Saturday, 14 April 2012

Driving in the Vésubie valley

One week to go and we’ll be on our way to Spain. It’s been grey today and we got some sleet late in the afternoon. I came to think of another spring in another place where there was still some snow higher up but mimosas were blooming by the sea where I was staying with friends.

I was thinking about the time we drove from Nice to the picturesque mountain village of Saint-Martin-Vésubie. The roads winding in the valleys led us through country landscapes with no or hardly any dwellings in sight but also by many lovely villages such as Tourrette-Levens I recently blogged about.

Living on the edge, the village of Venanson seen from Saint-Martin-Vésubie.

Saint-Martin-Vésubie is located some 60 kilometres from Nice towards the Alps on the southern outskirts of the Mercantour national park. As the village stands at the root of the Alps of the French-Italian border, it is a popular starting point for hiking and mountaineering. I guess it was only appropriate that it was in this village where I who possess no inclination whatsoever towards sports of any kind would hurt my ankle and toe, despite the knee-high boots I was wearing.

This happened when I was photographing the main street of the old town where there is a sort of a mountain stream canal, the gargouille, flowing in the middle. I was stepping backwards and didn’t notice one of the steps downwards there were every now and then on the street. I fell on my knees and had to take the rest of the day very easy. Luckily it was nothing serious and I managed the rest of the holiday with the help of some painkillers.

I later learned that Saint-Martin-Vésubie is one of the two places in France with a gargouille, the other one being Briançon, said to be the highest town in Europe in the Alps at 1024 m. I wonder... In any case, another entry to add to the ever-increasing list of places to see one day.

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