And so, on our Les Plus Beau Villages path, we find ourselves in Vogue. And despite the immediate connotation to the magazine of the same name, there’s nary a model, fashion house or eclectic pose in sight.
The village sits at the foot of cliffs, dark in the morning sun.
We’re lucky to have seen the cliffs lit in yesterday’s afternoon light – it’s a completely different scene today.
The Ardeche river winds around the cliff base, its importance to medieval times punctuated by ruins of mills on its banks.
We pop into the church, built in the 1600s with its ancient baptismal font and beautiful stone paths.
Perched on high, sits the ancestral castle of the Vogue family, for whom the village is named. There’s little mistaking who ran things here: the castle dwarfs every other building.
Behind the mainstreet, Vogue offers a uniquely preserved medieval streetscape, its streets mere paths, designed strictly for foot traffic.
One is so tiny, it’s barely shoulder width.
Surprisingly, there’s no boulangerie here, not even a baguette vending machine (yes, they are really “a thing” here) and virtually all of the restaurants are closed.
I do meet some lovely kitties though. Provence has been most generous on the friendly kitty quota.
It’s the lack of bread more than anything that sends us back on the road, over the incredibly tight river crossing.
While Chris goes off to hunt baguettes, I get told off by some very noisy geese. They beat a guard dog, any day. Talk about raucous!
Our path in the afternoon points us towards Lyon, crossing the Rhone river many times.
We stop in the village of Alba la Romaine to stretch our legs.
Being Sunday, it’s another quiet spot, the only activity in town being a game of boule and a kitten spat over territory.
They’re quite polite about it though, happily stopping mid posturing for pats.
At some point in our drive we pass out of Provence into the Auvergne Rhone Alps region. Whilst the vines have followed from one region to the other, the lavender and olives have gone. The architecture has changed too. Gone are the warm yellows and whites of Provence, replaced with deep grey and brown stone set into white mortar. In certain buildings, it reminds me of giraffe markings.
There’s a chateau here too, but being a Sunday, it’s closed.
This area was once famous for silk – the heavily pruned ancient mulberry trees are still here.
Later in the day, we drive past a uranium power station. There’s no sign of Homer, but they do look remarkably like the plant on The Simpsons. It’s quite fascinating to see them up this close.
I’m very excited to be in Lyon tomorrow. It’s another place that’s been “on the list” for ages.