The December afternoon light in southern France is pure gold. You don’t believe me? Take a look and then tell me if I’m wrong.
There was certainly very little excitement during the hour-long walk this afternoon on the road from Vinsobres to Venterol (I walked only a very small part of the 8 kilometers, it takes time to take a walk with a camera in your hand when there are photo opportunities all around you all the time):
- I met one car with a wild driver trying his best to splash as much water and mud as possible from the only puddle on the road
- I met one “utility car” from the commune with a smiling driver behind the wheel
- Then there were two more cars, one in each direction
- I met a man on a scooter
- I met two very friendly ladies who wished me luck with my photos
- I heard a dog barking furiously from a distance. As I approached I saw a very friendly-looking tail-wagging little creature behind a fence. I would have liked to make friends with him/her, but the fence was in the way.
As I turned around to stroll back, a silvery tint blended with the gold.
It was a meditative walk.
On an average day, about 2 people or so pass by in our street in Mirabel-aux-Baronnies. On 15 August this number grew tremendously: at least 75 people, some with dogs (I know, because the visiting dogs caught the attention of the neighbouring resident dogs), strolled up or down the 50 metres of narrow path. Now why?? The yearly Village Fête, of course: day-long festivities with flea market stands all over the village, wine tasting, band music, food stalls and more wine tasting.
Our neighbour tried to sell her very nice santons (traditional Provençal figures for Christmas cribs, see photo above), but there was no interest at all in those. Old, possibly scratched, LP albums fared better, and I saw a lady happily trying on one of those hippie sheepskin vests that were popular in the 60s, in spite of the doubtful state of cleanliness of said vest.
Guitar player: Are there any foreigners here?
Voice 1: Yes! I’m from the UK!
Me: I’m from Sweden!
Voice 2: And we’re from Piégon!
Piégon? That’s the village just next door, a mere kilometer from Mirabel-aux-Baronnies. The exchange above took place at an aperitif concert (very nice!) with the semi-local band Bluesville (from San Francisco and Belgium, but reportedly with connections to Mirabel) in the new local art centre, X Inspirations. I’m very proud that there is an art centre in our tiny village.
Most exciting animal spotted on the way to Rosans, about an hour to the east of Mirabel: vulture. Yes, it is true. Vultures were reintroduced in this mountainous area, where the Alps make a timid start.
Number of inhabitants spotted in the medieval village centre (where the houses were clearly inhabited): zero.
Number of abandoned red fluorescent chairs seen: one.
There were interesting stairways, leading to heaven and to locked doors. There was an eerie metallic sound that could be heard all over the village. What it was I don’t know.
Number of tourists encountered: four. They were Spanish.
Number of abandoned cafés: one. Number of lively cafés: one.
Best artist in the village: Marion Richaume, ceramist, inspired by the tree of life. Her atelier is named after the moon.