all for next to nothing.
The 18th century church (rebuilt on a 12th century edifice) remained standing through the massive earthquake of 1909, but sustained a noticeable fissure.
And the streets are narrow, steep, full of stone walls and gorgeous architecture. This shot below took forever to get with the tourists coming and going, but entices you with its promise of breathtaking views.
You’ll also find a few reminders here and there that you’re in the south of France.
Finally (to cap things off), this is the restaurant that you have to try when you go
(see trip advisor for reviews)
a meal that was so mouth-watering I wanted to cry like a crocodile with every bite.
Or … maybe it was because I was on a date with the love of my life for the first time in a veeeery long time
in one of the most beautiful cities in France.