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Trilogy and traditions of Provence

The Provençal trilogy

Under this generic term, the trilogy Provence, I wanted to present three specific phenomena of Provence, which are olive trees, lavender and Rabasse, best-known of the foodies as the truffle. These products are worthy representatives of the customs, folklore, the richness of the heritage Provençal and Mediterranean.They are the keepers of customs and value an art of living, a way of thinking. The trilogy Provence symbolizes in what it represents, a country, a people, a region, a man. The olive tree, lavender and truffle are symbols of the eternal Provence.

The olive tree

The olive tree is a precious of the Oleaceae family, meaning wood tree, which produces oil. Cultivated for millennia now in the countries of the Mediterranean basin, its mere presence allows to set a climate zone of average altitude called "the Region of the olive tree. Countries of the olive tree belong for the vast majority to the Mediterranean, and the France, has 13 departments producers of olives and olive oil. 5th row of the States of Western Europe, it lies only to the 14th World rank or level of its reports of productions, olives and olive oil.
Botanists agree that the olive tree is native to Asia minor and that its development is due to the conquests made over the centuries around the Mediterranean. The Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans are the main propagators of the culture of the olive tree.
In our current France, the olive tree appeared in the 6th century BC, at the founding of Massalia (Marseille) by the Phocaeans. The Greeks made crowns for crowned the winners of the games of Olympus, and the Romans for swearing brave citizens, warriors and military leaders with well-deserved of Rome.
But also used for oil it gives thanks to its fruits for the lighting of the lamps, the Gladiators that is rubbed body oil before a fight, for baths and the thermal baths, and the base of the Mediterranean diet. In antiquity, the olive represented peace and wisdom, but also the glory and triumph.
Olive trees are evergreen trees up to 15 meters in height and able to live very old. "The Region of the olive tree" is characterized by an average altitude between the edge of the sea and 7-800 metres above sea level supporting climatic conditions down winter below - 8 ° C. The tree adapts to all types of terrain and is easily reproduced by choses and olive stones fallen on the ground, or by grafting.

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Species and blooms

There are over a hundred different species, a quarantine is recognised for the production of olives and olive oil. The most frequent being the Olea Europae, or Olivier of Europe. Many olive trees that grow in the wild but large groves (groves, or groves) cultivated together sometimes several acres subject to a thorough culture. Size occurs between the end of the harvest (late winter) and the beginning of the first blooms, in March and April. The natural predators of the olive tree are the fly of Olive (olea Dacus), cochineal, ringworm, the sooty and black mushroom. Only an effective bacterial treatment allows to overcome the attacks suffered by the olive trees.
Their flowering is in spring, between May and June, and pollination is not the fact of insects, but wind. It's called wind pollination. The leaves of the tree are smooth edges, top of a brilliant green, the underside of a whitish green rougher to the touch. Leaves are said to be whole and opposite on the branches and twigs, and oblong in shape. The olive tree regenerates its foliage by third party makes an evergreen tree. Flowers small and white, grouped in panicles (clustered), they appear between May and June depending on the region of implantation. The pollination is anemophilous, 5 to 8% only of the flowers are fertilized to produce olives.
The olive is the fruit of the olive tree, but also an oleaginous fleshy substance of oval shape with a very hard core in the Middle also called drupe. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no two varieties of olive trees, one giving green olives, the other black olives. A green olive becomes black if allowed to ripen on the tree.
An olive tree door green olives in July-August, then these same olives become black in October-November. The pulp of the fruit is green and has a bitter taste (olive green), black-purple or black, when the olive reaches maturity (black olive).


Picking or Olivades, depends on the final destination of the olives. The olivades take place generally between late fall and early winter. Traditionally the harvest has three different processes.
The first, the most ancestral is one that consists in picking the olives directly on the tree, handmade, with the combs and rakes adapted to the dimensions of the fingers and Palm.
The second is via sticks, to the means of a long stick, Gaul, which allows by shaking the branches of the tree to fruit drop in large nets (most often white or orange) previously stretched under the antlers. The third method is mechanized and applies mainly on large flat surfaces using tractors equipped with vibrators shaking the branches, so, to choir in tanks, or trailers, black olives. This practice, modern, fast, has the unfortunate downside of damage as a result, the branches of the olive tree.
There is a fourth method which it gladly happen to confess that it is practiced! And yet... It nevertheless takes with the wind as it becomes at that time, picker, or the lover of olives. Large nets are stretched under the trees, and where rises the lover of olives, the Mistral, fruit rush on the ground, in the sheets lying at the foot of the olive trees. Effective method, but still need to fold it in half to pick up olives because there is not, for the moment, method to bring olives dais baskets... This olive is the most picturesque are known, even if sometimes the Earth is much lower in our midi!

Provencal olive oil

The destination of the olives is to be brought to the mill for the manufacture of the Sun gods Limpide, or gold of the gods, Olive oil.
You will notice the subtleties of language, it does takes its olives to the mill, is the precious harvest to the Mercan which will be transformed into oil.
The Mercan is a sucker who is unaware: it is sucker when it transforms Cereal flours, and becomes Mercan when it operates the same Alchemy with olives to extract the oil.
There are a quantity of different appellations for olive oil, according to the successive pressings made treatments, know only as the best of them for the consommât, and the purest of all, is the high quality extra virgin olive oil, or first cold pressed olive oil. Its original color is yellow gold, rarely green as there is a tendency to find on the supermarket shelves currently, how color Mint syrup.
The report is generally devoted to 1/4, or 1/5th. That is, it should be porter-on average - 4 kilos of olives to obtain one litre of oil more pure and more fruity.
The olive is used in all the sauces: cooking recipes, Pharmacopoeia, perfumery, crafts, cosmetics, soaps (including the famous «Marseillais 72%»), condiments, Tapenade and olive paste of Nice (crushed olive paste or "Caviar of the Mediterranean"), religion, breadmaking, pictorial motifs of furniture, gardens and ornamentation, agriculture, holidays, fairs and markets, health and diets, medicine, prevention of cardiovascular diseases...

