Friday, July 18, 2014


Trip to Ardèche - Day 1: 

Having digested the plastic Neanderthals on our detour through Soyons, we set sight once more on our original destination: the la plus beau village of Vogüé. Don't ask how it is pronounced. Even Blandine wasn't sure, and she is a bona fide Frenchwoman. But it is officially listed in the very official list of "The most beautiful villages in France". Since I have made it my life-mission to visit all the villages in the list, and since the district of Ardèche has no less than four of these villages, there was no way I could skip this one, no matter how difficult it is to pronounce.

The first time I caught a glimpse of it, it took my breath away. Here it is, viewed from the highway, nestling at the base of a limestone cliff, perched on the banks of the river Ardèche, its medieval stones merging into the escarpment like so many boulders.

We crossed a stone bridge to get into the village. This took a bit of doing. We went up and down the highway a couple of times before we figured out how to get across. There was one stone bridge abutting the highway, but it was marked No Entry. It was the bridge for getting out of the village. But how did one get in? Was it one of those places you only ever want to leave, never enter?  It turned out there was another bridge for getting in, about ten kilometers down from the village. Not very inviting, these chaps. But once in, it was worth the effort...

Here is a medieval narrow lane, called Flea Lane (Rue des Puces).

By the way, we asked the village residents how they pronounced their village's name. They said something like VO-GAY, if I remember right. Why they couldn't just spell it Vogay and be done with it, I wouldn't know. But that is the French for you. The logical solution never appeals to them.

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