Fun_People Archive
12 Oct
France 2000, Entrevaux

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 100 03:24:18 -0700
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Subject: France 2000, Entrevaux

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Day two in Vaube was pretty much a wash also.  The town is only an hour
from Nice so Mimi & her family came up for the day.  We spent the day
visiting, walking around the medieval town of Entrevaux, having lunch, and
then we all went to visit Marilore's family in Annot for birthday cake, it
was Audrey's 4th birthday.  We all took a very nice walk through the old
section of Annot and found a very charming town with very old buildings,
built nearly on top of each other with streets barely large enough for a
horse, much less a car (although cars do get through them somehow).  There
are no cafe's or shops here though, most of these houses and apartments
are owned by families from out of town or from other countries.  It's a
very quiet university town among the mountains with skiing in the winter.

Mimi and her family had to be back early so that gave us the chance to go
also.  Jean-Claude was coming up and had a room in our hotel for tonight.
It's the only hotel in the town so he got lucky.  I had already told Miki
that, come hell or high water. I am going to climb Entrevaux tomorrow.
She told me not to worry, Jean-Claude was going to climb it with us.  Miki
is sure popular around here.  She tells me I am too but I don't speak enough
French yet to understand why.

Jean-Claude did get there and we had dinner at the hotel.  We sat around
and he and Miki talked for a while but we wanted to get to bed a little
early to get up early and tackle the fortress.  The sun gets hot in the

We set the alarm for seven so we were cleaned up and ready by eight.  We
went down and had a light breakfast at the hotel with Jean-Claude and off
we went.  They charge 10ff for the climb which goes to the restoration fund
for the fortress.  To my mind, they've done a pretty good job of restoring
the different parts of this monument to the medieval time.  Miki tells me
they could be doing more.  It has to be very difficult though to get rocks,
bricks and mortar up through these gates.  The incline gets steeper as you
climb.  If we had waited until the afternoon, it may have taken over two
hours with resting and cooling down.  As it was, the climb (walk?) only
took a little over an hour.  The higher you get, the grander the scenery.
You can see the town down below and the river that stretches for miles to
the south.  It's easy to get a little vertigo, the rock is almost vertical
so your looking almost straight down for hundreds of feet by the time you
get to the fortress.

The fortress was an old fashioned castle like you read about in fantasy
novels.  Some of the upper rooms are without floors of course, but it gives
you a good idea of how they lived.  The old fireplaces are still there in
the soldiers' quarters, which must have been pretty cramped.  The officers'
quarters are there with the stone beds that are level in spite of the sloped
floors. There is a prison up there that was built in 1914 but I'm not sure
why.  There are some subterranean caves dug so the soldiers could get from
one level to another quickly.  One cave was so steep that Miki would not
go down even though it was lighted pretty well.  There was the central
courtyard with the well.  The kitchens still had some of the ovens in
recognizable condition.  From there you climbed up to the rooms for the
royalty.  These rooms were larger, some with pantries, all with fireplaces
and all with fantastic views of the town below and the beautiful valley.

Then, after about 45 minutes of exploring the castle, we headed down.  You
have to be more careful going down, if you slip and start rolling, you
won't stop until you hit the wall at the next switch back, which could be
100 yards.  This could cause some very serious road rash at the very least
and...  death, at the very most.  They would never open a place like this
to the public in the U.S.  There are no guard rails and many broken or
uneven stairs.  The path itself  is mostly loose stones.  Some one might
slip and sue in the U.S.  In France you don't sue for your own stupidity,
they will throw you out of court with a hearty laugh.

All the way along the walls, there are vertical slits that open like funnels
towards the insides of the walls.  These are windows where archers could
shoot with a full 90 degrees of view but were almost impossible to shoot
into.  These slits are called 'meurtriere' in French.  Translated into
English this means 'murderer' because you go to these windows to murder
some one invading the castle.  So much of the French culture is rooted in
ancient history.

We got to the bottom just before lunchtime so we slowly sauntered through
the old village, passed the motorcycle museum and the cathedral to a little
creperie that wasn't quite open yet.  We politely asked if we could sit
down and wait for the 10 minutes until they opened, they said that would
be fine.  When they opened, I ordered a ham & cheese & roasted onion crepe.
Miki's was ham & cheese and Jean-Claude had a big tomato & Parma salad with
plain crepe.  Our crepes were large, very crispy and topped with a simple
green salad.  Accompanied by a small pitcher of local rose' and the
beautiful medieval town in the country, they were delicious.

Then it was time to wander back to the hotel for a little siesta.  Miki's
legs were a bit sore and I was just sleepy from the climb and lunch.  This
is what's really nice about being on vacation.  Shortly after our little
nap, Jean-Claude had to get back to Nice so we said our good buys.  Then
Miki & I looked at each and realized -- we're alone!!!  No family, no
friends, no one.  Alright!!!!

So we set up an early dinner at the hotel and planned to get to bed early.
Tomorrow it's off to Nimes (pronounced 'neam').

By the way, I took a look at what we paid for the hotel on the credit card
on line.  Three days, three nights, two dinners with the family, three
breakfasts, quite a few drinks with the family.  All of this for a grand
total of $130.00 USD.   It doesn't pay to stay home!!!

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