Symbolic Provencal and world

Often grown alongside the vine, that they share the same patron Saint, which is no Olivier, but Saint-Vincent (celebrated on 22 January), the olive tree is still regarded as a sign of peace in the world. It appears on the flag of the United Nations, protecting the White Dove that carries in its beak an olive branch. Similar to that which has just announce the end of the flood Noah on Earth.
In Provence, l'olivier is truly a symbol because it depends on the destiny of a region. In addition to the olive groves that it populates, it adorns our campaigns, our due walks seaside, our garden of Eden. Quite rightly it is protected by prefectorial orders. Its tree of the French heritage label, implies that if a plant is felled or uprooted, another shall immediately succeed him. Thus, the olive tree could still welcome in his antlers, crickets, cicadas and other crickets that mixing in their singing gives those faces all the traditions of a nation, will make us enjoy long yet of these radiant melodies continuing late into the night to resume more beautiful in the first rays of the rising sun, him giving his mission among men: the olive treethe tree of life.
Among the many and multiple orientations that arise to the Verdon Regional Natural Park, there is one regarding the rehabilitation of the olive tree. Thus, everywhere where it will be possible, within the confines of the Park, with groves will be maintained, maintained, other developed, in order to maintain this tradition. It is a sign, if you don't have an altimeter and if you have olive trees, you can be certain in the region of the Gorges du Verdon, that you approach the 700 metres above sea level. From the Col de L'olivier, Verdon right bank (and this, until his loss in the Durance) all lined olive trees are therefore implicitly involved in this vast programme! To symbolize this rehabilitation and glorify somehow 'our olive tree', it is likely that a seedling is planted at the pass of the olive tree in the spring or during the summer 2000, a small ceremony devoted to... the olive tree and the Verdon, in the presence of this symbolic tree and the 'friends of the Olivette' lovers, of Moustiers Ste. Marie.
Note the visit of three regional museums close to the Verdon, devoted to the tree as a symbol of the Mediterranean: "the Museum of Arts and popular Traditions" in Draguignan, "the House of the olive tree" in Le Val (in southern France), and the Castle Museum of Hauts-de-Cagnes, in the Alpes-Maritimes.


Blue, violet, purple or lilac frank and pure, this is the physiognomy of lavender. This emblematic species stretching along the hills, plateaus and valleys of Aix-en-Provence in Valencia, and Uzès to Tende. It means 'Region of the olive tree', we constantly brag about the charms and the merits of the 'Lavender country'.Flourishing Earth and skies of azure, in the midst of the thyme, garrigues, and genets, it forms an aromatic and colorful country like no other. Cultivated by hand since the 13th century for its medicinal properties in France, lavender can be found in the 19th, his land home and favourite: the Midi of the France.
Lavender is not lonely, she rubs shoulders with his accomplices who are the Mistral, bees, and the cicadas, insects from the Sun. The country of lavender is an invitation to travel, the paths of lavender, an adventure to the blue, green and gold country blue sky and lavender, green plants and olive trees, the gold of the Sun which makes it eternal.

Perfumeries and cosmetics

The plant belongs to the family Labiatae representing more than 30 genera, divided into 2,500 different species. Known for millennia, growing in the wild in Provence, the plant rises between the edge of the sea and 1400 metres above sea level. Its etymology comes from the latin lavare meaning washing. Its use dates back to ancient times and it is known that the Romans used it to flavor their bath and freshen clothes. Like what, we not have invented anything! Lavender culture was not only intended for the perfume, since its juices fell into the composition of a traditional pharmacopoeia of balms, ointments, SALVES and teas and varied.The oldest medical and cosmetic formulas have survived.
That she either famous appellations of the water of Luce, Eau de Cologne, or water of the Knights Templar, the exhilarating scent of the flower and the beneficial essence drawn from the stem, have allowed to develop a true historical heritage in which scientists, botanists and physicians were able to develop a source of essential activities that comes in a multitude of areas : antiseptic, tonic, invigorating, calming nerves and burns, recommended for dizziness and migraines, diuretic, soothing... Without forgetting the perfumery and cosmetics which are today more turned to this traditional culture.
Wild inhabitant of our Mediterranean lands, it is from the second half of the 19th century is considered an intensive and mercantile culture of lavender and its derivatives. At that time, the Provencal peasants began to maintain and treat wild lavanderaies for the development of the plant. The exodus began in the 1850s empty campaigns of their inhabitants, leaving behind previously cultivated fields and hills. In a region that extends, from North to South, the Monts du Ventoux at the Castellanais, and is in West, the Vercors to the foothills of the Alps, composed mainly of limestone, silica and rocky soils called the Alps dry, farmers will recover abandoned land, somehow, to implement, grow and raise fields covered with Lavender. Therefore, the plant is gone from of traditional culture and family to intensive cultivation, or intensive farming to be more precise.

