Saturday, February 8, 2014

Thursday night concert in Sablet

The first thing everyone notices about Sablet day or night, is the bell tower of Saint Nazaire Church standing tall over our village like a beacon marking the position of Sablet across the countryside. Since our house is just down the steps from the church, it also points the way toward home.

During the Middle Ages, Sablet was under the control of the Holy See (the Pope) and unlike many other villages in the surrounding area, it was never under the control of feudal lords, so there is no château - castle in the village.

At that time, the Roman Catholic Church was the law making and administrative authority for the area. In 1577, the village was taken over by Calvinists and the Pope appointed a governor to oversee the village until the end of the religious war.

We were probably destined to end up in a Calvinists village since my father Daniel Augsburger's doctoral dissertation at the University of Strasbourg was about John Calvin. Sadly, my father passed away before we bought our home in Sablet so he never knew we bought a house in Provence. Having lived in the South of France as a young man, he would have been thrilled.


Saint Nazaire Church was built in the 12th century and sits at the highest point in the village. There is a pretty garden area which surrounds the church. The bell tower of Saint Nazaire Church is lit at night. The bells ring hourly throughout the day from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM. There is no need for an alarm if you want to wake at 7:00 in the morning.

Saint Nazaire Church

You are probably wondering what any of this has to do with a Thursday night concert in Sablet. Well, I am going to tell you. As I told you above, our house is at the bottom of the stairway to the church. So although we are very close to Saint Nazaire Church, I've only seen the doors open once or twice in all the times we have been there.

So I was quite excited last fall when I saw yellow flyers in the boulangerie and épicerie - bakery and grocery store, announcing that the Chamber Orchestra of Hamburg Germany was going to play a free concert in Saint Nazaire Church on the next Thursday.

Every seat in Saint Nazaire Church is filled for the concert

My favorite genre of music is classical and the chamber orchestra was going to play works by Bartok, Mozart, Vivaldi and others. This promised to be an opportunity to enjoy wonderful music and see the interior of the church, kill two birds with one stone so to speak.

The Hamburg Chamber Orchestra at Saint Nazaire Church

Somewhat to my surprise, not really sure what I expected, every seat in the church was filled, and others who couldn't find seats stood along the back and side walls listening intently to the music played by the 30 person ensemble and various soloists.

Thursday night concert in Sablet

No one in the crowd of mostly middle aged and older music lovers left before the last note faded away and appreciative clapping stopped. I walked out to a beautiful evening and stared up at the familiar sight of the lighted bell tower of Saint Nazaire Church.

Lighted bell tower of Saint Nazaire Church

Lighted bell tower of Saint Nazaire Church

We are fortunate to call Sablet home in Provence. Besides being an exceptionally beautiful village, there is an assortment of shops and cafes and many special events. If you are looking for a place to make your home during a one week or longer sojourn in Provence, consider Sablet.

Between the economy and recent cancellation, we still have availability scattered throughout the spring and summer, which are the best times of the year to be in Provence. If you are interested, check out our website or email me at I would appreciate if you would pass this on to your Francophile and Provence loving friends.

Here in Northern California, heavy rain has finally arrived. While it won't be enough to end drought conditions, it is welcomed, especially by the vineyard owners and farmers. Have a great rest of the weekend. Chat soon.


  1. Sounds like a great concert. We had one in our church here last year and it was also packed including all standing room.
    We have had so much rain here that are garden is like a swamp, I want to plant potatoes, but the veggie garden is awash and the potatoes will just rot! Have a good day, Diane

    1. It is hard to complain about rain after all of the good days we have had. But we have basically had three times as much rain this weekend as we have had since July 1.

  2. I thought about you and another blogger I follow when the storms in Sonoma led the evening news. Weather is weird here too. I haven't seen so much snow since I was a kid! I find myself slipping into daydreams of Provence more and more. What a lovely memory you shared here! I can't wait to make it back to Sablet.

    1. I have been hearing about the snow in Michigan, saw some pictures too. It was a very nice concert, especially since it was so unexpected there.