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Friday, September 10, 2010

Tourrettes sur Loup, Gourdon, & Coursegoules

Tourrettes sur Loup

Talk about history, this little village of Tourrettes Sur Loup has it.  It was built on a rocky outcrop overlooking the French Riviera.  You can literally see the coast from the village.  It is also is one of the most beautiful we have visited of what are called the "perched" villages of the rolling backcountry of the Côte d’Azur. 

The village is fortified as a semi-circle off the main road, surrounding a huge 15th century castle. These perched villages all have a few things in common; their  water souce, fountains that you can fill your water bottle with; a central concrete water trough where the women in times past washed clothes, a church, high walls, and a lord and master over them during medievel times. Tourrettes has preserved its picturesqueness: steep cobblestone streets and stone-built houses which all add great character to the city.

While it is is known as a medievel village today, in earlier times it was invaded by every barbarian who ever set foot in France. The villagers were no match against the unrelentless onslaught of Visigoths, Huns, Francs and Lombards until the 5th century. It was then the turn of the Saracens to invade and occupy.  They stayed in control until the Medievel Period. And if invasions and wars weren't enough to cope with Tourrettes had to put up with the Black Plague for 70 years beginning in 1463.

After the Wars of Religion (1562-1598) followed by the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714) then the War between Austria and England (1744-1748) one would have hoped for a little peace and serenity to come to Tourrettes - but it was still not to be.

The Marquis de Villeneuve families had held onto this their private kingdom until 1789 when the French Revolution suddenly erupted. The last Marquis, Joseph César de Villeneuve, fled for his life as the villagers stormed his Château. He barely escaped via a secret passageway under the village and into the countryside. He managed to get to Vintimille (Italy) where, unfortunately, he was recognized and put to death.

That's enough history.   The weather was gorgeous on our visit to Tourrettes.  We walked around town until MA, Nola and Randy decided to leave me and the Nikkon on our own for awhile. We met up back at the town square and had lunch (2 hours).  Afterward, I went back into this medievel village and took some more photos.

We left Tourrettes and drove down a little ways and then around and into a deep gorge.  I looked up and saw a village way up on top of another mountain and said something about it.  Randy said, "Yes, it's Gourdon; that's where we're headed."

I thought these other villages were high up, but Gourdon, was still higher at 2,000 feet above sea level.  Again we walked around, I took some photos of some really neat stuff and we decided to drive to Nola and Randy's home in yet another village: Coursegoules.

On the way it started raining with some hail thrown in so we just went inside, had snacks and some Quiche Lorraine while Nola and MA continued down memory lane. One is never without something to eat we've discovered, but all the walking makes up for that!  Coursegoules the village would have to wait for another visit. 

We did meet Lulu and Gabby, their two cats.  After a professional photo session of the cats for Nola, they got us back back to Vence and the Hotel Diana. Two more days in this beautiful, beautiful place and we head for Venice, Italy. Don't know if it'll be quite the same without Nola and Randy!  Later!

1 comment:

  1. Wayne/MA,

    What great little villages and a very tough history in at least one of them. The picture at the top of this post appears to have some leaning buildings - true or an illusion?

    Thanks for the update - looks like the comment feature is back to normal. Let's see how this post works.

    Have a God blessed and safe day - dave b.


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