Plateau of Valensole, perfumery in Grasse and categories of lavender

With regard to the region of the Gorges du Verdon, you should know that lavender, absent from the landscape at the beginning of the 20th century, will appear only in the post-war years, circa 1920. On the Plateau de Valensole, almond and walnut trees, intended for the production of oils of consumption or liqueurs, or flour, accounted with cereals an important source of income.
Little by little, with the commercial boom met through lavender, Valensole growers will diversify and maintain large lavanderaies. Wheat and almond trees will be replaced by these purple plants that wave to gre of the winds and the Mistral in particular. The first distilleries are earlier. They date back to the 1880s.
At that time, the city of perfumes, Grasse consumes an industrial amount of lavender for the confection of waters of toilet, bathroom, and salts of a cosmetics and perfume growing activity. The lavandiculture will reach the highest point in 1980, with new departments in the Midi that will now devote himself to this mode of culture.
The departments of the Alpes de Haute-Provence, Gard, Drôme, Vaucluse, de l ' Ardèche, var, Alpes Maritimes and finally of the Hautes-Alpes represent more than 60% of the national production, all varieties taken together, and contribute to the France the first producer and lavenders Lavandula, well before the rest of the world.
Lavender is a typical French plant. Without going into detail, there are three main species of lavender grown, growing also in the wild:
the Maritime lavender, also known as Hyères Lavender or lavandula stoechas, used mainly for garnish with flower beds; It grows on the edge of the Mediterranean;
•    the lavender Fine, or True Lavender, used since antiquity, prefer mountainous areas between 600 and 1,400 meters above sea level, and may meet in England, Bulgaria and even Romania. Little camphor essence is revealed of extreme finesse and is the subject of an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée for its quality (lavandu the officinalis, lavandula vera). It is Lavender so-called female;
•    the lavender Aspic, or Great lavender, whose stems are higher, who loves hot, dry land below an altitude of 600 metres. This male lavender, called Aspic because reptiles that are at the foot of the plant shelter (Viper aspic), represents the culture of the most common lavender because most used in perfumery.
•    Lavender, a hybrid obtained by crossing between ASP and the Fine. Below 600 meters of altitude, Provencal peasants had noticed that a greater and more robust than other plant tended to push in the middle of the massifs. They called it "lavender bastarde" (bastard Lavender).
In 1927, a reputable laboratory in Grasse leaned on the culture of this new plant and came to the conclusion that only browsers insects were responsible for this hybridization.
More robust, more productive, lavender eventually replace Lavender farms and production premises. For novices, should not be confused between a plant called "Purple Sage" and various lavenders. Is that égrainant a few seeds and the perfume that you can make the difference! On the Plateau de Valensole known under the generic term of Plateau of lavender, lavender has replaced varieties of Fine and Aspic. One of the drawbacks of lavender comes from the fact that the plant is sterile. We must therefore think about multiplying by choses of the species still called cloning. Cloning of lavender, unlike the genetically modified, or transgenic, plants that make the news, does not at all match the same criteria.
This is, in relation to the lavender and since the 1950s, of a purely natural operation without common measure with maize or other species which changes the natural gene for atrophy it, more to expand. Some species of Lavandula, include the most famous such as DG, Lavandin Grosso, the Abrial, Special Gregory...

Distillation process

Distillation as it has three main processes, who are the former model alembic to naked flame, the contemporary model of alembic still naked flame, and the still by steam distillation.
It would be long and tedious to enter descriptions of these processes explained in my book on lavender, let's just say that the last method is the one used most commonly today.
What is being done with the lavender outside species and eau de Cologne? So products, such as, nougat, honey, candy, sweets, and even the kitchen! Not to mention the drink of the gods, who, more than a beverage is the liquor of the gods, Mead. This drink once replaced the wine at the table of the peoples of Northern Europe by giving it a divine origin. Viscous liquid obtained by leaving macerate the honey mixture over water, and which fermented, turns into an alcoholic beverage. Mead, designed indirectly by lavender, is the fruit of bees that fly frantically over the fields and the flowers in July and August, to develop honey. Honey was the sugar from our elders before the discovery of the sugar cane, sugar we consume today. As honey, in the image of olive oil, there are several origins and different designations: whole virgin honey or honey, fine honey, common honey... Among these varieties there are honey lavender, the creamiest and more fragrant flowers honey...
And, if you have the opportunity to visit the Gorges du Verdon to the end of August and the beginning of the month of September, do not hesitate to visit the Plateau of lavender. You will be able to attend the distillation of Lavender 'live'. Distilleries, or laundries, craft you will deliver a few secret previously required distillation processes. Spot them is quite simple, just locate the high chimneys that vaporize in the pure air their plume of fragrant white smoke, around Riez, Valensole, Puimoisson, coming of Moustiers Ste. Marie, to the North, Lake St. Croix, Bauduen Baudinard and Ste-Croix-de-Verdon, in the South.Nevertheless, a handful of producers farmers on the right road that links La Palud to Moustiers, including the neck of Ryan and the Gorges but. But beware, the water of lavender or lavender extract are not sold per litre, but per kilo.

Tourist routes of lavender

There are three:
•    "the road of lavender by hiking trails" departing from locations close to the places of production.
•    "The road of lavender", an idea dating back to 1951, at PoriIone of Mr Pierre MARTEL (strange coincidence, this man bears the same name as our MARTEL of the Verdon) relaunch the project of a tourist Highway, implemented in 1997 by the Committee on Regional Tourism Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur. This "lavender Route" through the Gorges du Verdon, Castellane, Moustiers-Ste-Marie, Riez, Valensole by. This geographical area is named after the "Country of Valensole and Verdon".
•    "the Route of the lavender route" that de Grasse in Moustiers Ste. Marie, passing through St-André-les-Alpes, Aiguines and the Gorges du Verdon, form a circuit of cycling routes that have the label Federal of the Fédération Française de Cyclotourisme. But given the physically hard to cross reliefs, a good physical condition is required.
"- The lavender, is the soul of the Haute Provence...," said Jean CIONO, say that, at the dawn of a Europe that federates, the identity of the Provencal customs pérennisera if men and women continue their work in now these cultural traditions of the past. Climate and Earth are harsh by home, and so do not always rely on clichés "postcard" magazines that tout the charms of a country or life is a heavenly sign. If EOF is colorful, if the focus is playful, if the facondes are humorous, and if the galejades are funny is to forget the harshness of the land. Cut Lavender is part of the decor. It must be bent in half for mowing the baiasse (the bundle of lavender) and pile knows if, here, the land is low... So, to exorcise these painful hours to pick up the lavender under a sky of fire, we sing, we dance, merrier, while distilling the juice of the blue flowers, to draw the fragrance of the gods: the water of lavender.
•    lavanderaies: fields of lavender.
•    laundries: Lavender distilleries.
•    washerwoman: women who wash the clothes, which water is flavored with Lavender.
In this trilogy of Provence, lavender is the second of the symbols of the eternal Provence, should be addressed as early as now the third provencal symbol, and not the least...

