I have had little time to visit other blogs lately. So sorry! Some travels, a number of friends around… I will try to improve, but the coming week looks also largely “booked”.
So, I was in the south of France, in the Provence area for a couple of days. I have already from previous visits blogged about Arles, Camargue… This time I thought I would add something about what is today a little village with few inhabitants but many visitors, Les Baux-de-Provence.
Les Baux is situated on a rocky beginning of a plateau, dominating the surroundings and has thanks to this strategic situation been inhabited since thousands of years. The name of the village in the old local language referred to a cliff. … and Les Baux has later given the name to bauxite – the ore of aluminum, which was first discovered and exploited in the surrounding mountains in the beginning of the 19th century.
During the Middle Ages, Les Baux became the stronghold controlling the majority of the surrounding cities and villages; a fortress was built during the 11th and 13th centuries and the princes of Baux controlled the whole of Provence during a long period. A lot of fighting about this strategic site took place. The fortress which also became a castle was renowned for a highly cultured court and chivalry until the 15th century, when the last Princess of Baux died and finally Les Baux was attached to the Crown of France, lost its importance and was more or less abandoned. In 1642, the village was offered to the Grimaldi family as a marquisate and Prince Albert still carries the title of Marquis de Baux. … and today Les Baux survives largely as a tourist attraction.
First a general view of the village with the ruins of the fortress on the top and some views of the surroundings.
Some further views of the village with its narrow alleys, old buildings, chapels…
… and some from the ruins of the fortress, castle, where stairs and some rooms still can be seen carved into the rocks.
When you the see the nearby valley, named “Val d’Enfer” (Valley of Hell), today looking extremely attractive and housing some of the French best hotels and restaurants, it’s surprising to learn that - with its white limestone rock formations - it obviously once inspired Dante to describe the Hell (Inferno) in his Divine Comedy, here illustrated by Botticelli.