We have been trying to get to this village and chateau since about our second week in France, so we were glad to finally be successful. Notably, the last time Tom and the girls set out for Les Baux, Tom took one wrong tollway exit and thanks to the arrangement of tollway entrances and exits, found himself an hour later still trying to get on the tollway going the right direction and about 5 km from home! They called it quits and settled for ice cream in the village below our house.
But today we made it. Les Baux de Provence is a hillside village with the ruins of an imposing castle on the ridgetop above it. Chemistry sidenote: apparently an aluminum ore was discovered near here and named bauxite after this village. When making our timeline, we discovered that Chateau Les Baux was one of the first castles built of stone, rather than flammable wood, in the 10th century. The lords of Les Baux were powerful rulers of Provence from the 10th century until the 1600s. They ruled some 80 villages in the area and some were known to be truly mean. One lord in particular, expanded the family coffers by kidnapping locals and offering them back for ransom. If a family could not ransom their loved one, he would make the kidnapped person walk off a gangplank over a precipice. Louis XIII eventually grew tired of their challenge to his rule and had the chateau destroyed in 1632, charging the village for his demolition costs. Even in their state of ruin, some walls and towers still remain and the layout on the ridgetop shows how well they would have been able to see approaching enemies and control the land below. It was a striking scene We crawled all over the ruins and ended the day with a bloody knee and fingers (Janna) and a glass of red wine on a terrace.