Rabasse or Provencal truffles

This name may seem strange, and merge with picks up, but has nothing to do with him, because the rabasse is actually the famous "truffle Provençale". Pick-up nor the rabasse, the cellar. Not in a dark underground room, but beneath the surface of the ground! Last representative of this trilogy Provence, truffle, carries all the symbols of culinary and traditional Provence. So the truffle of Provence is called, in the ignorant, the "black truffles of the Perigord", when it comes to pass in front of the piano, in other words, before furnaces...
Without a fly, a solid oak, a dog or a pig, it isn't rabasse or rabassier. The rabassier is the man who in his autumn adventure, is sinking under the Oaks singed to meet what the illustrated BRILLAT SAVARIN named as 'the kitchen... Black Diamond'.

Some species of truffles

The truffle is an underground fungus, there are different species. The Perigord and Provence are the most renowned extraction sites, cavees truffles being here and by far the best, tastiest, and most famous that are in the world.
Truffle is actually a fungus that grows under the Surface of the ground, or Hypogeal ascomycete, which maintains with the tree, most often a pubescent oak or holm oak, a symbiosis that is based on mycorrhiza, in other words, by a Exchange gas and molecules for the development of the fungus.
Truffles, there are nearly forty different species including the most coveted is the Tuber Melanosporum called, and sometimes unfairly, Périgord black truffle. 80% of domestic production is located in the southeast of the France, the fungus favouring calcareous and siliceous soils to grow respectably.
The image of a man helped a sow moving oak oak looking for truffles is a somewhat outdated image. The use of a porcine muzzled leading man at the foot of the truffle dates back to the 17th century. A hand, because the pig is very fond, and on the other hand, because it takes the rabassier a solid handshake if he does not wish to see the precious find engulfed by the watch before the famous black fungus. We prefer, and by far, dogs who are more compliant, more efficient and less voracious. As for hunting, or keep the sheep becomes not dog truffle who wants, and from one day to the next. Dachshunds, the Petits Pyrénées, the various, and Gryphons and the races of shepherds, are the dogs most commonly encountered on the truffle course. These are the most common breeds of these regions.

The invention of the truffle

Known and identified the truffle predators are humans in particular, but also wild boar, as their cousins pigs, and the Roussatre Vole, a small rodent to the fawn dress.
Joseph TALON, farmer in St Saturnin les Apt, in the Vaucluse, invented in the years 1811, and without knowing, what would be the contemporary truffle.Indeed, the germination of acorns fallen contributes to the development of the truffle. Wild boar, great lover of acorns and truffles, turns and returns to Earth in search of his favorite treats. It helps the oxygenation and the renewal of the Earth.
The autumn leaves fall to the ground freshly bruised and protects against the cold while now some moisture conducive to the development of our black fungus (not to be confused with the black fungus, which enters the composition of Asian dishes, including the overused term represents in fact edible algae). Our man therefore, passionate rabassier, threw hither and thither acorns of oak during its summer and fall walks, while staying focused on his truffle research.
The law of Nature doing its office, land, wild boars, birds, and oak gave birth to natural truffle. Where the ancestral method which has continued until us because nobody found nothing better far to create spaces for the development of the truffle.
After a few years, the presence of the fungus invades the root system and clears around the trunk of the tree, any presence of vegetation, this is what is called the "burned".
To "facilitate" the search for truffles, can rely on flies. Finally, a fly without which the man and the dog would be nothing: the fly Rabassiere, who has the unfortunate habit of laying its eggs in the land where truffles grow naturally... The insect is second nature to stay close to her eggs and soar when it is disturbed in his habits. When fly flies away, so it (easy you might say, but nothing is less...) easier to locate the place where the renowned fungus hides. By digging with a picouloun (small rake in 2 or 3 teeth), or a pine branch, the caveur can take the rabasse and renger in his baiasse, in other words, its satchel.

From the ground to our plates

The truffle, best-known for its olfactory qualities as aphrodisiacs, unearthed in gold prices in markets that hold their trestle between December and February. The years of low «harvest», prices may still climb. We have to get up before the Sun to assist secret transactions between "Truffle" and "dealers - consumers. The negotiations are progressing, and only species are accepted, non-credit home... This real ' great ' mass of truffle "lasts only a few handfuls of minutes and everyone then scattered to the four corners of markets, somewhat like insects on their treasures... The market of the truffle of Aups (close to the Gorges du Verdon) is the third of France, holding every Thursday morning from December to February. Not miss under any pretext, the truffle days which take place annually in December in Gréoux-les-Bains.
In the Gorges du Verdon, no large truffle until recent times. A few known sites that shared the truffle.
But, do not try to caver only truffles, because no dog and no knowledge of places, you will be easier to get in trade! Land being the most part of the time, or private properties or communal lands, will be exposed to lawsuits. The truffle exist near Aiguines and on the road leading to Bauduen. There, these lands appear in edge of the route (private plots). There is also, in the image of the olive tree, and lavender, "the Route of the truffle", in the Haut-Var. Mons in Vinon-sur-Verdon, this circuit of black gold, passes through Aups and St-Julien-de-Verdon. This highway of discoveries could eventually stop at Aiguines who was in his time one of the meccas of the coveted fungus, and result in Gréoux-les-Bains, another interesting trufficulteur centre of this region.
But, beware of imitations! Some of these fungi are disguised as black truffle of Provence, or of Périgord, but are in reality only the designations commonly employed to designate the truffle of China or Italy, whose flesh is white. Their outward appearance, for a novice, like stroke for stroke to our famous fungus.Only, once cut in half our forger has the milky white body, and not this aspect black ebony or fleshy Brown we know him. Its price also varies, our truffle placebo costs about 10 to 20 times less than his illustrious cousin Tuffer Melanosporum...
What more to this land, daughter of the Sun, where it is known that it causes the water of lavender fragrance of the gods, Mead in liquor of the gods, the olive oil in the gold of the gods, the truffle dishes of the gods...

