I am staying about a half of a mile from one of the oldest in France. Saignon. It is over a 1000 years old… and like most hilltop villages it is constructed of stones. And usually there is a solid… strong… fortress-looking church that dominates the town. And it almost always occupies the highest point… except for the ruins of a castle.
Over and over again you’ll witness the same identical scenario. Town of stone. Castle in ruin. If one is looking for an answer as to “why?”… it is simple. The Duke moved out and went to the seashore… that is one possible answer.
But it is normally attributed to the fact that there was The French Revolution… 225 years ago. To make a long story short… the village people who lived well below the hilltop… overthrew the “Duke”… and dismantled his castle of stone in order to make their new homes …giving original meaning to…”moving on up.” Hence… castle ruins… homes of stone.
I love them. Every village is different. Some with “streets” so narrow that car traffic is prohibited. Some tinted by the yellows and reds that originate from the mountains of ochre-colored rock surrounding the towns. Others with streets of rough cobblestones. Others with asphalt lanes with a concrete depression in the middle to carry off the violent rains. Others in need of repair…. ie… great patina. Did I tell you I love them?
To be able to walk these streets this winter in search of a worthy photograph is the wonderful gift from my wonderful wife. I will never tire of getting excited about a shaft of warm light illuminating a stone wall that I know has felt the sun caress its facade over and over again for a 1000 years.
Enjoy these photos of Saignon. It is a magic that never gets old.
And here is a little photography advice… walk. Look. View the same subject at different times of the day. Try different perspectives.
I can often tell how tall a photographer is just by looking at their photos. Especially the ones that never bend down or climb to get a different more interesting view.