Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Good Witch


The elderly lady, her hair spun of cobwebs, leaned in on her walking stick and didn't miss a beat. "The Chapelle de St. Martin? Down the hill, " she pointed a finger like a scythe, "past the wine co-operative and take a left. It's about two hundred meters." Ok then. We twisted through the tiny village of St. Victor Lacoste, unconsciously holding our breath at certain turns as if we were sucking in the belly of the car for it to pass, then being spit back out onto the plains with nothing in sight. Save for a tower, surpassing the tops of the cypress trees. 


For that is all that is left. A lopsided pile of cream stone, pockmarked and bitten by a hard history. "How old is this?" I asked Remi as we pulled ourselves out of the car and into the still, still air. "One thousand years." He too didn't miss a beat. A carved plaque explained the tip of the iceberg historical facts. The original chapel was consecrated in roughly 1050. A castle was built by Count Rostand de Sabran (I don't have a clue who that is but am in love with his name. Say it out loud, you won't regret it) in the 10th century but was torn down in 1223 by the order of King Louis VIII. In earlier times, the village was known as Ad Victorium Sanctorum, which means that as usual, the Romans picked the good spots first, especially those blessed with an underground spring (more on that soon). 


Considering its previous rack and ruin, the lieu was so peaceful that I immediately felt at peace. A deep peace that replaced the chipped chatter running on a loop behind my eyes with the rustle of one brave almond tree in bloom. Just one but with enough blooms to perfume the scene with such utter sweetness.





Neither of us wanted to leave and so we stayed.



The Chapelle de St. Martin, as little of it remained, became in my mind, a sort of Good Witch to banish the gloom of the Haunted village that had held us in thrall. Just replace Glenda's glittery gown with pink petals and revel in the coming of spring.





24 comments:

  1. Hello Heather:
    Oh, what a wonderful, romantic place steeped in a thousand years of history. How we should have loved to have been there too, sensing the atmosphere, lingering in the stillness, savouring the silence.

    Such places are, we feel, most certainly restorative and do help to give one a sense of peace which, all too often, the clamour of the world fails to provide.

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  2. Yes, our world is chaotic but I thoroughly imagine that both your apartment in Budapest and your Brighton rooms to be havens of peace!

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  3. Be still my heart...the haunting enchantment, indeed...
    xoxo, Chris

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  4. Beautiful pictures Heather, the place looks magical

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  5. It's enchantingly beautiful, and yes, the perfect antidote to the haunted sad village. Aren't almond trees the most glorious of all the blossoms? Perhaps not so pretty as cherries in full summer, but in spring they more than make up for that with such delicacy of bloom and sweetness of scent. And growing as it was, as the loner, must have made it ever so much more enchanting.

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  6. It's funny how your perception of what's old changes when you move to Europe. When I saw your beautiful photos of the chapel, I wished I could time travel.

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  7. What a beautiful little spot that you made the most of! Yes, this is definitely a cheerier site than the haunted village, made even cheerier, methinks, by the last photo. : )

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  8. I want to go. I really want to visit Arles. We went to Giverny this Sept. Now it is time to head south. Thanks for the inspirational photos. xo Jenny

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    1. Jenny, yes do! Although Giverny is a dream, so is Provence, you won't be disappointed. I'd be happy to make suggestions.

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  9. What a beautiful post. Glinda would be proud! And doesn't your gorgeous furry boy look happy......

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  10. OH,I could move in just as it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!LOVE IT!As for the blooming plum trees?I have the exact same flower coming out of the trunk of our plum tree!Just noticed it yesterday.Think I need to snap a photo for you!

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  11. There's something about a place such as this that stills the soul and brings inner peace. Would love to see it; the colors of the stone are gorgeous. Great piece. And I really appreciated seeing your beautiful dog in the last picture. Posing for the camera, he was! I don't think I've seen almond blossoms before. They are very beautiful.

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  12. I can smell the almond trees from here! Absolutely gorgeous. I think only friendly ghosts would dare to haunt such a lovely spot. Thanks for the Paris tips - we stayed in a fantastic Marais apartment last time, but this time out, I need a bit of coddling. Room service. Concierge. And all that...
    Happy Spring, Heather!

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  13. Your posts simply have a magic about them. You enchant with your mix of words,and photos...they never fail to make me want to pack my bag and head to that very place and at the same time they calm the travel clamor in my head, reminding me to stop and smell the flowers just outside my window.

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    1. That is just one of the loveliest compliments, I will cherish it. Thank you.

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  14. This is an enchanting post Heather... the delicacy of the blossom mixed with the history of the Chapelle is just lovely... xv

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  15. Truly beautiful & amazing. But, I LOVE the dog !! Big Texas hug coming at you !!

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    1. Yay--I'll take it! And I am thrilled that you stopped by. :)

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  16. such beautiful images!!! happy weekend!

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    1. Yay! Thanks for leaving a comment like that I found your awesome blog! Whoohoo!

      Happy weekend to you too... :à

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  17. Beautiful images, Heather. I most definitely agree, "Count Rostand de Sabran" does sound wonderful rolling off the tongue haha!

    ~ Clare x

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