We are accumulating a number of ‘quality’ trails that, when we get guests, we can go for walks on with a near certainty of satisfaction. One of these is the limestone ridge above the little hamlet of Vérignon, near the interesting little town of Aups. We mentioned Vérignon in 2017, when we said its population in 2006 was 18. In fact time has moved on and the population has now dropped to 11. According to a recent article in our local newspaper, Vérignon is one of the twelve smallest communes in France. When we drove past last Wednesday with our visitor, there was a door open in one of the handful of houses with a French tricolour flying above it, suggesting that the Mairie was open. Although what you do when you are mayor of 11 people is an interesting question.
Part of the charm of the Vérignon ridge is that it is thickly wooded, with oaks, pines, juniper and cedars. As it abuts on the massive army range of the Plateau de Canjuers, it doesn’t get too much in the way of visitors and is normally fairly tranquil. Unless of course, as happened on our visit, they are having fun with artillery on the range.
This February has been extraordinarily dry and excessively warm – something giving a great deal of concern to both the firemen and those involved in vineyards – and it was a dry, pleasant day, not unlike a British June.
We visited the old chapel of Notre Dame de Liesse and then walked back along the ridge to a much more dilapidated chapel, before winding down back to the car. There are good views from the top if you can peer through the trees, and we could see snow on the tops of the peaks to the north. It’s a good walk and our guest – not uncritical of bad routes – was impressed. Exactly: that’s why we went there.