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Experience a Troglodyte in Provence

Experience a Troglodyte

Some things just have to be experienced – photos, as beautiful as they may be, just can’t speak as loudly as the place itself. Especially when you are visiting a troglodyte in Provence.

 

Troglodyte in Provence

Olive Mill Troglodyte in Provence

I opened the door and immediately felt transcended to a completely different world.  The silence was incredible; nothing distracted me from imagining the site full of busy people from the past.  All the details of another life carved in the stone, in the cliff, made me ponder how much life has changed.  I caught myself saying “wow” over and over.  I even got a little nervous wondering if I had intruded on somebody’s privacy.

The site, nestled in a cliff near the popular hilltop village, Gordes, is one of the most beautiful cave dwelling sites (troglodyte) in Provence.  Dating back to the 17th and 18th century, the dwelling was used for the local olive production.  Vats are carved out of the rock as well as olive presses and traces of a large millstone.  The first room contains a series of olive storage bins.  A small passage way leads to a bigger room where the pressing and milling took place.  I even came upon, before descending path that led me to the entrance, a large cylindrical chute used to transport the olives to the dwelling.

Discovering this troglodytic site is just one of the amazing marvels along the path.  Imagine trail walking in canyon-like terrain and coming upon stone structures built in the 17th century.  The most stunning part is that these shelters were constructed without mortar.  Some of them have been restored and others, considering their age, are still in remarkably good condition.  Known as Les Bories, these shelters give the trail walker lots to explore and a rich cultural heritage to share.

This is one of the best hikes in Provence.  Everything about it is just so “Provence”.  Smells of rosemary and thyme and kermes oak will accompany you through the Mediterranean woodland, referred to as the garrigue.   Side trails to visit the inside of les bories will leave you to wonder how they were ever eructed with no mortar.  Sunny spots on slabs of limestone for a picnic will reenergize you for the second half of the walk – to stumble upon the most photographed monument in Provence, The Abbaye de Senanque.  Ssshhh…you are not supposed to know…that’s a little surprise to your troglodyte discovery when you tour with Your Private Provence.

 

traces of tracks from the carts

traces of tracks from the carts

 

les bories

dry-stone shelter

 

shelter

side of dry-stone shelter

 

garrigue

provencal terrain – the Garrigue

 

olive vats

olive vats

 

entrance

entrance into troglodyte

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