Lamanon and Roquemartine Castle (12.03.2010)

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We know already those places but we like them and we wish to complete our photo collection. Our hike will be separated into three parts: Roquemartine will be visited twice, in order to see it under different lights, and the middle of the day will be reserved for Lamanon and Calès Caves. See HERE a previous post, in French.

Located between Salon-de-Provence and the Alpilles range, Lamanon village owns a huge plane tree said to be the largest in France. This tree is situated in a private property but it’s not impossible to approach it for a closer look. A short stroll uphill leads to the Grottes de Calès (Caves of Calès), a fortified former troglodytic locality that used to dwell the villagers during troubled spells, from prehistoric times until rather recent periods.

The site was protected with a small castle and two ramparts, each of them fitted out with a gate. Close northwards stands the Romanesque St.Denis chapel.

The Castellas de Roquemartine, or Château de la Reine Jeanne, situated on Eyguières district’s territory, is fascinating for several reasons: Its vast and barren setting, its important and proud ruins and its various and interesting remains make it look very romantic. This castle seems mysterious and it’s difficult to find information about it. The few available sources are not reliable and copy each other. I would like to write a historical monograph about it. Why not when I’m retired? But it would demand a great amount of research. Moreover, the free access to the place is not granted since this is a private property, and albeit without any fence or no-trespassing warnings, the old-stone lovers are not always welcome. Two years ago, during a picnic with a small group, we were suddenly harshly expelled by the “lord” (see HERE). Indeed, this owner is as pathetic as his castle and it adds eventually an enthralling “charm” to the place. It’s infortunately true that rare visitors are not respectful enough. Those crumbling ruins are dangerous and are not a playground. The castle would be in better hands if given to a local community or entrusted to a protection association. The “squire” would then be relieved from his too heavy responsibility. To-day, we approach the castle from the East and have a look at the dovecot. Albeit roofless, its inside with the pigeon holes is well preserved.

On our way to the castle’s rock, we visit the remains of this sheepfold. Here is the castle itself.

From the inside, we can see the castle’s large chapel, infortunately ruined as well.

The chapel has reportedly been consecrated to St.Laurent, but I can’t find a reliable source.

Two gripping views, taken from the South.     Huberaime

About Huberaime

Enseignant, né en 1955, passionné de photo, nature, rando et patrimoine provençal. N'hésitez pas à m'écrire si vous voulez gratuitement des photos non filigranées, faire des sorties avec nous ou simplement échanger des impressions:
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1 Response to Lamanon and Roquemartine Castle (12.03.2010)

  1. Nigel Raymond says:

    ‘The Provencal Tales’ by Michael de Larrabeiti,
    St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1988,
    has a “shepherd’s story” about the
    ruination of Roquemartine
    called ‘The Perfect Garden’.

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