Walking along the sand dunes, I was met with the full fury of the elements as wave upon wave of sand and salt water sprayed against my body. The fury of the wind mingled with the crashing of waves along the seashore rose to a deafening pitch. I pondered what lay ahead, tired, slightly dismayed yet full of resolute determination and sense of adventure. After walking for what seemed a long time, I suddenly stopped. Looking behind me I surveyed the lone footprints that marked my journey along the coast. Eventually gathering my thoughts I continued walking along the sand dunes, before climbing up a steep cliff face. My pace quickened as I sighted a distant narrow path. Bracing myself against the various rocks, I climbed down urgently as the fading light heralded sunset. As I looked up, excitement gripped my heart and I paused in awe and wonder. The suns rays illuminated an angelic tapestry of cloud that cast its heavenly soft glow over an archaic formation of red rocks dominating the shoreline.
As far as the eye could see the narrow village path composed of an archaic, well worn cobblestone road wound its way delightfully around the periphery of the town, whose ancient stoic medieval walls straddled the picturesque town nestled within its protective embrace. Perched high upon a hill, overlooking a melange of quaint villages with lush vineyards, it commanded a beautiful vantage of the surrounding picturesque countryside. Blessed with archaic crumbling facades decorated with vibrant bouquets of flowers and colourful arched doorways and windows, one is instantly transformed into the imagination of ones childhood. Flamboyant characters such as Molière, whose eloquent and flamboyant rhetoric reflect the sophistication and elegance of French culture, are beautifully manifested within the nostalgic atmosphere that grips my very being.
The narrow street widened into a wide thoroughfare to my delight; I was now able to gaze upon a delightful scene. A radiant yellow window decorated with blue wooden panes set against red bouquets of flowers adorning window sills, contrasted brilliantly with the sandstone coloured archaic wall and blue tinged cobble stone street. I stood admiring this most beautiful facade resplendent with such simple yet beautifully blended colours. Looking about in childlike wonder I thought “What would it have been like to have lived so long ago in a town such as this?”. My thoughts deep in reverie, a gentle smile slowly crept across my face as I pondered one of my favourite characters; D’Artagnan from The Three Musketeers, walking down a street such as this in his swashbuckling style, an air of bravado, the hallmark of a proud and fiery young Gascon in the prime of his life.
My feet felt the smooth contours of pebbles beneath my feet as I wandered around the many secluded pathways that meandered throughout the medieval town. Looking downwards I smiled at the myriad of rainbow earthen coloured stones that glistened in the afternoon sun. I paused and wondered in awe and silence, reminiscing of a time long ago when the “Clip Clop” of horses hooves mingled with the sound of farm animals and townsfolk bartering their wares around a maze of merchant stalls. Glancing around, I noticed a beautiful sand stone facade with vibrant blue doorway and shutters, blending wonderfully with the pebble stone road. A simple cast iron lantern hung above the doorway, framed by a stoic arch. I paused and admired the elegance and classical beauty of this doorway. It was merely a door, yet somehow its timeless beauty struck a chord within my heart, yearning for an era where beauty manifested itself in simplicity.
The main road skirting the periphery of the town meandered off suddenly into a narrow street. As I turned down an ancient cobblestone pathway, my eyes widened in wonder as I gazed upon a delightful scene, a moment in time that plunged me back into an era centuries ago. An archaic building with a crumbling facade of earthly hues commanded my attention. The golden sandstone with its decaying wooden shutters and doorways, contrasted brilliantly with the blue tinged cobble stone street displaying a mosaic of classical beauty. I stood admiring this most beautiful facade resplendent with such simple, beautifully blended colours. A pang of nostalgia gripped my heart for a life that I had merely glimpsed from stories bequeathed from past generations and cherished conversations with elderly townsfolk only too eager to relate their experiences of joy mixed with suffering and sorrow. The buildings were merely an extension of the human experience I thought to myself. This crumbling facade merely reflected the fortitude of the human spirit during times of adversity; it’s ability to endure all things and still manifest something of beauty.
Passing through the magnificent roman archway commanding the main gate of this fortified town, I looked on in astonishment at the large stone and cobblestones lining the ramparts. I stood for long moments in reverie before walking along down the narrow meandering road skirting the walled medieval city. An amazing mosaic of trade shops and taverns ringed the town connected by a myriad of streets and hidden pathways; each was adorned with beautifully painted doors and window sills, vibrant flowers in earthen pots and elaborately designed wooden doors and cast iron ornaments. I reminisced of a time when the sounds of horses footsteps mingled with the clamouring of blacksmiths, traders and merchants selling their wares with the townsfolk. I stopped by a staircase, nestled by a stone wall and door. An archaic crumbling stone facade made of pebbles and stones formed a beautiful mosaic of earthy hues and colours. It was if every stone had a unique story to tell, of an era long ago about a picturesque and beautiful French town perched high upon on a hill.
The narrow village paths lined with colourful restaurants and intricate bouquets adorning the decaying medieval walls, straddled the main stream meandering through the centre of this picturesque town nestled at the footsteps of the Alps. The surrounding landscape, comprising a ring of forested mountains and complemented by a crystal clear lake embraced this medieval paradise. Centuries old towns with cobblestone streets, ramparts, archaic castles and cathedrals from the medieval and renaissance periods unique to European were truly fascinating to behold. Exotic buildings and streets with colourful facades, magnificent cathedrals and richly decorated buildings connected by secret passageways plunges one literally into the tales and story books of ones childhood. Flamboyant characters such as Molière and D’Artagnan suddenly come to life. France manifests architectural sophistication and elegance, a rich diverse and vibrant culture and is blessed with geographical beauty renown throughout the world.