Monday, August 20, 2007

Salagon: a magnificent site in Provence

On the third day of my recent excursion in Provence, Natacha and Alain took me to a fabulous site in the Alpes de Haute-Provence: a simple stone structure in the middle of the fields, once a Benedictine priory, named Salagon, which was recently transformed into an ethnological museum. The buildings are surrounded by a set of thematic gardens, including a conservatorium of cereals and a medieval garden.

I was stunned by the beauty of the place, and impressed by the efforts of the various public authorities who have reinjected a cultural and pedagogical purpose into this site. Natacha [who took the above photo with the flowers] caught me in a pensive mood:

She also caught me taking photos, but my shots don't do justice to this splendid place... which was surprisingly free of tourists.

I was intrigued by the following external stone staircase, in a part of the priory that once housed farm animals:

Apparently the steps were deliberately designed in such a way that a monk and his donkey could walk up the stairs together: the man on the narrow steps to the left, and the donkey on the wider steps to the right.

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