Thursday doors #71

Today we’ve more doors from our recent trip to Tourrettes sur Loup, the City of Violets:-

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

Thursday doors #70

I rather thought I might have to scrape the barrel to find pictures of doors that haven’t previously featured in any of these Thursday posts, but no…..I have been out and about adding to my stock. These fresh doors are from my recent trip to the pretty walled village of Tourrrettes sur Loup.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

Trip to Tourrettes sur Loup

We’ve previously visited, La Colle sur Loup, Saint-Paul de Vence, Vence and our next stop is Tourrettes sur Loup, a village we regularly ride through. It has a large natural spring where we can fill our bidons (drinks bottles). Typically, in summer we’ll ride up there by taking the cooler and shadier Vallon Rouge via Pont sur Loup. In spring and autumn we’re more likely to take the longer route via Vence.

This pretty medieval perched village, about 14 km (9 miles) from the coast, situated between Nice and Cannes, is very popular with many Europeans, including the British. Like many along the coast, it has grown up on a rocky outcrop surrounded by superb lush landscapes, where prickly pears grow naturally. With its tall houses built into its ramparts, Tourrettes sur Loup seems to conquer all beneath it.

The best way to discover the village is by wandering around its pretty, narrow streets and its vaulted passage-ways, taking in the tastefully restored stone facades, and climbing some of the stepped passages, bordered with pretty flower baskets. In the “Grand’ Rue”, the heart of the historic centre of the village, there are more than 30 artists’ workshops, galleries and crafts workshops galleries, overlooked by the Chateau de Villeneuve (15th cent) and its superb small square.

Unsurprisingly, Tourrettes sur Loup has been a popular hangout for many years, it’s rich in prehistoric sites from the Middle Palaeolithic and has even yielded some Neanderthal remains. Traces of the last nomadic hunters (Epipaleolithic and Mesolithic, between 11,000 and 6,000 BC) have also been identified at nearby Courmettes – famous for its goats’ cheeses.

Like many of the villages perchés, Tourrettes has experienced turbulent times. A tribe of Celtic Ligurians settled here at the beginning of 9th century B.C.. Later in 262 B.C. the Romans came to occupy turres altea (the observation point) and stayed until 476 A.D., the start of 500 years of invasions. The village was invaded by all the barbarian tribes: Visigoths, Huns, Franks and Lombards until the Saracens fortified the place and occupied it until 972. It was only after a conflict with the House of Duras and the Count of Provence that Marie of Brittany, mother of Louis II of Provence, gave Tourrettes-lès-Vence (previously in the hands of the Grimaldis) to Guichard de Villeneuve in 1387 and thus it remained in that family until the French Revolution.

Antoine Villeneuve had the present chateau built in 1437 which encompassed the old 11th century belfry. The church of the same period (12th c.) was rebuilt in 16th century, renovated in the 19th and currently undergoing further repairs. From 1463 onwards Tourrettes suffered innumerable misfortunes: the black plague wreaked havoc for 70 years, followed by the Wars of Religion, the War between Austria and England (1744-1748), the War of the Spanish Sucession and the French Revolution during which the last of the Villeneuves fled the chateau through an underground passage only to be recognised and put to death outside Ventimiglia.

The village was called Tourrettes-lès-Vence until the French Revolution. In 1894 it was renamed Tourrettes-sur-Loup because the Loup river delineates the commune and in order for it not to be confused with Tourrettes-Levens. The derivation of the name Loup comes from the fact that this valley was previously inhabited by wolves. This also lies behind the name of the village Villeneuve-Loubet since loubet is wolf cub in provençal.

On the hills surrounding Tourrettes there are terraces where the cultivation of vines, wheat and beans used to take place as well as that of the orange trees used for the manufacture of perfumes. Now these have been replaced by aloe vera cacti, fig and pine trees. However there are still olive groves, a very important industry during 19th century, and violets – which have given Tourrettes the name of  Village of Violets.

Today Tourrettes remains a place where artists of all persuasions congregate, particularly those from the world of French film.

