Like most of Europe, the south of France is in the middle of a hot, dry summer. Three weeks ago there were serious forest fires near the town of Vidauban, and we could see the effects as we drove past on the autoroute two days ago. The forest was completely destroyed right up to the edge of the highway. A few metres more and the gas/petrol station that services the motorway would have gone up in flames too. How demented must you be to start a fire like that intentionally? I’m sure the French authorities will incarcerate the arsonist for a very long time (both before and after his trial!).
It’s so hot in the Var that all serious activity needs to be completed by noon at the latest. Consequently, we haven’t done much since we arrived. We did attend a recital in the village church last night, which was interesting largely because I hadn’t set foot in the church before. It’s a big cavernous room with a vaulted ceiling, and is in serious need of more windows. It was stifling! The church is well known for two reasons:
- the gloire (literally “glory”, but it’s a big wooden carving behind the alter illustrating Christ or sometimes a Saint) is so artistically important that it’s listed as one of France’s national monuments.
- every time the 3rd of May falls on a Friday (i.e. once every 11 years?) huge numbers of pilgrims descend on this small village to walk through the church’s porte du pardon in order to have all their sins instantly forgiven.
I’ll have to make an effort to attend the next pilgrimage in 2013 if I’m to have any hope of making up for lost time.
There’s lots going on in the village at this time of year, so we have made our plans to accomodate the brocante (rummage sale) on Sunday and the bio foire (organic produce fair) next weekend. In the meantime I have cleaned the aquapack, configured the GPS, and calibrated the altimeter in my wrist watch, so I think we’re almost ready to go. If only it would cool down a little!