January 1, 2011

May 30| Arles: Les Baux

We spent most of our second day in Arles visiting Les Baux-de-Provence. We expected more climbing to get there, but it turned out to be steady, but not hard. The site looms over the valley below. Today it is a preserved site, with various exhibits, encompassing many old ruins.

The castle emerges out of the rock almost imperceptibly. For about 400 years, this huge medieval fortress was occupied by a powerful family, who controlled much of the land in southern France.








Some walls remain in the castle itself as well as surrounding buildings. In 1632 (the same period when Fort Buoux was destroyed) when the King in Paris was consolidating his power, Richelieu ordered the village and castle destroyed. It is a huge site, with long, wide views of the valleys below. It was quite windy and a storm blew up while we were there.





Medieval siege weapons such as these were used to hurl stones and other missiles at forts. Sometimes churches and Roman ruins were demolished for stone to use. We watched one of these in action.

59 miles. Route: D17 / D24 / D453

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