The Saturday my parents were visiting, we started by going to the outdoor market and buying picnic essentials like green olives, fresh fruit, Comte de Savoie cheese, and crunchy baguette to take up to the Château de Crussol. The market has gotten better and better as the temperature has improved and it’s definitely one of the things I’m going to miss the most about living in Valence. It’s always different due to the season and since Drome, the department where Valence is located, specializes in fruit and olives it’s constantly changing with the weather. Currently, red strawberries and green and white asparagus are covering the market tables.
Our hike up to the Château de Crussol was a little extended due to a wrong turn I made with the bus, but we finally made it up to the amphitheater to have our picnic. We were surprised to find the whole amphitheater filled with donkeys, about 20 of them, each with a bell ringing on their neck. Their owner was letting them graze on the green grass and, since they seemed very focused on eating, we decided to just have our picnic alongside them. I literally could have reached out and petted the donkey as I ate my sandwich, although I didn’t really want to get fur on my food. As we were finishing lunch, a shepherd came out of no where with a black and white sheepdog and the donkeys were rounded up and ran out of the amphitheater in what couldn’t have been more than a minute.
After lunch, we hiked up to the Château de Crussol, a castle that is now in ruins. You might remember I visited it in March. Although the weather was a little rainy, we could still see most of the valley with Valence surrounded by the Rhone-Alpes.
My parents nicknamed their trip “Fitness in France” because of all the uphill climbs and hikes we seemed to do. Crussol was definitely not an exception and it had some treacherous walking, although we did make it to the very top. I tend to spend a lot of my time in France walking uphill. Just today I was visiting a friend in Voiron who is leaving France tomorrow and we scrambled up a wet leaf-covered hill at what must have been a steady 45 degree angle. There were also disgusting giant slugs, but that is something I will describe in more detail on another post.
I would love to know what the castle looked like when it was still standing and what rooms were where. There isn’t any information in the ruins themselves and I can’t find much out online. I imagine not many people lived there as it would be a pain to have to hike up and down the hill to get anything. Then again, you would have a perfect view of the valley and I can’t imagine anyone would go to the trouble of attacking you way up on the hill.
I only have one more day of teaching and it’s tomorrow!