Traditions Verdoniennes

Hunting, fishing and... Ancestral traditions!
Other traditions are also entrenched in morals. Apart from Petanque, hunting and fishing are part of the image of the country of the Verdon. It is not a family without his fighter jet or its fisherman.
I .es companies of hunts are also well represented in this magical country. Most of the hunting is dedicated to wild boar. Predator truffles of course, but also great devastating crops, whose anarchic development of population is considerable over recent years.
These swine coming to the gates of the great cities of the coast and undertake even on Highway routes, causing episodic car accidents.
Such point that some municipalities should organize the management of their green spaces. A new swine coming even to appear, the «Cochonglier», miscegenation between a boar and a sow!
Other species, such as deer or chamois, more rarely are the objective of this organized hunting because they represent populations very little numerous.
These animals cause less damage than wild boar. Some hiking trails are to be avoided, especially before 14h.00 during hunting, because the beats (with wild boar) are organized, in the forests and wooded Gorges du Verdon region areas.

The fauna present in the Gorges du Verdon

Little commonplace phenomenon, since "Manon des Sources" and Marcel PAGNOL, it is fun to see that women and girls are often empowered to carry out the herds of goats (variety of 'alpine goat', which enjoyed a period of expansion for its excellent qualities of lactation). A tradition somehow, respected.
Endangered a few years ago, the Ane grey of Provence sees its population to stabilize. The donkey is the favorite animal of farmers in the Mediterranean basin: strong, robust, happening everywhere, feeding on what it finds, a little "camel" in the sense that it supports well the great heats, and that it is not everything. His character is also close to that of the camel...
And then, the little grey donkey is one that deals around the shot platello (necklace to cowbells) and supporting equipment and food to the Shepherd when the major transhumance from mid-June to mid-October. It is the animal survival of the man in the hat felt and large blue cloak.


Denser and better represented than it is currently, so-called wild fauna was in importance until the mid 20th century. Mass tourism, the proximity of the military camp, the development of localities, the creations of tracks for 4 x 4 vehicles, bike and off-road motorcycle, frequent overflights of the Gorge by helicopters and aircraft of tourism, hunting, or even the creation and installation of artificial lakes, dams, and power lines, are the main factors of impoverishment of the mountains and massifs of the Verdon. As in the torrent as well as the artificial lakes, the discharge of wastewater and some form of pollution prevent a better development of aquatic fauna.
For some time, it has been noted the development of a plant aquatic, named in a barbaric way 'Potamogeton Pectinatus', in the form of an alga to broom, which is located in the waters of the River, but also Lakes and tends to flourish. A Scientific Committee has been tasked to ensure on this parasitic plant.
At the same time a flow that is never the same as perpetual mutations: turbinages, releases of dams, you get endemic imbalance.
The most frequently encountered species are the Fario trout or trout Jackieml, the Hotu, the Roach, the Blageon, perch, tench and carp, and the Chubs. The Chubs are real predatory fish that invade water bodies and the Green torrent. A repopulation of the torrent and the Lakes occurs regularly, and the fish reserves are numerous to the delight of fishermen.
Butterflies and insects are very well represented and do not seem to suffer the vagaries of depopulation. A real Chase was organized a few years ago when a butterfly who had the bad idea to be referred to as Parnasus Apollo had elected domicile in this region.
Phytophagous beetles are numerous. Bees are in spaces of games and harvests with the proximity of the Valensole Plateau or Plateau of lavender. The presence of the hives located near fields, to Valensole, and even to Aiguines, where a producer-farmer elected domicile, and on the Montdenier greenhouse, North of Moustiers Ste. Marie.
Riez is also notes the presence of beehives. Bees are in this country the purpose of attentive care for lavender honey whose fame is more to do.
Roe deer and chamois are very poorly represented. Sometimes alone, rarely in pairs, these deer prefer the mountains and pulled over to the North. Weasels, Martens and weasels are more subdued but nonetheless present. Not to mention the case of wild boars who are here in land conquered. The hares, squirrels, mice and voles are species that have seen their representation decreased this decade. Foxes and Badgers are always prominently.

Visible birds in the Verdon

Species have disappeared over the years past, such as the ermine, Groundhog, Wolf, Beaver, or certain varieties of nozzles and Harriers, falcons, or Eagles. All these animals have preferred to move further north to places more favourable to their development.
The Eagle also left the mountains of the Verdon to find conducive to his rhetoric tunes. Some species are still present on the different floors of the site, such as the short-toed eagle Jean Le Blanc, owls, Dukes and Grand Dukes, Peregrine Falcon, the great pie, or Ravens.
They remain with the birds of the principal inhabitants of the Verdon rocks. Not to mention no longer colonies of passerines, Jays, Pipits, Robins and Pigeons Bisets the species has given its name to the «Baume aux pigeons» extension of the corridor of Samson.
Ornithological studies there are twenty years now, have shown that the Gorges du Verdon were inhabited by 130 species of birds grouped under the term of species Vielleuses. This figure is declining, there is less nowadays. The breeding species, or the rocks birds, include swallow, swift, the black Pie and Pie Grieche, Pic Epeche, and the good old Sparrow, often accompanied by cuckoos and Robins. Other species have fled!
Difficult to ignore and ignore the presence of "Bat" which performs beautiful figures in EBP-motte as early as the end of the day.
It has already been made mention previously, but it is good to point out the reintroduction of vultures Fawn in the Gorges of the Verdon. Park contributed to this new company (whose the beginnings date back to 1996) by promoting the operation conducted jointly by the association "Vultures in Haute-Provence" (whose headquarters is based in Castellane), the National Office of forests and 'the League for the Protection of birds.

