It was exciting to think that grandfather had owned a house so close to our village and that surely my father must have come to that house. I had no idea how I was going to find the house since I didn't have an address or know anything further than he had a house there.
A friend's father told me about going to his parent's village in Sicily and not knowing anybody or where they lived, he walked into the village and loudly called out his family name and several relatives materialized from houses. I wondered if that might work for me but opted to just walk around.
Le Barroux is a small village (population 656) in the Vaucluse, southeast of Sablet, perched on a rocky outcrop on the other side of the Dentelles de Montmirail from Sablet. Le Barroux is known for its château perched like an eagle's nest right at the top of the village.
|Le Barroux Château|
The château was built in the 12th century as a defense against Saracen and Italian incursions, and went through major overhauls in the 16th and 17th centuries. The château was damaged during the French Revolution, repaired in 1929 using private funds, set on fire by German occupation troops in 1944 as reprisal for acts of resistance, and restored again after 1960.
|Le Barroux Defensive Wall|
|Shirley and Kari explore Le Barroux|
The Hôtel Dieu, the original hospital of Le Barroux was built in the 16th century. It is now privately owned.
|Le Barroux Hôtel Dieu (hospital)|
During the off-season, like when we were there, the village seems a bit sleepy, as if it's more of a place to vacation than to live. It's very pretty and not spoiled by shops selling trinkets for tourists. The narrow streets wind between lovely old buildings, with many little squares with fountains hidden away for discovery.
|Le Barroux street|
|Sign marking the entrance to the old olive oil mill built in 1792|
|Inside the old olive oil mill|
|Le Barroux Town Hall|
|Le Barroux Château|
Construction for the Roman style Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church began in the 14th century. The iron campanile was added in the 16th century.
|Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church Belfry and Iron Campanile|
Outside the village is the Benedictine Abbey named Sainte Madeleine du Barroux, founded in 1978 by a French Roman Catholic abbot named Dom Gérard Calvet. If you are interested, the monks of Sainte Madeleine du Barroux stream their chanted Office each day. You can get more details on their website.
|Sainte Madeleine du Barroux Abbey|
Besides the beauty of the abbey and site, this abbey is also a worthwhile stopping point for foodies. Much of the produce sold in its shop is generated by the monks who live and farm here; the logo MO-NAS-TIC indicates which items are theirs. With 900 olive trees and a mill developed in 2000, the abbey has become famous for its olive oil.
Nearby, is L'Aube Safran, which produces the most fragrant saffron as I told you here.
|The Interior of Sainte Madeleine du Barroux Abbey|
Well after wandering around the Le Barroux, I didn't find anyone or anyplace that would give me any leads for finding my grandfather's house. I did find out that Charles, Prince of Wales spent a week in Le Barroux back in November of 1990, convalescing after an operation.
With my father gone, and most of his cousins gone or fading memories or knowledge, I am not hopeful that I will ever discover it. But it's fun to wander around and imagine my father exploring the village years ago.
Have a great day. Chat soon.