One down, plenty more to go

I’ve really enjoyed my first week’s training. It’s given me something to aim for every time I ride. I can’t say whether it’s been too hard or too easy, it’s really too soon to say.  The Polar however is a rather inadequate measure of effort and I can’t wait for the Garmin to arrive: hopefully, this week.

I’ve had to content myself with watching the Tour du Haut Var on the small screen, and not in person. Yesterday, we had a number of things to sort out in connection with my husband’s replacement passport. So, instead, we rode with some of the people with whom I’ll be riding L2P  at the end of June. They rode in “SHORTS”. I know, I don’t get into shorts until mid-May. I’m still in my winter tights and  have yet to transition into leg warmers and then into my 3/4 quarter bib-shorts.

Today’s pointage was at Le Rouret. Having started a little ahead of the club, I was overhauled by the super-fast boys at the entrance to Roquefort les Pins. There were smoking at an average speed of 28km while I was positively plodding along at 12km. I was overtaken by most, but not all, of my clubmates before the pointage where I hooked up with one of my cycling buddies. I rode with her up the next rise to Pre du Lac and then left her to wait for her clubmates. Yes, most clubs have regular regroupments where they wait for their clubmates.

I descended via Bar sur Loup to Pont du Loup and decided to practice my sprinting on the rise up to Tourrettes sur Loup. Helpfully, there were a number of riders up the road giving me a target.  I continued on the downhill stretch home and shot past a number of groups of riders. Men do not like being overtaken by a woman but they seem to mind most if it happens on the downhill. Sorry guys, but superior body weight, a fast bike and a love of speed are going to carry the day.

Back to the Tour du Hat Var, which was won today by Christophe Le Mevel who attacked on the insanely steep climb up to Montauroux. FDJ are having a cracking start to the season.  I get a real kick from seeing the pro-peloton race on roads I’ve ridden on. It seems to increase my pleasure in the viewing knowing we’ve both suffered there.

I’ve also been keeping an eye on the Volta ao Algave where Bert (Astana) has been claiming that he’s 2kg over his ideal weight and not in such good shape as at the same time as last year – sandbagging?  He won the mountain stage and  was 2nd to Luis Leon Sanchez  (Caisse d’Epargne) in today’s TT, having had the bike he originally planned to ride banned by the UCI. He, nonetheless, scooped the overall: early season mind games.

There were wins this week end for both my football teams. Luckily for the manager of OGCN, a penalty early in the 2nd half saved his bacon. While the boys in claret and blue downed another team, who also wear claret and blue, though obviously not in the same match, 5-2 at home.

Excitement in the UK as Britain won a gold medal in the ladies skeleton. This is where you hurtle, head first, on a metal tray, down an ice chute at insane speeds. One of the few sports I’ve yet to try!

Bring me sunshine

As I woke up this morning I could see the clear blue skies and feel the heat of the sun coming through windows. There wasn’t a moment to waste after two whole days stuck indoors. I was up, washed, dressed and out on the bike all within 20 minutes. The roads were just starting to dry out from the deluge of the past few days.

One consequence of the heavy rain tends to be rather more dirt, debris and stones on that bit of the road normally used by cyclists. Fortunately, it was early and the traffic light. I decided to choose a route which would give me a dry descent in the sunshine. Another hazard to avoid on the roads at this time of year are figs. They fall onto the road and make a sticky, squishy mess rendered more dangerous by the rain. Explaining that your road rash was caused by skidding on a fig is more likely to raise mirth than sympathy.

Gourdon
Gourdon

I was feeling wonderful this morning, riding at a good pace with a high cadence. There were not too many other riders out on the roads. At Pont Sur Loup, I  opted to ride up to Gourdon, via Pre du Lac, before descending  the Gorges du Loup, back down to Pont sur Loup. I then rode up to Tourrettes sur Loup before descending back home via Vence and La Colle sur Loup. Unfortunately, the forecast is for more rain tomorrow.