Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Site Medieval"

My Michelin map identified it only as 'site medieval,' but it received a one-star designation, meaning it was worth a stop. Worth a stop is really an under-statement in my opinion. Edith and I felt like we had discovered a link in time back to the Middle Ages! The map directed us to the tiny village of Peyrusse-le-Roc...nice, but nothing special. However, just off the square in front of the church, a path begins to descend down into a deep gorge. Soon this is the sight that greets you...twin towers perched on a knife-edged promontory with spectacular views off into a broad valley. Both of us wearing sandals, we really weren't prepared for this kind of a walk, but we were too intrigued to stop. Down, down, down we hiked in the hot afternoon sun...

Can you see that stairway in the bottom left corner of the photo?
Here's a close up ...
and here's Edith climbing it! 
I opted not to go, mainly because I suffer from a bit of vertigo. I know that sounds funny from someone who spent so many years flying in helicopters. Once I'm up, I'm okay. It's the climbing up and looking down over the edge that gives me shivers and makes my stomach feel funny.
Triumphant at the top!
Edith crossed the promontory on the narrow walkway to the other tower and said the view was splendid. I'm always impressed with the laissez-faire attitude of the French; the only safety precaution anywhere was a sign that read "unaccompanied children not allowed." Ya think?!?

And just how did the builders of this spectacular place haul the stones and other things up there to construct these towers? They had to have carried everything on their backs.
Looking back up at the tower.
The path continued down deeper into the gorge where we found the ruins of a large 13th century church
Of all the ruined medieval buildings we saw, I was most fascinated by this one...a hospital of 4 floors built during the Hundred Year's Was to serve 'the sick, the poor, and pilgrims.'

First mentioned in the 9th century, the village (then called by its Latin name Petrucia) was home to 40 noble families and by the 13th century boasted of 700 houses, some of which can still be seen in the ruins. The climb back up to the village was hot and long and sweaty, but the 'site medieval' was worth the effort. We decided that it really deserved more than one star. Who do I write at Michelin to make that happen?

1 comment:

  1. What a fabulous post! Love the way you bring us along from the first glimpse in the distance - and the way there seems to be no-one else there. Magic indeed.

    (PS. A Good Year and Goult - yes, I have heard lots of Russell Crowe stories from that year in the area. Must have been a lot of fun to be there during the filming!)