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That sunny and rather mild mid-winter day was suitable for a stroll and we drove to St.Etienne-du-Grès, located between St.Rémy-de-Provence and Tarascon.
From the village, a twenty minutes walk uphill permitted us to discover ND.du-Château chapel. Westwards, at a spot called Laurade, a curious menhir named La Mourgue is standing. The shape of this stone seems to me to be natural, with touching up in order to improve the likeness with the outline of two women.
At some places, the path was strewn with branches recently felled down by snow’s weight, and going onwards was not easy. Provence’s pines species are not adapted to that rare occurence. Beside a small canal, little bulls were grazing before Mount Ventoux, well visible albeit rather far away.
After the picnic, we visited the outside of St.Gabriel’s chapel, on Tarascon’s territory. Three hundred meters eastwards stand the ruins of a castle. Beside the Via Domitia, the antique highway linking the Alps and the Pyrenees, this place used to be a stage village called Ernaginum during roman times, of which nothing remains. During the Middle Ages, the locality was still important as witness the castle and the large and tall chapel. A look at this romanesque church shows Antiquity’s knowledge was not forgotten and Roman heritage is obvious in the three-level western façade.
After our small hike, we visited the ‘Musée départemental de l’Arles antique’ that displays until 19th September 2010 an outstanding exhibition called ‘César Le Rhône pour mémoire’ (entrance charge 7.5€, photos allowed; see HERE, in French). Here is a splendid sarcophagus. Below, a ‘Victory’, of gilded wood.
The river Rhone had been searched during several years and unique antique pieces were discovered, the star turn being this Caesar’s bust that is believed to be the most likelife of all his portrayals. Huberaime