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22 May 2005 @ 12:00 pm
Séguret and Gigondas: Lacy Cliffs  
I went on holiday to Provence. My base was in Orange, mostly because it has good communications with the Provence hinterland that I was interested in. On my first proper day on this holiday I went first to Séguret, a village perché, and then to Gigondas, a village beneath the Dentelles de Montmirail.

Places: Séguret and Gigondas, Provence, France
Weather: Hot and sunny but with a few showers in early afternoon.
Date: May 22, 2005

The first village I came to was Jonquières. It turned out to be celebrating Fête de la Mère with a street fair. There were re-enactors carding and spinning, the voluntary fire fighters were there, and kids could ride on a cow. Of course there was also lots to eat. I bought some biscuits with anise seed flavour and others with lavender flavour. These shiny boule sets were also sold at the fair.

I stopped on highway D977 and took this photo of the vineyards on the plain with the hills of the Dentelles in the fond. The weather was still sunny at this time.

Perched Village
I stopped again to take this photo of Séguret, showing how it is perched on the hillside. While I was taking the photo a set of vintage cars passed. They really fit into the place. It could have been an old movie set on the Riviera.

Cars are not allowed in Séguret. There are free, public car parks before the entrance to the village. Climbing the stairs and steep streets up to the village itself is hard work in the heat. Here I got the camera out, planning a panoramic shot of the valley below but in the end I felt the dog was more interesting and he seemed to feel the same about me.

In villages and towns in the south of France there are many fountains. This one is the first you come across as you enter Séguret. One of the ubiquitous shops selling nativity figures was opposite. The shop proprietor appeared to be a cuddly, grey cat that bade me welcome.

The village was surprisingly monochrome but I later learnt that most of these villages are. There's only the odd hotel that's stuccoed and painted. In winter these narrow alleys must be very dark and dank no matter what the weather.

Segueret Panorama
The panorama taken by the dog didn't work out but I think this one shows off the countryside beneath Séguret to perfection. The pink valerian, the serried rows of vines, the meandering hedgerows and the hilltop village in the distance are all very typical of this very rural part of Provence.

An unnamed pink rose shows off its perfectly symmetrical flower.

After a rather English meal in one of the few restaurants in Séguret that were open on a Sunday afternoon, I continued to Col du Cayron, east of Gigondas. There I wanted to do walk no. 5 in my book of Provence walks. The book described it as "fairly adventurous" but at this point I didn't yet know why. The first part of the walk was more or less straight up through a layer of scrub and low trees. Here is an example of one of the more impressive trees -- a multi stemmed oak.

Here we're starting to see some of the "stunning views" promised in the guidebook but there is more to come. Dentelles means lace in French although looking at them I wouldn't have been surprised if it meant teeth.

Pointy Cliff
In this photo I'm still in among the trees but I'm starting to appreciate just how steep these cliffs are. In many cases the walls are perfectly vertical.

Dentelles Panorama I
This panorama was taken from the same vantage point as the photo above. There was still rather a lot of cloud in the sky after the showers earlier.

Cliff Wall
Finally up above the trees, I can admire the length of white cliffs called Dentelles Sarrazines stretching out eastwards. I'm going to walk in the other direction when I reach the summit.

This particular cliff formation looks rather a lot like a crown.

Dentelles Panorama II
I felt that the photo didn't do this lofty crown justice, so I created a panorama to show you just how impressive the scenery was here.

Between Cliffs
One more photo looking down into the valley before I descended.

Blue Flower
A close-up of a pretty blue flower that was found almost everywhere in the hills of Provence. According to ericrovve, it's Aphyllanthes monspeliensis.

Dessert at a restaurant in Gigondas. You can see my guidebooks and PDA in the background. Here's the LJ entry that I wrote while having my meal.

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