January 9, 2016

2201 FRANCE (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) - Orpierre

Only eight km down the road from Eyguians, the little Céans river cuts through a high mountain spine, in a narrow S-bend gorge at the base of high cliffs. The village of Orpierre is built into this narrow gap, and the vestiges of a defensive wall climb the steep northern spine to where the castle once stood. The village has multiple venues for sport climbing nearby.

There's a peaceful beauty here in this village, with the church, fountain and petanque courts, and a huge plane tree that was planted in 1780. High cliffs and steep mountains surround the village on all sides, but with in-between valleys for plenty of sun and light. The heart of Orpierre is the circular, fortified old village. The streets are very narrow, and many of the houses seem to have the original medieval stone fronts.

There's a maze of long, low vaulted passages beneath the houses from street to street. South of the village, tall cliffs curve around into the gap of the Céans, and beside them the mountain slopes house a large campsite. Northeast of the village, the solitary peak of Le Suillet rises needle-sharp, with an interesting looking vertical cave high on the side. Northwest of the village is the rocky spine with the ancient wall.

About the stamp

The stamp, depicting a painting by Edouard Detaille, was issued on August 31, 2015, to celebrate the Bicentenary of the Battle of Huningue. Between 14 and 26 August 1815, General Barbanègre headed a garrison of only 500 men against 25,000 Austrians, who besieged Huningue. In the painting can be seen the surrender of the General Barbanègre, who obtained from the Archduke John the highest honor to leave the place freely with the hundred men who had survived.

Orpierre - Provence and Beyond

Sender: Bob Otto
Sent from ??? (??? / France), on 21.11.2015
Photo: Charly Baile 

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