A common feature of Romanesque churches in south-central France is the bell gable. These constructions may have stacked rows of “eyes” in other regions, but in south central France, I have never seen any. All the ones pictured here are single level. While these gables may have 4 or more eyes on a single row, the eyes are not all necessarily equipped with bells. Continue reading “Bell gables”
Chabrolieres : at the low end of a valley near the Vivarais Corniche, and just before the river flows into a ravine. With a little footwork and some navigation, you can end up staring up at an imposing but ruined Cistercian barn. No signposts, no information panels, no real road to get here and no roof on the barn. The building has lasted for centuries, but probably not much longer. The walls are too tall to stay standing with no roof to prevent water seepage. Continue reading “Chabrolières”
Near Florac in the Cévennes Causse region on the southwest flanc of Mount Lozère, one peak – the Puecheral – stands out from the others. On this day, the hike starts from Bedouès. In thick fog we set out for the summit at a modest 1000 m altitude. Fifteen kilometres in the fog can be very demotivating, but we hope for the best.
Ninety minutes out, the fog lifts, or rather the fog ceiling drops and we are suddenly in brilliant sunlight. Emerging from the gloom, we witness a spectacle of nature experienced only by those who take time to hike in the mountains. Valley floors of the Tarn, the Tarnon and tributaries covered in white fog, but peaks and plateaus in such intense light the eyes almost hurt. This is wintertime, so the low angle midday sun provides sidelit contrasts that are only visible a few months of the year. Continue reading “On the Puecheral”