Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Virgin Mary of Pont-en-Royans

In my quest concerning the drawing of the thatched house in Blackbird Street, I had imagined that it might be a good idea to obtain a bird's-eye view of the houses that appear (I believe) in the background. So, I set off on a lonely morning excursion along the slopes of Mont Barret on sunny Christmas Sunday morning. A friend from Blackbird Street, strolling around with his dog, directed me towards the Virgin of Pont-en-Royans. After a rough climb along a track through unkempt shrubs, I finally found myself at the lady's feet.

I was thrilled to meet up with an effigy of the lady and her son on the very anniversary of the birth of the latter. This was surely my closest contact ever, and maybe forever, with the solitude of heavenly bliss. Taking advantage of this extraordinary moment, I took this photo of the nearby mountain that separates Choranche and Pont-en-Royans.

As attested in the Napoleonic Cadastre, this mountain, on the territory of Choranche, is called Trois Châteaux (three castles) because an observer, from this exceptional viewpoint, could clearly distinguish three medieval castles in the valley: Flandaines, La Bâtie and Rochechinard. Today, the first two have almost totally disappeared from the surface of the planet Earth, whereas vestiges of the third castle exist splendidly, as I explained recently [display].

When I started down the slopes from the Virgin Mary of Pont-de-Royans, I had the impression that our encounter had not proved anything much at all concerning my primary preoccupation: the identification of the thatched house of Blackbird Street. But nobody (and, least of all, a lusty heathen such as me) should ever begrudge a passing encounter with a replica of the Holy Virgin.

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