Venasque: From Renaissance to Roman Times in One Small French Village

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Venasque is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. But unlike some others like Roussillon where we went two days ago, Venasque doesn’t have shops or cafes or ice cream places. Therefore, there are very few tourists there which is perfect for the painters.

I went with Pat, who doesn’t paint, to visit the oldest baptistery in France, dated from the 6th century. It is located under the 12th century church from the village. The 6th century baptistery has actually been built on a Roman temple. There are very few remains of the roman time but there were some marble columns from the roman temple along with a marble piece that was found in a sarcophage.

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The houses from the village date from the 16 to the 19th century. Since 1967, there is a regulation that requires owners to respect the style of the original house when they renovate.

In the center is a fountain and some villagers come and decorate it with natural flowers. A treat for the painters.

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Here is Durinda’s oil painting of the fountain (Durinda was our art instructor for a week):

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How often can you have a picnic sitting on a 13th century rempart? Well, we did while in Venasque.

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The remparts are incredibly thick: 3 walls separated by arches, big enough that you can pose in it…

The mistral (cold wind from the North) was blowing all day making it hard to paint but the village was nevertheless beautiful.

At the end of the day, we went to a nougat factory, small one, owned by two brothers. Nougat is a sweet made in Provence and is part of the 13 desserts served at Christmas.

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Jackie Grandchamps
Jackie Grandchamps obtained her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology in Belgium, and then moved to the U.S. in 1995 to conduct cancer research at Stanford University in California. Her heart has always been in travel however, and she turned her passion into a full time job in 2003 when she launched her travel business, French Escapade offering an authentic travel experience to women.

She says, "I wanted to make my dream come true: sharing my love of traveling and giving people the opportunity to really experience a different culture. Instead of the traditional 'tourist' sightseeing trip to France, I wanted to immerse very small groups of women in the culture, let them meet locals, eat authentic cuisine and 'live' an authentic experience. That's how French Escapade was born.”
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