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.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Elvis Still Rocks in Provence!

... And I do believe that "rocks" are what's it's all about here.  Doing the "accidental tourist" thing, we found ourselves in the Baronnies - outside the Vaucluse (the "Departement" where our village of Sablet is located) - in the Drome. The trip up into the rocky range and valleys of the Baronnies started as a trip to the Bricomarche (Hardware Store) in Vaison la Romaine to pick up a few supplies.  What had slipped our attention was that it was "Toussaint" Nov 1 - All Saint's Day - a public holiday - so the Bricomarche wasn't open!

Elvis still rocks in Provence!
We could have gone back "a la Maison", but on the way to the Brico I had commented that there was still some snow (after an October snowfall) on a hill ... way over there ... so ... we decided to go find this hill!

From Vaison la Romaine we took the Route de Nyons, past the town of Nyons along  the two lane D94 - a road that runs along the valley floor beside the Eygues River, up into the rocky terrain of the Baronnies where olives grow so well and and rock climbers find no end of new adventures.

A drive on the D94 beside the River Euyges in the rocky Baronnies

The ship shaped rock with a cross at its bow - St May looks out across the valley of the River Euyges 
About 20 km out of Nyons,  we noticed an interesting rock shaped protruding out at right angles to the rest of the hills, looking somewhat like a narrow ship with a saddle in the middle, but a definite bow that protruded out with a large cross on its point. The point reached almost to the river. As we got closer, we noticed that the "ship" had some houses built on it - too good a chance to visit an interesting place.

Along the road, the Cafe Rocher - turn left here, cross the bridge and climb
 the hill to get to St May
Once you turn left at the Cafe Rocher, this is the bridge you cross to take the road up the hill to St May.  Note the rock stratification that you see on the other side of the river under the bridge.  The rock strata throughout this Eygues River Gorge are dramatically folded and contorted varying considerably along the route  in color and pattern.
The name of this village we soon learned is St. May and access to it is from a bridge across the Eygues River (at the Cafe Rocher on the main road) and up a very curly road.  On the way up we noted that it was a little past lunchtime and we should probably stop at the Cafe Rocher (Rock Cafe!?) for lunch and decided to do it on the way back.

The rustic church occupies a central place in the perched village of St May

One of a few streets in St May with the backdrop of a towering rock so typical of this area 
St May was indeed a very interesting little village of a few hundred inhabitants who lived in houses built into the side of the ship shaped hill.  Apart from a couple of streets, and a church in the "square" entry to all other houses were from a street or streets of steps - the main one climbing up to the "bow" where we saw the cross.

Many of the houses in this village are accessed from "streets of steps"
that lead to the "bow" of this ship shaped hill
Climbing... and more steps through the arch ...
Still climbing .. but look down the steps that branch off to the  left...
 and there's the door to a house
.... and another down its own branch of steps
More climbing until ....
you are at the gates ...
That street of steps was quiet a climb, and when we did reach the "bow" we found that the cross is a marker for village cemetery which given the day, was filled with large bouquets of Chrysanthemums.

Inside the gates and it's Nov 1st - All Saint's Day 
While we were there, many family members came by to leave more flowers at the graves of their loved ones. As I recall I did comment quietly, (while stopping to catch my breath on one of the steps),  that it was so nice the villagers wanted their loved ones to go to heaven - but I never would have thought of carrying them up there!

Looking down on the rooftops of St May from the Cross
Having had as much aerobic exercise as we could handle for a day, we carefully trekked back to where the car was parked and made our way back down the hill, across the river.  Lunchtime!

Back at the Cafe Rocher - lunchtime!
Annex to the Cafe - across the road provides seating for guests during the
 busy summer season
Cafe Rocher looks very typical of many little Provencal cafes while out driving, and the Hostess was very welcoming when we entered.  She told us that they didn't have a full menu that day (it was quite far out of the "season"), but they would be glad to make us a Sandwich - ham and cheese - sounded great - especially with a cool glass of local Rose to go with it.

Elvis alert!
When we stepped into the dining room, I noticed a large picture of Elvis on the wall facing us and thought, "how nice - they're Elvis fans", then we noticed another larger dining area with more Elvis memorabilia ... a very large statue of Elvis, more pictures, etc etc.

It wasn't until we met the owner however, who brought us our drinks and sandwiches, that we realized just how much influence Elvis had on this little Cafe - first, we noticed he was wearing an "Elvis" T-shirt - then looked up and saw his Elvis hair! He seemed to be very pleased that we noticed how much like Elvis he looked, and after a short, pleasant conversation, left us to enjoy our sandwiches and wine ... all to the sound of Elvis's "You Aint Nothing But A Hound Dog".

That was a very pleasant although totally unexpected "find" way out in the hills of Provence - the little village was such a treasure - almost like it had been untouched by time.  The Cafe was fun - the Host and Hostess very welcoming and friendly and they served us a simple but very delicious lunch.

I guess there's more than one meaning to the name "Cafe Rocher"! If you find yourself out on the D94 near the area, I would definitely recommend a stop at the the Cafe that rocks!

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