Our Vacation Rental Homes in Sablet, Provence

Sablet Village, Vaucluse, Provence, France
Maison des Pelerins and La Baume des Pelerins, or "les Pelerins" as we affectionately refer to our dream come true, of owning our own homes in Provence, are located in the heart of the Vaucluse. We thoroughly enjoy hearing from our guests to "les Pelerins" that they feel they are spending time in their own home in Provence. To be a part of village life, Sablet is the perfect place. "Les Pelerins" dates back to the time when the Popes administered the Catholic Church from Avignon, with a Papal Vice-Legat having a residence right here in Sablet. Our neighbor's home was the Vice-Legat's residence. Ours was one of the buildings that housed visitors and pilgrims and was connected to it, as we can see from the internal portals, and the front door of Maison des Pelerins. Hence the name - Pelerins is French for pilgrims. I hope this Blog will help you get to know Provence and live your Provencal Dream.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fireworks in Monteux - Provence

 The time:  10pm …… the place:  the sports field in the village of Monteux, Provence, France ............  
    “Bonsoir Mesdames, bonsoir Mesdemoiselles, bonsoir Messieurs,”  the narrator’s voice boomed out over the very large open air sports field, where we had found a small patch of ground to park our folding chairs … along with about forty-three thousand of our closest friends from the village and beyond!  It was time …….
    The narrator continued, “…. The village of Monteux is happy to welcome you to our traditional fireworks display which takes place every August.  We hope to help you spend an excellent evening.”
    “True to our tradition of the art of fireworks and this theatre, this evening we propose a voyage on a theme:  ‘Lilix, Princesse de Vix’.  The voyage is going to take is to the home of the Gaulles, to Vix in Burgundy, during the 6th Century AD.”
    “So, Mesdames et  Messieurs ….. our virtual spaceship will soon be taking off,……. Prepare yourself to depart, …… attach your seatbelts,  forget everything, I said forget everything, ….let your imaginations go free, ….. let yourself be transported by the magic of the evocation pyrotechnique!”
                        The official "affiche" publicising the 2009 "Feu d'Artifice"

    Yes, another hot August night in Provence….. and this is one of the best known fireworks displays in France.   How did we come to be here? Earlier that week,  we had bumped into our neighbor and friend, Père Pierre the curé in Sablet.  Of course we stopped to say, “Bonjour” and have a little chat.   He asked us, “Are you free on Friday night?” “yes,” we said.  He told us about the “grand spectacle” of the “feu d’artifice”  in Monteux.  He said he would be meeting his niece and family there and invited us to join them.  He didn’t need to ask twice!  Our first experience with a  choreographed fireworks display had been in the delightful seaside village of Cassis in the early 1980’s.  We had thoroughly enjoyed it and so were very much looking forward to seeing another.
    On the appointed evening, we had arranged to all have an early dinner in our courtyard and leave by 8.30pm for Monteux, with folding chairs at the ready.  On the drive, Père Pierre told us that it would be best to park on the outskirts of the village …. “and be sure to turn the car around, towards getaway direction!”  We followed his directions and parked what turned out to be about 3 kilometers away from the sports field, and joined the growing procession of fireworks lovers, on our pilgrimage to an adventure.  On arrival, we were faced with a sea of people and the challenge was to find a good spot from which to view the show – no problem, even in a crowd, everyone was in good humor and made room.   Ready!  As the sun started to set,  excitement mounted  ….. until the announcer boomed out over the PA system and  for the next 45 minutes we would be on a journey “de la pyrotechnie, extraordinaire”.
    The countdown started….. 10…..9….8 …… 7……………….. etc., ”c’est parti!” Liftoff!   For several seconds bright light beams criss-crossed the skies above us, creating the ambience of travelling in a spaceship…. The narrator  guided us on our virtual journey through the skies over the cities between Monteux and Vix …. Bollene,  Montelimar, Lyon…on and on until he commanded,
                                                                                     “Stop! We’re here!”

      Our eyes were transfixed on the heavens and we were mesmerized by what we saw and heard……..  we watched the changing moods of the light and sound displays as they proceeded from act to act – from the tears of despair to the force of battle and joyful bursts of celebration,  detailing the story of Lilix, the young, recently widowed princess  of Vix, a community rich in precious metals and well situated on a commercial route, that was the envy of communities around them. Most envious of all the people of Arverne, a much less well endowed area, but none the less the area that was home to Lilix, before she married the now deceased Prince of Vix.  From the heavy and dramatic opening scene of Lilix and her mentor Myrdinn forced to decide if she would go to war, in order to repel the invasion by the Avernes  (her  friends and family),  then their victory as the result of a well planned  and executed surprise early morning attack, followed  by the shrewd decision by the leader of the Avernes  -   suggesting  that a marriage between the Princess of Vix and one of the handsome young warriors of Averne would be a better way to create peace and prosperity for both communities.  Lilix of course, was at first conflicted by the idea, and again sought the counsel of Myrdinn who in his wisdom recommended  the marriage and seven days of great festivities to celebrate.  The fireworks exquisitely illustrated the story.
    As the last spectacular burst of fireworks lit up the sky and Lilix and her new husband headed off to live happily ever after, the crowd sat completely enthralled,  wishing the show wouldn’t stop, but glad to have the happy ending.  Applause broke out – loud and long lasting, appreciation of the outstanding artistry was clearly evident by attendance and reaction.  As the crowd started to move, we were still talking about the wonderful spectacle we had just seen – the combination of storyline, music and superb pyrotechnics was magnificent and definitively “for –mi –dable!”
    Spirits were high and excitement was still in the air as we gathered our belongings, refolded the chairs and started to make for the outskirts of town where the getaway vehicle awaited us.  The exit was much slower than our entry to the stadium.  Many other vendors and shows had started up as the fireworks ended and were taking advantage of the crowd flowing through the village.  Reaching the middle of the village, we were starting to see the wisdom of Père Pierre’s parking recommendation as we watched cars jostling to try to get out of the parking lot and get away on the narrow village roads.  That little village parking lot and the surrounding roads look very much like the A7 Autoroute heading south on the last week end in July!  We chatted, having fun as we walked and walked until we reached the outward facing car, on the outskirts of the village well beyond the “circulation bouché”. 
    At sometime past midnight we drove back into our by now quiet little village of Sablet – still heaping praise on Père Pierre for his brilliant and extremely generous invitation to us,  in sharing his friends, his family and this very memorable evening with us. 


The blog above is from the 2009 "Feu de Monteux".  This Year's Feu de Monteux carries the theme:
"Avec Toi - la Libertie" - With You - There's Liberty"  a tribute to the United States - going back to the end of the 19th Century and onwards.  The fireworks will take you on a voyage down the road to liberty.  

If you are in Provence on Friday August 26th - head to the sports field in Monteux - get there early - even though the show does not start until 10pm - take a picnic dinner and stake out a good spot - This display of fireworks is one show -  not to be missed!
The beautiful 2011 "affiche" is below.

"Affiche" -  Poster 
Remember - Friday August 26th,2011 - at the Sport Field ("Stade") in Monteux, Provence

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