Wednesday, 19 December 2012


Simon took us to a few places near St Paul.  One was the commune (town) of Grignan.  He was devastated that it no longer looked like the calender photo.   They had harvested their lavender crop since he'd last been.  

I wasn't likely to go picking armloads anyhow.  It's obviously part of their business.  Besides, I had half a dozen lavender plants in my front garden, awaiting my return.

The cemetery monuments were enormous and, as one would expect from a place so long inhabited, numerous.  In fact, there are records of the Grignan family going back to 1050, but also evidence that the hill was occupied during the Iron and Bronze ages, also by the Romans.

In the 1200's, the Grignan family lost possession of their castle and it was taken by the Adhémar family of Monteil.  

Under the Adhémars of Grignan, the castle became even more imposing.

Son and father shot.  Great views from the castle.

That name, Adhémar, came up another day, though at the time I knew nothing about them and their association with Grignan.

This row of baby cypress trees will be impressive one day.
Besides the obvious age of the town, there was an incredible amount of architecture that grabbed me.  

Like this row of impressive beech trees, I think Bill said they were.
I've spared you endless doors, lanterns, roof tiles.  

The public baths, between the cemetery and the town.

If I ever figure out how to get notecards printed with my photos, I'll be in business!  

That bird cage was v. tempting, until I remembered how full our house is already.

Some photos, however, were not meant to be. 


For one, I needed to keep up with the guys and not keep them hanging about too long, though Bill was shooting his own souvenirs.  

Pedestrian traffic was perfectly timed to ruin a photo.

For another, there were loads of other people around a tourist in t-shirts and shorts just doesn't improve a photo of an ancient monument / door / wall.


Sometimes I could get a photo I could crop and play with, other times I gave up after a dozen shots.  


Never mind, this is not exactly a major tragedy.  

Grignan seems to feel its greatest claim to fame is a woman who wasn't even a resident but only visited a few times.  Her statue is in the town square and the large red plume painted on the clock tower is reference to her.  Madame de Sévigné's daughter was married to François Adhémar de Monteil, comte de Grignan (in fact the last Count of Grignan).  

Madame de Sévigné wrote such witty, vivid letters to her daughter and to others that she is an icon of French literature.  Even I have heard of her. Perhaps one day I'll read her letters, available online here.

However, it probably isn't Madame de Sévigné I will first remember  when I think about Grignan.  For me, the public bath is an iconic vision.  

Also, somewhere we found a grafitti covered placard discussing the association in Grignan of "old stone and ancient roses", roses cultivated from the 16th century up until 1914 (the beginning of the first World War).  

Yet another example of how the 'Great War' changed life in Europe.


Carolyn said...

What a stunningly beautiful town! Looks like the weather is quite beautiful there too :)

Boywilli said...

Anonymous said...

Shelly your comment was right on the money, I called my mum this morning still fretting and she said" buy what you loved most, stop putting me into an early grave!" I have been over thinking!

Beryl said...

What an interesting town. You make me want to visit. Have you ever brewed tea from your lavender buds? My daughter served it to me the last time I saw her.

Rick Stone said...

Sounds like you need a good version of Photoshop. Then you could completely remove those "nasty" tourist from your pictures. :-)
I use Photoshop on many of the pics I take out in the cemeteries before posting them to Find A Grave. Usually it is my own shadow that I'm having to remove from the pics, depending on the time of day and where the sun is when I take the pictures.

Shelley said...

Carolyn - Hearing the wild wind and rain outside now, it's almost heart-breaking to remember how perfect the weather was in France. Then again, there was that Mistral, so it does have drawbacks.

Tabitha - I love that your mom is 90 and thinks it would be an 'early grave'! She sounds like fun!

Beryl - No, I haven't but I definitely will try it. I know that lavender is an edible herb, but haven't ever seen a recipe that uses it. There's a challenge for 2013!

Rick - I doubt I'll be spending money on Photoshop, but I do enjoy using sites like picmonkey now and then.