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Medieval Villages – France


“History is written by the winners.” A quote we’re all familiar with. But, ya know what? It ain’t necessarily so. Who does History remember more – Joan of Arc? Or the blue meanies who invited her to be the guest of dis-honor at her own bar-b-que?

You’ve seen this Movie before

OK – every countries History is full of stuff like this. Because History has always been, and will always be: Kings, Queens, Love, War, Intrigue, Poverty, Oppression and a Revolution or two. History is a spontaneous stew of “the best of times, the worst of times.” All the ingredients for a great action/adventure movie.

You don’t know Squat

And precisely BECAUSE it was’nt our reality, we fantasize about/glamorize those eras in the past, that speak to us  across time. One of the most appealing seems to be one that, for the folks who had to live it, was nothing to blog about. The Middle Ages.(Le Moyen Age) Medieval Life, dear reader. The stuff of very rich and very poor. No equality for either sex. (“Workin’ for the man every night and day.”) Not to mention – decimated TWICE in 100 years by the Bubonic plague.( check out Daniel Defoe’s – ” A Journal of The Plague Year.” This, not  the gay, alcoholic, drug users’ -“In Cold Blood” was THE first non-fiction novel.)

Medieval Legacy

Happily, something good did come out of the Middle Ages. Architecture. And France done got it in spades. Waaaay too many  goodies for me to rant about in this space. So, today, i’m gonna hip ya to three that, for me, resonate with the authentic atmosphere of “Le Moyen Age.”(and, would’nt ya know it, there’s great wine in all three!)


Say it just the way it looks – pez-in-ass. Get out yer map o’ France. Go right down the middle, ’til ya hit Avignon. Then head your eyeballs left to Montpellier. (“mon-pell-yea”) 30 or so kms. SW you’ll find Pezenas.

Obviously, like any village with a rad and gnarly Medieval History(and isn’t that the best kind?) Pezenas has been “touristated” to a certain extent. But in a cutsey, “medieval home accessories”way.

Other than that, Pezenas retains a large part of it’s Historical authenticity. As you stroll through it’s streets, there is a genuine sense of being transported to, and immersed in another time. Full of atmosphere, calm, and, lucky for you, no plague!

What’s up with This?

There is, dear reader, one mystery for me in Pezenas. The statue of the playwright Moliere.

Normally, a statue is hommage to a native son who has gone on to greater glories in the world outside Smallville. Like the statue of George Brassens in Sete.Or the bronze of Paco de Lucia in Algcerias. But Moliere was born in Paris. His professional career was centered in Paris. He died in Paris.(on stage, acting in his own play “The Imaginary Invalid.” ) So – HOW is Moliere connected to Pezenas? He zoomed down for a weekend of r ‘n r? As do modern Parisians.He bought Costumes there? Parchment? Quills for his pen? WWWhat? If ya got the lowdown, please share it with the assembled multitude. Throw me a bone here people!


Alrighty then! After luxuriating in the Medieval delights of Pezenas, it’s time to shuffle on down to the other side of the Med., past Avignon, Marseille, Toulon, etc, until  roughly 20 kms. before Nice(also worth a visit for it’s “Old Town”) you hit “Can -ya-sir-mare.” But wait – you don’t want this one. The one “sur le Mer.” Head up the narrow snakey streets to the “Vieux Cagnes.” (The “Old Town”) Da BG suggests wandering spontaneously through them there streets at night. You’ll have only wild cats for company.

The Real Deal

Refreshingly, with the exception of a small Hotel or two, there’s nothing “touristated” about Le Vieux Cagnes. Here, especially at night,the stone streets bear silent witness to the struggle, courage and perseverance of Cagne’s Medieval ancestors.

Not for the Agraphobic

After a good nights sleep, descend to the seafront and head to Nice. As I said, well worth visiting it’s old town, especially if you happen to hit a market day. Whether or not you stop in Nice, keep heading east, in the direction of Monaco……soon you’ll will be drolling over the hilltop village of Eze. 3000 metres above the blue, blue Med.( 1 metre = 3 ft) Fair warning – Eze is the most “tourisated” of these three Medieval gems.( A four star Hotel, guest houses, souvenir shops, re-cobbled cobblestone streets) but – in spite of all this – well worth a visit.

Enough to get ya started?


What are ya thinkin’?


Source by Christopher Strong

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