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Montélimar

Nearby is Montélimar another pretty town of around 30,000, again with more Roman ruins. 

The local art gallery is presently hosting a very interesting exhibition of well over a hundred works by six contemporary artists.  It’s amazing how much time energy and resources are expended on art in France.  Photographs were prohibited but I got a couple before being informed of the ban.

 

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Montélimar

 

 

It was a great exhibition and I was disappointed not to be able to record it in more detail, so I purchased the catalogue (more weight to my bag).

 

 

Mornas

We had planned to have a quiet lunch at Mornas where there is a medieval (12th-century) fort that might be interesting.

According to the guidebook:

 

During the Wars of Religion in the 16th century there was vicious fighting for control of the fortress. In 1562, The Calvinistes of the Marquis de Montbrun captured it, massacred the women and children, and threw the garrison over the cliff onto the spikes below; they allowed only a single person to escape. In 1568, Mornas was retaken by François de La Baume, and the same fate was inflicted on the Protestant garrison.

The strategic importance of the site diminished over the years, and the fortress was already abandoned by the time of the French Revolution.

 

But now as we approached it was anything but quiet.  The place was packed.  Cars lines the roadside for a kilometre.  Luckily for us a car was just leaving as we approached, allowing us to park very close to the centre of activity.

We had serendipitously arrived in the midst of the annual medieval festival of Mornas.   

It was like a fete, the streets strewn with straw; adults dressed up as knights, matrons and maidens, medieval crafts being demonstrated, and activities including jousting with real lances and horses;  archery for the kids; medieval food; various animals on display, even ferrets;  everyone having a great time.

 

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Mornas

 

 

Lunch was as one might expect at a fete, a baguette with cheese and ham - but we didn’t mind one bit.

It was a lovely day and we set out again passing through the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape on our way to Avignon.

They must still hand pick here.  The vines are like little bushes, not on trellises, as in most wine districts these days.

 

 

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