Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A town in the sky...

Cordes sur Ciel, the town in the sky...... looking a bit more down to earth on a sunny day in August!
We chose our wonderful little campsite because of its proximity to Cordes, which is a defended medieval town high up on a hill.
The town was built so defensively because it was created by the heretic Cathar counts of Toulouse (are you remembering your 'Labyrinth', ladies?). It thrived as a wealthy Cathar centre for commerce and art, well beyond the tragic events described in Labyrinth.
It grew very quickly, with the first castle-wall becoming obsolete as more and more houses and shops were built outside the wall, so that a second, more inclusive castle-wall, was later built around the whole town.
Thus, when you climb up, you go through a series of gateways. This one was called the Clock Gate, of course,
and next to it was this Clock Shop - belonging to a clock restorer who specialises in a traditional form of brass French clock, and who spent a happy time showing Son 1 how they all worked. It was lovely to see a specialist who wanted to share his enthusiasm with younger people. He pronounced Son 1 a clockmaker's apprentice!
Both on the way up and inside the main town area, there are many, many shops run by artists and artisans.
Painted banners flutter throughout the whole town.
But sculpture was the most obvious art-form, even before we started our climb.
Son 2 and I are pretty certain this bagpipe-playing chair-man is, in fact, Beaker from the Muppet Show.Son 1 says that these are NOT proper Greek Mythology. Humph.
After a good wander round (curtailed by a certain resistance towards looking round old towns from the boys!), we started back down the hill roads.
The boys found the gradient...
... a lot more fun on the way down!
Ben and I really wanted to see some more, so we all went back the following evening for a walk around the back streets and a meal.
We chose different routes up and were rewarded with lots of interesting sights.
Since the middle of the 20th century, Cordes has been refurbished and a lot of money has gone into doing up individual houses by those who are interested in its history and in the art and music of its current life. We did see some houses still in a very battered state, and I was very interested to meet a mum from MOPS at the Sunday Vide Grenier, who told me that she and her husband were doing up one of the ruined houses there! Wow...
We enjoyed a meal in a town-centre restaurant and then headed back down hill by yet another route.

A town in the sky...

12 comments:

marigold jam said...

Thanks for the memories! I have been there and have many happy memories of sunny summer holiday days climbing the steep sloping streets in Cordes.

Jane

carol at home said...

What a lovely, lovely place.

Sue at Dollytub Cottage said...

What a lovely place. Thanks for sharing it with us! SueXXX

Marianne said...

Hi Floss. Nice to meet you - lovely photos. I was in Cordes last October when we took a holiday in the area - staying at Puycelsi - so you know it? Cordes is one of my favourite places when I visit South West France. Enjoy you holiday.

Elizabethd said...

We loved visiting Cordes though it was many years ago.

Green thumb said...

Hello Floss!
I visited a Medieval village too last weekend, it's great to see how different is the French style though, thank you for sharing!

Jane and Chris said...

I love the photograph of the blue shutters against the green climbing leaves!
I cannot imagine trudging up all those hills with bags of shopping! (Unless there is a back route where cars are allowed?)
Jane

Lorrie said...

Just lovely. Walking in the evening with your sweetheart in an old medieval French town - what could be more romantic?

Marianne said...

Hello again Floss
I've left a reply on my page so pop back if you have a moment.

Sarah said...

When I stayed in the Sth of France years ago we went to a place that reminds me of the photos. It was also high up and beautiful as well. It must have been stunning at night walking around the village. What a wonderful experience.

FeltLikeStitchin said...

What a beautiful town, so much character! I'd love to explore France one day:)

A Bun Can Dance said...

Such a beautiful place!
I am very fond of hill top medieval towns, my favourite being in a remote part of Italy, surrounded as far as the eye can see by colourful farmland - aaahhhh! I do miss that place, but visit often in my mind and heart.
Thank you again for sharing, Floss, I feel as if I've just had a mini holiday (it is raining so heavily outside I can hardly hear myself think!!)
D x