Thursday, September 08, 2011

Moustiers Sainte Marie

Between a rock and a hard place

Moustiers clings to a precipitous site between two rock promontories.  Legend has it that an early knight of the realm pledged to build a town in this unlikely cleft if God granted his wishes.  Be that as it may, an abbey was started in Moustier in 434 when a handful of monks inhabited caves above the town.  Monks in caves is a recurring theme in France.  Moustiers ville was fortified in the tenth century as a “castrum” and became an independent “consulat” in the thirteenth century.  The town was destroyed and its residents slaughtered during the Wars of Religion of the sixteenth century then enjoyed relative peace under Henry IV with whom it had allied. Today it lives as a bastion of high kitsch.  It is most well known, beyond its undeniable beauty, for Fayence a pottery both light and graceful.

La Chappelle du Notre Dame de Beauvoir
Centre Ville

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