We stayed in a tiny hilltop village called Clansayes. In the Middle Ages it had been a fortress of the Knights Templar. After the expulsion of the Knights Templar, the village fell into decline, but in recent years the abandoned stone houses built into the hillside have been bought and renovated. It is a very charming place. My hosts drove me down to the nearby town of Saint Paul Trois Chateaux, another very picturesque place dating back to medieval times. It was market day in the town square, and, in spite of my lack of French, I was able to buy several bars of locally made lavender soap as gifts for friends back home.
Looking down to the Rhone River valley from the hilltop village of Clansayes
The remains of the Knights Templar fortress atop the hill at Clansayes.
The statue of the Virgin Mary was a much later addition.
A typical street in Clansayes
Fields of lavender were everywhere, although the peak of the blooms had passed.
The charming town of Saint Paul Trois Chateaux.
The tower of its medieval cathedral is in the background.
The market in Saint Paul Trois Chateaux
Street scenes in Saint Paul Trois Chateaux
After a short visit in this delightful corner of Provence, it was soon time to hit the road again. Next stop... Othmarsingen, Switzerland, the home of the Swiss branch of my family.