THE PROVENCE GALLERY

 
 


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Captivated by the harmony of the sober lines of Valensole's plateau,   I tried with this photographic work to encompass a  precise geographic location and to portray its different aspects:   the peoples,  the artists,  the  hilly landscapes, the  varied, evolutionary colours   and some some of the activities. These shots were taken within a radius of  20 km of Valensole.  Valensole's region is inside the park of Verdon

Photographer Advises :

Best time for lavender pictures is approximately from 15th of June to 15th  July, of course it's depend on weather, plateau de Valensole is a wide place, to see nice fields take the road form Valensole to Puimoisson then to St Jurs,  or from Valensole to Allemagne en Provence. You can drive or take your bicycle (as me) to Riez then in direction of St Croix du Verdon, before  this village turn left to small road to Moustier St Marie. Other place to make pictures are in North Luberon or around a Village call Banon, and  they is  hundred  others places in Drôme department.. By  the end of July be careful that lavender is completely cut/harvest and  you will have to wait an other year to see blue/purple landscape,  then you might find still lavender fields in higher mountain part.

 

   VALENSOLE  :

Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, The Alps of High Provence

                               I)  Geographic    

                              II)  History           

 

   I) Geographic   

                  

      Valensole    :   elevation :   569 metres.                                                                                                                

      Population  :   2450  inhabitants        

                                             

Valensole  plateau is 800 km²  (133 times larger than Gilbraltar 6  km²) which represente  2% of Provence  31500 km².  The Provence include six states (departements)   :  Alpes-de-Hautes-Provence,  Hautes-Alpes,  Alpes-Maritimes,   Bouches-du-Rhône,  Var and Vaucluse.

This very vast plateau covers  several  municipalities of which the main villages are  Valensole,  Puimoisson, Brunet and Riez.  Valensole covers an area of about 13.500 hectares,  in which lie the  valleys of Durance and Asse.  Valensole is effectively  one of the vastest municipalities of France.

The completely original and unique formation  in our mountain range of the Pre-Alps is due to the effect of the glaciers and to their recession  where the land settled at the  horizontal height of melting  of snows.  The plateau of Valensole is on an immense  moraine, which was cut  by the erosion  giving  us so  many valleys which are popular with cyclists.

Situated  13 km from Riez  and Gréoux, 15 km from Puimoisson and d’Oraison and within 20 km of Manosque,  the heart of magnificent fields planted with lavandins,  with cereal of almonds, Valensole village of the Alps  of Provence has preserved the authentic character of a Provencal village.

The sky is clear and the horizon is magnificent.  The plateau  is particularly beautiful in spring, from the  end of June  the golden fields of wheat contrasts with the bloom of the lavandin. The farming of the plateau with agricultural crops brings a variety of constant colours.  The often ochre soil  is an important element  of the landscape.

The unique character of this plateau  is generated by a spacious palette of impressive colours, an explosive contrast between the soil, the various crops and the colour  of the sky. The horizon  marks a stark divide     with the mountains of Verdon on one side and the  mountains of Lurs of the other.   It is easy to take landmarks from this  even  our extraterrestrial friends ( surely having access to  our same roadmaps)   came to visit the plateau repeatedly. The landscape of Valnsoel area is unique and have nothing to compare with place as Manosque 20 km below.

Far from the tourist industry the inhabitants of Valensole's region are highly unaffected

 

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II) History  :  

Considering its exposure to the Southeast, in the Middle Age, the name Valensole was derived from  de Vallis  Solis:         " valley of the Sun ".   Later, after the discovery of the gallo-Roman remains in a nearby valley,  éthymologistes   interprets  Valensole  " Variance Solum  " the land of the Variances, the  name of the tribe living there at that time.

It wasn’t until the 10th century, during invasions by barbarians, the inhabitants sought refuge at  the top of the   village  in the fortifications of the reigning lord of the village.  In 1682, the plague hit  the village during  long months.  The population was decimated and a hospital to treat victims of the plague was established   in the district  remote  from the Trinity. One can still see the chapel built over the graveyard  where the victims were buried.  

In 1720 the plague returned, the population was ready to deal with it,  and imposed quarantine controls, created health management procedures within the plateau and in neighbouring Durance.

In 1790, there existed an orphanage and two schools, and  the population  reached  3134 inhabitants by this time.

The predominantly peasant inhabitants on the plateau, just survived on their  harvests  until     the advent  of fertilizers which improved  the returns and  the quality of life. The development of mechanization  caused a  the drift from the land,  but made easier the work of  those who remained. Nowadays,  agriculture is not  such a big employer, and a large part     of the population works in service industries around here and in the local towns.

Considering its exposure to the Southeast, in the Middle Age, the name Valensole was derived from  de Vallis  Solis:         " valley of the Sun ".   Later, after the discovery of the gallo-Roman remains in a nearby valley,  éthymologistes  

 

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