June 1, 2015

1622 FRANCE (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) - Aiguines

1622 Aiguines: 1. Gorges du Verdon; 2. Lake of Sainte-Croix;
3. Château d'Aiguines and the Church Saint-Jean.

Between sky and water, in the heart of a wonderful wild natural landscape, the village of Aiguines, situated at the entrance to the Gorges du Verdon, at the foot of Grand Marges (1577m), overlooks the turquoise blue waters of the Lake of Sainte-Croix. The Gorges Du Verdon is often considered to be one of Europe's most beautiful, and also the biggest (50km). The most impressive part lies between the towns of Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, where the river has cut a ravine to a depth of 700m through the limestone of Haute Provence plateau. At the end of the canyon, the Verdon River flows into the artificial Lake of Sainte-Croix, formed between 1971 and 1974.

Aiguines, from the Greek Aigi ina (the country of the goats), was an important oppidum in the Ligurian defense line of the Durance in the region of Nice. At the western end of the village is a 17th-century Renaissance-style castle (restored in 1913) with a round tower at each corner, and colorful enamel-tiled roofs on the towers. Beside the chateau is the Church Saint-Jean, built in 1653, with a romanesque clock tower. The village houses (old and nicely restored with the Provencal pastel colors) are clustered tightly together on the side of the rocky hill. The small chapel of Saint Pierre is perched above the village at the northern end, and even higher is a broken spire of an ancient watch tower. 

The central square(s) of the village, the Place de la Fontaine and the Place du Barda (side-by-side, on two levels) is lined with nicely decorated houses along one side, and the bell tower at one end, with its modern looking clock just above a very ancient stone sundial monochrome, engraved white marbel. The hills and mountains are covered with beech and oak forests, and the box (buis) grows nearby, including deep in the Gorges du Verdon. In the 18th and 19th centuries, box wood was used to make boules (the balls for petanque), chess pieces and other items turned on wood lathes. Because of this, Aiguines long ago developed a wood-turning industry, producing various articles. The village still has wood turning on a small scale, as well as potters and santonniers.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the definitive series issued on  July 16, 2014, about which I wrote here.

Aiguines - The official website
Aiguines - Provence and Beyond

Sender: Cătălin Frolov
Sent from ??? (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur / France), on 02.09.2014

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