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Located at the Alpilles’ western end, close to Arles and Tarascon, Fontvieille is a quiet and charming Provençal village, with many appeals.
We park on the market square and head eastwards. In front of the village church, this 1889 cast-iron statue on its pedestal represents an allegory of Republic and commemorates the French Revolution’s 100th anniversary. Almond-trees are blossoming, albeit a bit late this year because of this winter’s four spells of cold (I counted them). These trees are expected to give the first signal for spring.
We have a look at Montauban Mansion, where the XIXth century writer Alphonse Daudet used to enjoy shorts stays for resting at friends’ home. The light is not suitable this morning for pictures there but see HERE. We go on southwards on a path to “Daudet Mill”. Actually the famous mill where Daudet would have written the “Lettres de mon Moulin” existed only in the author’s imagination, but in its very Provençal setting, this windmill looks truer than the true one. See HERE, in French.
Further southwards, we visit the ruins of Barbegal Roman aqueduct. The water main, or canal, is here cut in the rock. Will once again water flow in it? Not to-morrow anyway.
In Roman times, at the aqueduct south end, the cliff was fitted out with watermill buildings, hard to recognize now. We have picnic and a small rest here, in the sun. 1 km more southwards stands Barbegal Mansion.
We come back directly to Fontvieille, on paths crossing pine woods. Heading now north-eastwards, we hike to the top of mont Paon (Peacock Mount), an Alpilles hill. In the Middle Ages, this place was fortified with ramparts and a castle. Some facilities are still visible. See also HERE.
From the summit at sunset, the view towards Les Baux, albeit a little far away, is gripping. Huberaime