Don’t irritate the lion!

Many of the lovely villages in my corner of Provence have pretty and evocative place names: Villedieu (God’s town), Faucon (Falcon) and my own village, Mirabel-aux-Baronnies (Beautiful view) are just a few examples.

But Villedieu stands out in a special way, namely by having its own motto, and it isn’t just any motto: Noli irritare leonem, which translates as ‘Don’t irritate the lion’. Not bad for a village with 506 inhabitants. You can see it here, engraved underneath the fighting lion.

But by all means, don’t let this fierce motto deter you from visiting Villedieu, you surely won’t irritate the lion!

I warmly recommend having a drink in the shade of the plane trees on the village square where you can contemplate what life might have been like here in medieval times. What made the inhabitants of this now so peaceful place liken themselves to an irritable lion and who was the enemy?

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