Les Baux

June 26, 2011

Les Baux

June 26, 2011

Les Baux-de-Provence was one of my favorite visits on our trip to Provence. It was a gray day so I shot in mainly black and white and sepia-nostalgic modes of the camera. In processing the shot above (Les Baux Chateau), I played with the shadows, highlights and exposure filters. But it was originally shot in sepia. It looks better larger, so click on it or here for the full size.

Les Baux is a village of a ruined castle and ancient homes built into a large rock formation. It took it's name from the mineral bauxite, discovered there in 1822. And like Yvoire, it is known as one of France's most beautiful villages.

We visited the town in the evening so things were closing down but the upside were fewer tourist and we had the castle to ourselves.

The Lords of Baux were badass mo-fos, err, I mean renown in the Middle Ages as "warriors to all--vassals never."   Claimed descendants of the Maji King and Balthezar, the feuding war lords won many titles and became princes of 79 surrounding villages such as Arles, Orange and Marseille.

They were such a bad lot, one of the princesses was widowed three times, likely losing all her warlord husbands in feuds. She herself, was eventually killed---smothered---by an ambitious cousin. Geesh, talk about family issues.

Mr. Wild Dingo refused to pose in one of these head and hand stocks for me. Like I was goning to leave him there or something. As if!  He needs to do a lot more traveling so I can visit a lot more countries on his frequent flier miles. Duh.

In fact, Mr. Wild Dingo scoffed at many of the Les Baux ruins. Being a fan of Roman antiquity, he simply cannot comprehend how Rome was taken down by a bunch of barbarians. "At least Rome was civilized and had cities, homes and theater. And the architecture was aesthetically designed. The barbarians built their homes in caves ," he mumbled.

Yes, they were nuttier than a squirrels lunch, I give you that. In fact, Viscount Raymond de Turenne, one of the Les Baux family members, enjoyed pillaging and countryside terrorising. While he wasn't pillaging, his favorite past time was to force his unransomed prisoners to jump off the castle walls. Doesn't he sound just delightful?

It's no mistake my astrological sign is a goat, so I climbed up every steep tower and section of the chateau available while Mr. Wild Dingo preferred vistas closer to earth. He'd climb them with me but would hurry down while I took my time and got the full 360 degree vistas of the olive trees and the valley.

Today Les Baux offers plenty of entertainment, including the ability to launch the catapults, sword fight and other enjoy other past times of medieval times.

"Speaking of barbarians..."

 

 

 

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18 comments on “Les Baux”

  1. Well, Mr. Wild Dingo would know more about the Fall of Rome if Loki hadn't eaten that book... 😉 However, I'd love go on my speech about how mini-ice ages, as well as disease, and guys who got their kicks watching people leap to their deaths gave us 800 years of people who couldn't get along with their neighbors, and thus spent all their time killing them rather than entertaining them... But I'll spare you! 😉

    Killer photos! And being a fan of all thing medieval (no, really, I'm a big fan of dead people) LOVE the castle. And the opportunity to play with catapults (you SKIPPED that?!? *sheesh*). Keep the pictures coming, lady - I'm loving it! 🙂

    -Dr. Liz (hey, the doctorate wasn't in basket weaving, you know... close, true....;-))

  2. The photos are stunning - the sepia really works. The handsome barbarian and beautiful Princess are perfect.

    Thinkin' you and Dr. Liz need to do a lecture slide show when you return to the States...

    Happy weekend!

  3. I love the photos! Those barbarians probably lasted such a long time because those silly Romans couldn't climb up that rock and catch them. Loki, you're our favorite barbarian!

  4. Perfect Christmas gift for Mr.WD: The Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire. He must have missed it in all his prior studies. The Roman Empire may have been orderly and full of good engineering, but it also enslaved millions and killed hundreds of thousands - including the slaughter of helpless animals [and people] for 'entertainment.' There were a few Roman philosophers, but name one Roman mathematician or scientist.

    Sepia really worked for those photos! Looks like a fantastic site for filming movies, too. There must be a series in the story line of Sir Loki storming the battlements and rescuing Princess Juno.

    Jed & Abby

  5. The first picture is my favorite. It looks like a postcard!

    I love these posts because they give me ideas of where to go in France besides the super common places. They sound great, but I know I'd enjoy Les Baux more than some of the more well known places.

  6. Wow great photos, I see what you mean about the top picture looking better large. What picture editing software do you use?

  7. Oh, I'm FINALLY getting a chance to catch up! And the first thing I did was head for this post! I was so excited when you first published it (coz we're going to Les Baux too in a few weeks time, when we'll be in France) but haven't had a chance to come and read it properly (and enjoy your gorgeous photos properly) until now. Just LOVE the photos - they are so atmospheric and I love how you take these arty angles & shots - so creative & different from standard photography. Mine are always boring "holiday snap" types - hee! hee! I espeically love that shot of the narrow street where the people in the middle are in colour but the rest is all in sepia - how on earth did you do that?? I'd love to know!

    Anyway, it was great getting a flavour of what to look forward to - we're actually going ot be STAYING at a B&B in Les Baux, built in one of the caves! And I'm definitely going to play around with those catapult thingys (and get Paul to pose on the stocks! Ha! HA!)

    Hsin-Yi

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