For our second excursion with IAU, we spent the day at the Luberon.  I fell asleep as soon as the bus pulled away from the statue of Cezanne and when I woke up, we had arrived in a town called Lourmarin. We visited the first Renaissance château in Provence which was rebuilt in the 15th century on the remains of a 12th century fortress. Although we didn’t walk through the inside, it was exciting to see something that has lasted centuries. From there, we saw olive trees and the lavender plants that southern France is known for.  There weren’t any flowers, but you could still smell the strong scent of lavender when you touched them.  Next, we walked down the road to a little cemetery that seemed pretty ordinary. We gathered around one tombstone, a small rock surrounded by weeds.  I was shocked to see that was the grave of Albert Camus.  I remember reading L’Etranger in my high school French class and I excitedly told my former French teacher about this as soon as I got home.  Still, I would have expected a bigger or more decorated tombstone for such a famous writer. 

After buying food for a picnic in Lourmarin, we drove to a town called Lacoste.  We hiked up an enormous hill, passing houses and a school on our way up, and finally arrived at the summit where we had our picnic lunch.  We shared baguettes, cheese, and ham – clearly, I’m getting accustomed to French food pretty quickly.  The weather was beautiful and it was nice to simply sit in the shade and enjoy our lunch.

Lastly, we went to a town called Roussillon and saw the Sentier des Ocres. We walked along the path through the quarry of chalky red pigment, slipping a bit along the way, before taking a quick walk through the rest of town. I learned that Samuel Beckett used to live in Roussillon because the Gestapo was after him for being involved with the French Resistance. He hid the beautiful little town to avoid being caught and he succeeded. As an English major, I always love hearing these stories about writers. I managed to fall asleep again on the bus ride home and happily woke up back “home” in Aix.  



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