Category Archives: chateau de crussol

Château de Crussol Hiking

Donkeys at the ampitheatre near

Donkeys at the amphitheater near Château de Crussol.

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.

A shepherd herds donkeys at the ampitheater.

A shepherd herds donkeys at the amphitheater.

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.

Rainy weather at the castle ruins.

Rainy weather at the castle ruins.

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.

Flowering tree in the ruins.

Flowering tree in the ruins.

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.

Wall of Crussol.

Wall of Crussol.

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!

Château de Crussol

Chateau de Beauregard. This gate looked like it went to a secret garden, but turned out to be the grave of M. Charles Beauregard.

Château de Beauregard. This gate looked like it went to a secret garden, but turned out to be the grave of M. Charles Beauregard.

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.

Valence, seen from the Chateau de Crussol.

Valence, seen from the Château de Crussol.

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.

Ruins of the Chateau de Crussol.

Ruins of the Château de Crussol.

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.

Remains of walls over looking the valley.

Remains of walls over looking the valley.

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.