Les Baux de Provence is the location of an ancient limestone quarry where stones were cut for the construction of castles and nearby villages. It resulted in an enormous cavern which today has been transformed in to a venue for a fantastic multimedia light show known as Carrières de Lumières. This is an image I took from the show which featured works of the Renaissance masters set to a dramatic soundtrack. It’s a stunning immersive experience and one that moved me profoundly. If you’re in the area you really should check this out.
The town of La Grande-Motte sits along the Mediterranean. All of the buildings were designed by a single architect and convey harmony with the sea and mediterranean sensibilities. I walked around one morning just observing the architecture and sense of theme.
We took the coastal route down the southern end of France. It winded in and out of small fishing villages and switch backed over peaks until we entered Spain. I could easily take a week to explore this region but on this day we were driving to Barcelona. Nonetheless I stopped here just outside of Cerbère which is the last village before entering Spain. Just off camera on the left is a parking space and vista along the side of the road where RVs stop for the night. Not a bad place to stay for the night.
South of Montpellier are swamps in which Flamingos have settled by the thousands. The waters are full of shrimp and other foods preferred by these feathered comedians. There is a highway that runs between Carnon and Palavas and through a swamp where these Flamingos are feeding or sleeping on one leg. This was taken just after sunset one evening as the birds were looking for their final meal before calling it a day.
This little costal town along the French mediterranean has a harbor, restaurants, shops and miles of beaches. It’s no wonder the population grows from eight thousand to one hundred thousand in the summer. It reminds me a little bit of my home in Florida, though only a little. The mediterranean culture and French sensibilities are what make this a unique destination for european vacationers. I was fortunate enough to be here in October when the streets were relatively empty and we could just walk into any restaurant without a wait. For me the experience was indeed unique.
Yesterday we stopped in Collioure which is a French village on the Mediterranean just north of the border with Spain. It’s a lovely little place with views of the sea and many cafes and shops. There is a cathedral right at the edge of the sea and then extending out is a smaller chapel. Perhaps a place to wait or pray for mariners, I’m not really sure. Nonetheless the clouds were dramatic so I captured this as I walked out from the church to the chapel. Once out there the wind was brisk and you would surely lose anything not held tight, yet back in the village there was only a breeze. A perfect place for an afternoon.
Yesterday we attended a form bloodless bull fighting indigenous to southern France known as course camarguaise. Long story short, it’s an elaborate form of tag played between trained athletes. The athletes are both human and bovine and if you are human you don’t want to be tagged by the bull, that would be bad. I had no idea this even existed but the bulls are very well cared for and seem to enjoy chasing the raseteurs (human athletes) around the arena. All in all it was an absolute amazing spectacle, from the agility and speed of the bulls to the outstanding athletic ability of the raseteurs as they flew out of the arena to avoid the bull. Each bull spent about fifteen minutes in the arena after which he trotted back to his pen, in some cases quite proud of himself. Here is a Wikipedia if you are interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullfighting#French
The other day I was walking around the streets of old Montpellier in the afternoon. Is was a fun thing to do but towards the end of the day it started to rain. For most people that poses an inconvenience but for me it increases the possibilities for photos because of the reflections on the ground and reactions of people. Here I am walking back to a parking garage behind a couple of ladies sharing an umbrella. I ended up soaked to the bone but was pretty happy with some of the images. I was also glad I had a warm jacket in the car to change into.
Speaking of rain, I had this photo sitting in the hopper for a while. I was testing out a little plastic bag over my camera to use in the rain. So I went out to the front of my house and took pictures of the raindrops in the gutter. Maybe not as interesting as France, but fun nonetheless. Sometimes I wonder what the neighbors must think.
In the last few days I went from Canada to Florida and then to here in southern France. That’s a lot of time sitting on planes and such and so the very first thing I did to decompress and stretch my legs was take a stroll along this Mediterranean beach. The water is crystal clear and refreshing and the sound of the waves was just what I needed to set the world straight again.