Reptiles and amphibians

If there is one well represented, of species, and which finds here the favourable to its development, it is indeed reptiles and the amphibians. If big toads can surprise hikers on the trails of the Gorges (Imbut, Martel), snakes may scare away more than one. The site, sunlight, heat, moisture, rock and living conditions, are a place of habitat for the maintenance of these species.
Snakes are by far the most numerous (including the Montpellier snake), followed by a large number of different varieties of vipers (including ASP). Vipers found in all stages of the site, from the bottom of the Gorge to the top of the Mourre de Chanier, passing through cracks in the rock cliffs. It has even happened that climbers will be bitten by a Viper in their climbs. Slow worms, lizards, and small scorpions (harmless) are part of the lot.
Species that abound, include a large population of lizards, which colonies interest us more particularly since it is sort of the 'logos' which appear on some directional signs on the trails of the Gorges. I will mention the Green Lizard or Lo Limbert (still called Lambert, whose it is better do not undergo the bite deep and muscular), but also the Gecko or La Taranta, and finally, the most renowned, lizard, or the Lagremusa. The Lagramusa which can be seen drawn on signs of routes, and which also gave its name "a newsletter written in French and Provençal"Lei Lagramusas". Climbers are given as an emblem that little animal that defies all laws of gravity.
All these species serpentine, less sympathetic than the other occupants of the Verdon sites, found in these places favourable to their good development country.Particularly in Canyon School of the Artuby, paradise of the reptilian species.
Wildlife, it also and as a whole belongs to the Heritage Verdonnien. Let us defend it to protect it better.
With the presence of the Park, wildlife has indeed, and as a whole, of a protection wider than before. For example, shortly before the 2000s, it was reported in the regional press, the appearance of the Lynx in the Haut-Var. A couple of Lynx would be established for years in the forests around the Roque-Esclapon, most South of Bargème. The proximity of the Canjuers military Camp offers this predator refuge and asylum. Paradoxical as it might let it appear, the military zone these Lynx offers a deposit securing because they thus escape the boar beats and packs of dogs responsible for pick up traces of suidae and fortiori, they avoid the line of sight of the hunters...


We cannot conclude without talk of the bat, named in Nice "Ratapignata', living of the Carnival of Nice symbol, but also emblematic of pro-independence nice, during the annexation of the County to the France, in 1860. The Ratapignata in the County of Nice to oppose the Eagle which it remains the other living symbol since it is the only one to appear on the arms of the Riviera capital.
Locusts and crickets alive by their enchanting screeching meadows, plateaus, and fields. Finding refuge under stones at the time of the heat, creating a joyful racket where everyone speaks to that better better.

The cicada, emblem of Provence

Provence would be not what it is if it was not lulled by the melodious song of the sirens Provencal, cicadas. A scientific name that was given to them is which translates Mule PBN, the cicada which "sings all summer and who found himself quite lacking when the winter came" (Jean De LAFONTAINE "the cicada and the Ant")... The development of the larva is done under the Earth, at the foot of pine or oak. Then, when the insect became adult, he breaks free from its envelope and climbs trees. The adult cicada, does not exceed 3 to 5 centimeters long, feeds on SAP, and its life expectancy only lasts 3-4 months.
By the beginning of June to mid-August, these are a melodious symphonies that punctuate the life, the passion but also dawn which brings its first rays, deep of the night, "... Ksss.Ksss... ... Ksss"rock our souls, our hearts, and when the cicadas sing is an entire people who wakes up.
Three features of this insect are easily identifiable:
•    The first is that the cicada sings rarely after 15-20 August - unless the summer well intends to play extra time;
•    the second, is that if she sang late into the night, 2 or 3 days that will come are likely to be stunned by the heat,
•    and the third, is that when the storm threatens in broad daylight, the cicadas are silent. They will resume their singing haunting with the return of the rays of the star benefactor.
The cicada is not born in the South for nothing, peuchere! She is also daughter of the Sun. And if she sings, it is to honour the Sun, but also, to better to charm his male, because it is the full breeding season...


During your walks, and throughout your routes, you'll be led to discover a rich and varied flora. The diversity of species makes this country a welcoming and colourful area. Some species of flowers or plants are endemic to the site, i.e., that they grow in the majority here, little or not at all elsewhere. The Verdon Gorges are located in an area of average mountain, from 500 to 1930 meters above sea level and benefit of climatic influences of two origins: low-alpine and Mediterranean.

The common species in the Verdon

The species alternated and different, and sometimes found side by side, the Bellflower rocks with the Columbine of the Alps. Among the most common, and also the most easily recognizable, besides the bluebells, the broom of Spain and mountain, Lily Tyler and lys Orange, the Gentians of Koch and other varieties of spring Gentians, lavender, blue thistle, boxwood, Juniper, the Panicauts, blueberries, poppies (Papaveraceae, poppy poppy) troll d'Europe, blushing Peony, keep to ostrich feathers, hemispherical Rampion, the seal of Solomon (CA. the trail of the Imbut), Ivy, the blood and liver, Wild Roses and hips (elegantly called 'rose'), the Houseleek (yellow) Etoilees, and finally, a few species of orchids as the Ophris bee, Orchis soldier, Serapia (lingua and cordigera), the male Orchis Orchis Barlia, and the Nigritelles.
But also the compendial Primroses, broths whites, the candle of our Lady, the Viperines, Salvia officinalis, Solomon's seal, the Meadow Vetchling, the Cirsium acaule, dyers Sarrette, Lys de St-Benoît, the Bugle, the forget-me-nots of the Woods, mountains, the Muscari in clusters, Borage knapweed... And sumac (or wig tree) come in the fall bring their vibrant vivid red colour and punctuate their presence in the massifs. It is a plant which cannot help, once again, to quote, so its mere presence brightens a place, a site, a meadow: the Carline, or barometer of the shepherds. Carline to caule (or acaule), i.e. without stem, or Carline high, are part of the family of thistles. It's this plant which the villagers said that the Shepherd knows how to talk to elements when he predicted the weather.
The Carline opens to the first light of dawn and flourishes when the time is fixed. If, on the other hand, the heart of the Thistle closes, it is sign of rain or cold. That is why the carline is diabolical for the laymen, and it remains the barometer of the shepherds, conferring this strange power over the elements...

