Friday, October 28, 2011

Perched Villages

The view across the valley from Gourdon.
In this part of France there are several perched villages, meaning they are built on top and around the top of a mountain.  It makes them very difficult to get to, impossible to attack, and rarely were they able to be defeated in battle, as long as they had water.  Gourdon is one of the more spectacular sited ones.  The road up is full of switchbacks and very steep.  When you arrive, there is parking lot, as cars are not allowed in the village.  The roads in the village are too narrow for car, anyway!
It really is perched on the side of the mountain.
The day we visited, the combination of fog and smog made the views not as good.  You could still see enough to know it was an amazing vista.  There were several hang gliders floating around enjoying the updrafts.  They certainly looked to be having a great time!

This guy kept flying on the main square showing off for the tourists.

The second village was St Paul en Vence.  It isn't on as high a mountain, or as difficult to drive to.  St Paul is also much bigger.  There was a large church and lots of shopping.  The walk ways were neatly paved and easy to walk.  This village was really geared for tourists to come and spend their money.  Even so, it's a cool place to be.
St Paul en Vence is a larger village and not on as high a hill.

St Paul keeping watch.

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