Thursday, July 30, 2009


Far from being the magical times described in countless fantasy stories, the medieval era was more remarkable for the savagery displayed by roaming bands of heavily armed bandits and and equally greedy warlords. Many common people were forced off of their land and forced to live in villages for protection from bandits or for extortion by castellans. In many cases, these enclaves were built on the peaks hills. A drive through rural France reveals several of these medieval cities.

Today, these villages leverage their hilltop locations as tourist destinations. La-Roque-sur-Ceze is one of the most picturesque examples. The 3€ parking fee no doubt pays for a good deal of the city's operating expenses. The cobblestone streets are kept immaculately clean, while the homes appear to be kept in order by wealthy artisans. The peak of the hill appears to be a massive private residence - fit for a duke of course.

Another tourist attraction is located down the river, past the one-way-only 12th century stone bridge. Here the Cèze river descends through a series of cascades. Because of the porous bedrock, sharp chasms have been opened up by the falling water. Slightly further down river, more weathered areas of rock result in a series of hydraulic chutes and whirlpools. Although signs warn repeatedly of under-toes and unpredictable water levels, this area is a favorite of fearless kids.

On the day we arrived, the small canyon was teeming with people. Although an approved beach area is located in an official safe area of the river, the waterfalls and canyons hold the most attraction. Next time I'll be wearing my bathing suit too.

View more of my photos of La-Roque-sur-Cèze on flickr.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work by Ken Maschke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.