Sunday, 8 February 2009

Gourdon

Two views of the same place taken from the same viewing place; this is Gourdon "the Saracen" the epitome of Provencal perched villages and classed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. This is where we've just climbed up to and it was worth every step of that uphill walk so now we can stop and admire the panoramic view and browse in some of the shops.

While the present village has obviously been restored, its origins go way back. The rocky spur it perches on was ideal for attack and defence as was recognised by the Romans who built a military enclosure a step away from the village and the spot has been occupied since then.

As in so many of these old towns and villages the place has been taken over by the tourist industry and is full of tourist style boutiques and workshops. This doesn't diminish its charm, of course, and it's possible to visit the old castle, built by the Saracens in the 13 century, occupied by the Tuscans in the 14th and rebuilt in the 17th century if you want a taste of real history. Wandering through the narrow streets full of stone cottages glowing in the sun it's hard to get a sense of how hard life was here in times gone by. For many centuries the track we've just walked up was the only access to the village which gives that quick trip to the supermarket a whole different meaning..

And why the two photos? I took the one above a week ago but I didn't feel it conveyed accurately the height or situation so I popped in an old photo so you could better appreciate its situation.




9 comments:

Jilly said...

So we made it with your lovely walk. As you say, not such a tough one as as the donkey track to Gorbio but all the same, quite steep. I would love to visit this village. Have heard talk of it from other friends in the past. Lovely shots, Angela.

Hilda said...

Wow. The history and the height are impressive! And so are your photos — beautiful shots!

The villages now can now be accessed by cars?

Kate said...

The sky is so clear, and the view is quite remarkable. Makes one wish to visit!!

Catherine said...

I remember Fayence, Vence, or Le Castelet that must look like Gourdon, at the time touristic area and a place of charm because they maintain its architectural particularities. Have a good Sunday, Angela.

Tanya said...

Amazing! And look at the hang glider in the second photo! A great walk with you Angela :)

George said...

Wow! It was definitely worth the hike up here. Thanks for telling us some of the history of this beautiful village. I'm glad you included both pictures.

Janie said...

The first photo is beautiful, but the second one really does convey the height. I enjoyed taking the virtual trip with you.

Babooshka said...

Well worth the walk for the stunning views. So much to area that I have to discover.

Marc said...

Lovely village. The older picture does show its situation very well. Makes me feel like a holiday.