October 4, 2023

The world’s weirdest village?

Joucas must be the weirdest place I have ever visited. This little village in Provence was not even in our horizon till I came across a mention of it as one of the prettiest villages in Provence in Rick Steves’ guide.

And so I bullied gently persuaded my husband into taking the detour into Joucas on our way to Roussillon. We had a car and no fixed plans, so this did not make much difference to our day. That is anyway one of the joys of road travel – being able to alter your plans at will and do things you would otherwise not on a fixed itinerary.

When we arrived in Joucas, it was just after lunch and the sun was at its brightest and hottest so far. We parked near this emoty field and walked up to the village. There was not a single soul in sight – it was like a model village empty of all residents. There were these sculptures scattered all over the place, without any explanation whatsoever. At the end of a mild incline were these statues and a view of the hills far away. And a lovely church nearby, again desolate. We walked up and down trying to find something more about them but no. Possibly, it was siesta time – though that is really not an excuse since Rousillon was bursting with people when we arrived a bit later.

So was Rick Steves right? Was the village pretty? Sure, narrow and winding lanes, home windows with flowerpots and creepers over the walls, lovely views… but I am not so sure it was nicer than any of the others we stopped at. And funnily enough, there is no mention of these sculptures anywhere on the internet – I had forgotten the name of the village and was trying to find it online but no. Perhaps, the village has a different feel during the tourist season?

Do you have any such experience with a place desolate and somewhat mystifying?

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