Sometimes we visit a new place and feel as if we have known it all our lives….That’s what happened to me when I first visited Crickhowell, Wales in 1993, (aka The Magical Town of Crickadoon), and once again this experience occurred when I visited Saorge, a commune located in the Alpes-Maritimes Department of south eastern France.
A sketch from the view to the right of my bedroom window……watercolour/gouache sketch
As I mentioned in my last post – ‘Following Life’s Clues’ – good friends from Wales have been renting a house in Saorge for the past year and suggested that I visit. They felt that Saorge encompassed many elements of Marmite Heaven..……my place in the sun:)
The view from my window looking to the left…… Oh the glorious light…..
After being met at Nice airport by my friend Gareth, we drove up into the mountains along the Italian/French border into what is the magnificent landscape of the Roya Valley. Being mindful that this was a very short trip, I had to gulp in the dramatic scenery.
As we approached Saorge – one of the ‘Perched Villages’ – it was clear to see how this place has survived the centuries. Perfectly place to fend off enemies and also part of the ancient Salt Route – which fuelled one of the great economies of Europe.
The view looking down the Roya Valley from my room. ( Note the train coming through the Valley.) The roar of the Roya River beneath is constantly present. This is a place where all the senses are nourished.
We arrived around 4 p.m. and immediately took a walk through the Village where no cars are allowed. Parking is available at both ends of the Village.
One of the fascinating elements of Saorge is that on the one side of the Village the views are vast and majestic and then on the other side of the houses – you enter the medieval cobbled lanes which lend a sense of intimacy and protection.
The lane outside of the house where I was staying.
In the Marmite Heaven of my dreams, I will be removed from the madness of our 21st century world. I will write every day and paint a series of portraits recording the people living within the community. Saorge certainly has a lot of wonderful characters to draw upon.
After a delicious Italian meal at Restaurant Lou Pountin just a minutes stroll away, Gareth and I were joined by his friend Simon. As we sat on our high perch on the second floor of the house, listening to the Roya River way beneath us and looking out onto a seemingly vast open expanse, I observed how ‘detached’ I felt from everything, and I was. Wonderful
One of the views of the approach to Saorge.
I will be writing more about my first visit to Saorge in the next couple of weeks, along with impressions of the very lovely and interesting people I met, plus cats and dogs…… Also I will be making mention of Monastere de Soarge which looks over the Village and Roya Valley. Along with its fascinating history and intrinsic beauty, it is here writers and other creatives gather.
One of the many ancient arches, nooks and crannies in Saorge….watercolour/gouache
Meanwhile, let it suffice to say that the magical hummingbirds were definitely with me….and just how much they were with me will be revealed in my next blog focusing on our visit to Notre Dame des Fontaines where we met beautiful Miriam, a direct connection to the world of hummingbirds, or in French – Colibris.…..
Soaring above all the madness like the magical hummingbird…..