October 10, 2010

15| Cantobre


After lunch in Nant, I rode northwest, following the Canyon de la Dourbie downriver, through lush green country side, exposed high, ochre stone cliffs, oaks, sheep fields and some happy-looking cows. I knew these are sheep fields from the history I just learned, but saw no sheep, just cows. Perhaps the sheep are in higher country.






The perched village of Cantobre


 
Very soon after leaving Nant, I decided I must visit Cantobre, built on rocks 100 meters above the Dourbie, and visible from the road.  As I climbed up the short, but somewhat steep side road, down rode the group I’d seen earlier, their shouts of encouragement as they sped past motivating me to pedal harder.


 


View of the hills from Cantobre




Cantobre reminded me of the perched villages of the Luberon, in Provence, clinging to their cliffs, the buildings attached to the sheer rock.

 

 

Iris in front of the church


The village church, L’Église Saint-Etienne de Cantobre retains its 11th century choir. My brief visit there started me again wondering just what it is that draws me, raised without religion and not much interested in it, to these old religious buildings. Clearly it’s partly the art, and the structure itself, the architecture, but it’s also the history and the stories that the stones hold, the patina of age, the silence and solitude, the caring, focused intent which generations of people spent in the building of them.

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