Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lurs and Sisteron

Mom, Dad, and I left Alan behind mid-morning as we headed out to Sisteron before the SCAD buses left. Our first stop was in Lurs, another hilltop town to the north that overlooks the Durance river. I was especially interested in the town as it has been revived by a group of graphic designers. They had a little walk as you came into the town with stations about the evolution of alphabets, writing materials, and fonts. Through the town were other marked items of interest, and behind the a restored castle was the Promenade des Eveques, a trail lined with 15 oratories leading to a chapel.



Walk with the oratories
 We left Lurs and continued our drive north to Sisteron, where our first goal (after getting a map from the tourist office) was to find a hotel room. Mom found us two rooms in the Hotel des Citadelle—Alan and mine had a view of the citadel that overshadows the town, while Mom and Dad had a view of the Durance and the awesome rock formations to the east.
View out our window

Cute puppy that just wanted to go outside!
I wanted to take it on a walk.
Assured of a place to stay in the evening, we set out to visit the citadel, walking up and up through the town till we reached the base of the citadel’s rocky outcrop. Parts of the buildings are from the 12th century, with the newest additions made by Vauban in 1692. The fort also played a role in Napoleon’s return from Elba; it commanded the bridge across the Durance (which Mom and Dad could see out their hotel window) which he need to cross on his way to Paris. A higher up who was a supporter of Napoleons ordered the fort to remove all it ammunition, and while the soldier in charge of the fort was a Royalist he was first a soldier, and so followed his orders, allowing Napoleon to advance unimpeded.

It was a very impressive citadel. Its ramparts were like a small Great Wall of China—and we remembered that two years ago to the day we were on the actual Great Wall! That’s a little crazy… We met up with Alan at the top of the keep where a prince of Poland was imprisoned.  One of my favorite parts was the “Guerite du Diable”, a lookout tower hanging out over the edge of the cliff to keep watch on the bridge and river below.

Dad and Mom on the ramparts

Seriously - looks like the Great Wall!

Alan climbing around

They had all these funny cutouts from different eras.

It's fall! The leaves were much more
colorful up there in the north.

Me sticking my head out of the Guerite du Diable

Bridge across the Durance

We'd had a bit of rain, and I guess the mud
came washing down!
We could have explored the citadel for hours, but it was closing and our stomachs were growling. Unfortunately, French restaurants don’t even open until 7 pm; however, we found a Chinese restaurant that was open early and would make us a vegetarian pizza! None of the Chinese options were vegetarian, but we found the irony of our country/restaurant/food combination did not hinder the enjoyment of the very fine pizzas we all ordered and ate with gusto.

Our hotel at night

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