On our fourth day at the Chateau, we trekked to the nearby medieval city Cordes sur Ciel, perched high on a rocky promontory that allowed its fortified long view of the surrounding valleys. Sometimes it even has its head literally in the clouds. Built in 1222 by the Count of Toulouse, a Cathar heretic, and with many 13th and 14th gothic homes still preserved inside the fortified walls, the town of Cordes ("rocky heights") was renamed in 1993 to reflect its romantic appeal to artists and tourists. On our walk uphill, we visited the printing studio of textile artist Rowena Maybourne, tucked in a narrow 13th-century house with her main studio up the winding stairs on the 3rd floor.
For atmosphere, here are some of my photos from our uphill walk on narrow worn cobblestone streets to the town center at the top -- flowers blooming everywhere, wonderful juxtaposed textures of old stone and weathered wood, ubiquitous shuttered windows. The vivid blue sky was somehow, unfortunately, too ethereal for my camera. But if you visit my new friend Cathy Mogull's blog, you'll see some great photos there of the whole week.
Even where stone wall meets stone walk, there's usually a bit of flowering garden.
Finally, up to the town center inside the town's walls, where our sculpted greeter waited just outside one of the main gates. By appointment, we ate lunch in a restaurant specializing in a medieval menu, quite tasty, served with spoon and knife only, no devil's fork. Then a little shopping was followed by the trek back down the hill.
Old sewing machines lined up in the leather shop where Cathy bought her soft green suede boots.
Flowers carved from wood, then perfumed, were light enough for me to buy a big bouquet to fill a glass urn at home.
Leaving town, we stopped at a couple more small antique shops, where I noticed this old brocante wagon waiting its revival.