Herbs and thyme liqueur

What is vulgarly called "Herbes de Provence", it is preferable to called them "aromatics". Here too the list is long: thyme (farigoule), thyme Lemongrass, Laurel, Sage, thyme (thyme variety), oregano (or Marjoram), savory, Rosemary, fennel, Phoenician Juniper, wild garlic...
That is what you usually find when it comes to cuisine of the Sun or liqueurs from grandmother recipes!
Their presence on the ground s Provençal "is performed in two ways:
•    the first through the past invasions carried out by men from the East, and North Africa.
•    the second, with the proximity and trade in the port of Marseille who promoted the contribution of new traditions, in the form of spices and aromatics.
About thyme, it is a liqueur to no other similar and can be prepared easily, nothing does prohibit it: liqueur of thyme that we prefer title Farigoule or Farigoulette.
To do this, just pick flowers of thyme in June, the most favourable period because the plant is at its highest maturity, then let them macerate 3 to 4 weeks in fruit alcohol.
Add sugar, filter, allow to stand. Filter again before consuming. You can also complete the mixture with other ingredients if you want (either a handful of currants, or a few juniper berries, or even some strawberries or a few cherries, orange or lemon peel), filter again after letting the mixture sit 4-5 days. You will get a dynamic liqueur, strong with lots of character! It is not forbidden to prepare this liquor because you don't need a still for the precious beverage one hundred per cent natural...
For this recipe, you need to use 250 grams of thyme flowers for one litre of alcohol from fruit. 250 grams of thyme flowers are 4-5 hours of gathering patient and careful...

Disappearance of certain plants

The presence of a rich and varied flora should not forget either, an impoverishment of their species on soils of the Verdon. Pollution and releases of harmful gases into the atmosphere contribute to this phenomenon.
The wild pickings due to a misunderstanding of these rare species favour these disappearances. There, in the Gorges du Verdon, species and varieties listed in table protected plants. Some pickings abusive or reckless may result in lawsuits.
For savvy purists and botanists, here are a few these plant (cited above) encountered in the zone of the Gorges du Verdon:-Ajuga Genevensis, Alopecuus Gerardi, Astragalus, na Sempervirens, Calamagrostidetum, Cytisus Scoparius, Carlina ulis, Dactylorhiza Maculata, Echium Vulgare, Juniper inicie, Muscari Racemosum, Chaerophyllum Bulbosum, Ophrysctifera, Orobanche Minore, Papaver Rhoeas, Phyteumetum llarsii, Phyteuma Spicatum, Primula Veris, Ranunculus Pyrenaeus, juxifagetum Lingulatae, Trollius Europaeus, Taraxacum Spike, Verbascum Thapsus,... and numerous other species yet... including the (kutiana Lutea very rare in this country).
Strange and noted phenomenon on the ground, Nature operating its backup, some flowers tend to move away from places of passages for foothold in areas little or rarely frequented. Common flora as it takes advantage of the slightest pushes to settle, even up to nest in tiny cracks in the rock. Good herbs and weeds is sharing the fiefs.


Participating in the lung of oxygen that represents the Mediterranean forest, the massifs of the Verdon are part of a policy of development of the sites forming a local heritage for Commons.
The National Forestry Office, or O.N.F., which can be seen the initials on the trunks of trees, are actively involved in this recovery, maintaining three large forest massifs main (among others) in this area:
•    Northeast of Castellane and Castillon Lake, the «forest Domaniale de Chamatte»
•    East of the Gorge and North of these, the "forest Domaniale des Gorges du Verdon»
•    Finally West and Northwest, the «forest Domaniale du Montdenier».
Extensive forest covers the area is the Lake of Ste - Croix, and the perimeter of the cities of Salles-sur-Verdon, Bauduen and Baudinard the Defends forest (or of grazing, as it is still mentioned) that extends up to Vinon. And, Trigance, la Faye Woods.
This perimeter centre is located approximately to the Pas du Galetas, the Verdon serving for his part of southern boundary. Further to the South, the Canjuers Plateau that receives the military field is not in that consideration, and to the West even more, the Plateau de Valensole also escape these definitions. It is worth noting that the O.N.F. also participates actively in the maintenance of some hiking trails. There are many routes identified to pass under the forest, or limit it.
The maintenance and governance of the forested massifs is not a new idea. Already, to 1346, Philippe VI of Valois, required the order to its "Maistres Foresta dei", the current equivalent of our forest guards, properly manage forests so that the woods are continuously maintained.
The forest as such represents approximately 60% of the wooded region of the Gorges du Verdon. Logging-related activity, cutting and refining of wood, has almost disappeared. Annually, and regularly, the vicinity of the massifs are brushed to reduce the risk of fire.

Different species

Oak Oaks and pubescent oak dominate the plant species of trees in the presence. Green oak and olive are two representative trees of Mediterranean forests together, on the edge of the Mediterranean. Are also represented the beech, the Montpellier Maple, oak, Scots pine, hooks pine and Aleppo Pine, the olive tree, Basswood, walnut, almond, poplar, giant boxwood, Elm, Juniper, mountain ash, Sycamore, white FIR... As well as a few trees traditional but isolated much of the time.
Cedars and a few isolated larch occupy the eastern part of the Lake of Ste-Croix-du-Verdon. The Ifs and the Cypress, are well represented. They allow to limit the effects of the Mistral.
For this reason, the crops are often surrounded by large trees, in Provence. This is the explanation. It's an effective bulwark against the powerful breath of wind which was born in Id of the Rhone Valley and that breaks from North to South, branching off to the East when it reaches Marseille: the Mistral.
The presence of these conifers is also a sign to guide the direction of the prevailing winds: if trees are leaning towards the East, it is the dominant wind from the West. If they are instead inclined towards the West, the prevailing wind comes from East!
The privileged location of the Gorges du Verdon, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps, admits a climate of transition and allows plant species of the two climate zones to evolve peacefully. These areas related and characterized by their landforms and their altitudes. Forests of the Verdon favour the development of flora and fauna which themes have been developed previously. Do not include the black truffle of Provence, Queen of fungi, but the most common species. Those that all everyone view over the traveled paths.

