After several months spent living in Valence, I finally went up to the castle ruins on the cliff overlooking town. The weather was perfect for a hike, so me and Lauren went across the river to Guilherand-Granges in the Ardèche. On our way up the road, we explored the Château de Beauregard, seen above. It seemed empty, although internet research tells me you can rent rooms and host events in it. In the picture above, there’s a rusty gate and behind it was a garden full of bushes. I thought it would be a charming little English garden, but hidden by the raised bushes was a slab of concrete with a cross on it. The carved words on it were almost worn off, yet I could make out the name Charles. I feel like “The Hidden Grave of M. Charles Beauregard” would make an excellent title for a short story. Although it also sounds like if Edgar Allan Poe wrote a Hardy Boys book.
I remember once when I was growing up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and was on the top of the Price Tower, where there is a view of the whole downtown. I was shocked at how small it was, that there was farmland just after the baseball stadium. It was a bit of the same with Valence. The view from the Château de Crussol made it seem so small, and the centre ville where I spend most of my time was even smaller. Beyond it was farmland and in the distance snow peaked mountains.
The Château de Crussol is the remains of what was once a 13th century castle. After the Crussol family married into a family with a better castle, they moved away from the limestone structure and it was abandoned. However, there was more devastation for the poor castle to come, as it was set on fire during the Guerre des Religions and there was later a mining explosion in the quarry underneath it. It was even struck by lightning about 50 years ago. But it seems to be having a bit more luck these days and it was getting some of its stone walls fixed while we were there.
We spent some time wandering around the ruins and climbing on the large rocks overlooking the valley. Don’t worry, I didn’t get too close to the edge. Apparently there is a trail that goes from the castle to Soyons, where there are caves, so we might do that soon.
Me and Australian assistant Jacinta went to see Pitié, a really really really weird play. There was a lot of cathartic dancing and screaming and people taking their clothes on and off. I think it was the story of Christ, but there was so much going on that I’m not sure. I think the music was by Bach.
I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day last night at Penny Kennys, the only Irish pub in town. It’s pretty crazy that I was in New York City for St. Patrick’s last year and France this year. Where will I be next year? There was a good crowd, probably the biggest I’m seen for a nonstriking even in Valence. Speaking of which, there is yet another strike tomorrow, so I’m off of work. But everything will be closed, so I’m not quite sure what I’ll do. You might see more strike pictures here. I have a trip to Aix-en-Provence planned for this Saturday which I’m looking forward to.