Thursday, 17 August 2017


Having discovered and explored this enchanting place ourselves back in October 2013 but not knowing the full story behind how the town came to be abandoned and left to fall into disrepair only to see a brief resurgence, we really appreciated this travelogue by Messy Nessy Chic correspondent Luke Spenser on Oppède in Vaucluse, near the Côte d’Azur. From the Latin for town (oppidum) this place is actually comprise of two towns, a valley settlement (Oppède-les-Poulivets, “with the nice view”) and an old town, Oppède-le-Vieux, hewn into the ramparts of the Petit Luberon mastiff. As picturesque as the old town was, the local agricultural community grew less and less willing to make the arduous climb up and down the mountain to work the fields every day and eventually transplanted themselves to the valley permanently. Roofs of buildings above were removed so the former residents were no longer liable for property taxes. During World War II and Nazi occupation, members of the resistance formed a short-lived artist colony amid the rubble and ruin. One member of that community was writer and artist Consuelo de Saint Exupéry (née Suncín), who was the inspiring but rather tumultuous muse for the character of Rose in her husband’s work The Little Prince. The article brought back some nice memories and I think it is high time to return to that part of France.