Looking for mushrooms

These beds allow the development of a consistent Mycological population. In the spring and autumn especially. In the spring, provided they find, appear the Morels, and Roses of meadows, easier to see.
In the fall season, the blood (saffron Milkcap), small grey (sixgill), trumpets of death, legs of mutton, porcini mushrooms from meadows and pine mushrooms, Lactarius (shaggy high), Coprins vacuums, Morels, Chanterelles (or, Chanterelle), Boletus, for edible mushrooms. Raincoats of Loup, red Brittlegills, Boletus Satan, beef tongue, and a number of other non-edible species or deny.
But also the entire series of fatal fungi of the family of Amanitas (Cap and spring). One amanita is good and edible, the Caesar's mushroom, but still need to know really recognise it and differentiate it from the others. Crops of mushrooms have experienced, sometimes phenomenal excesses in recent years. Some forklift drivers transalpine ranging even to organize "special mushrooms Verdon outputs" for their customers, armed with rakes to facilitate precious cryptogame plant hunting...
Sometimes other groups, from France also acting real commandos to flush out "blood" contrary to all the rules of good conduct. There were then, on the one hand, the «mycologicophages» barbarian hordes dispersed, on the other hand, localized but organized hunters bands. Beautiful clashes verbal and comical allowing game skedaddle, mushroom to withdraw under the foam... Without forgetting to appoint as predators these settlements of barbarians from the Sunday who, having no judgment as to the sustainability of the species, operated deep indentations in the ground, left show that the pebbles or the rocks after their passage! At this point Commons and the owners of the land on which plagued these Cryptograms Attilas were under an obligation to take measures to protect their territories.
Multiple species, varieties and Diversities are the three words which symbolize both richness of the flora and wildlife of the forest in the region of the Gorges du Verdon.
Marathon of the heart, marathon of the soul and the view. A day in the Verdon exhausts every man provided that it is curious by nature, Explorer, but also respectful and aware of wealth without end of this priceless heritage offers the great Nature Verdonnienne.

Provence wine

The winegrowers in the region have given themselves the title «Vignerons de Verdon» and the wine of appellation of the Verdon is mainly produced 8 starting from the southern limits of the Haut-Var and North of Centre-Var, Aups, Moissac-Bellevue, Montmeyan worms.
It is in the Centre-Var precisely that is concentrated almost all of the production subject to Appellations of origin controlled (A.O.C. des Coteaux Varois) and Côtes de Provence. Wine cooperatives include productions at Esparron-de-Verdon, St - Julien-le-Montagne and Quinson.
What more, once again, to this land of Provence, daughter of the Sun, which generates the olive tree which is extracted from fruit of Virgin olive oil, the gold of the gods; water toilet with lavender, the scent of the gods; the Mead of the liquor of the gods; basement truffle, the mets preferred to gods! And finally, the blue sky, the azure of the gods...

The seismicity of the Verdon

In conclusion to this chapter entitled the Canyon speak with her heart that could have been easily bear others, such as "in the eyes of Canyon" or "The Canyon at heart", a natural phenomenon escaped narration, except that it maybe made a brief allusion in the chapter devoted to dams on the course of the emerald green torrent : the seismicity of this vast territory.
Let's say that the Gorges region suffered no strong seismic shaking or actual earthquake in decades. On the other hand, do not forget that Southeast of the France, and in particular the area Provence-Côte-d Azur is nevertheless located on the belt of volcanoes.
The seismicity exists, it is present, but never made the headlines because it remains reasonable. Let us remember, however, that the village of Chasteuil, in the pre-Canyon, was destroyed by an earthquake at the end of the 19th century, whose epicenter was located in Manosque, a few tens of kilometres to the West.Reasonable, the seismicity of the mountains of the Verdon, but relatively large when compared with other regions of the world considered to be of areas deemed calm (Yemen, Madagascar, Guinea) which are not subject to these upheavals of our planet.
The Earth lives, it evolves, the plates move, the continents drift, (Alfred WEGENER - 1936 Act) and from this finding, the massifs of the Verdon them also follow the influence of movements of mutations.
Besides, two tremors of magnitude 5 on the RICHTER scale (which has 9) recorded during the 20th century, there is no reason to be alarmist. Even considering the scale EMS 1992, same twitches were evaluated between 6 ° and 7 ° on a scale with 12. The base is solid, the cliffs are upright since millions of years, the gaping Gorges is as it was more than 2,000 years ago, as a result, no major risk just alter the serenity of the spaces at the moment.

The impact of flow rates controlled the Verdon

A phenomenon is very rarely mentioned. Phenomenon that relates to the Verdon as in all rivers that support dams on their course: no a - t ' we never measured the impact of flow rates controlled on a given environment. The bed of the watercourse is changing and its immediate surroundings also. Gravel benches move over time, fish lose their bearings, birds, and animals that frequent the shores are also disoriented.
The Verdon, as a whole, has been too long 'forgotten' by the public authorities, I do not throw the stone, but some evil-intentioned people before this deficiency took the opportunity to make and build sometimes anything!
It was time to react and to continue and extend the work of our elders and those who preceded us in this noble and laudable long-term task.

hiking - Verdon Gorge
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hiking - Verdon gorge
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