|"Street" leading to our apartment|
Most of the homes in Pont-en-Royans seem to be one step up from a cave. The buildings are carved into the walls of the walls of the gorge. Sometimes the power goes out and sometimes the water supply stops. Because the streets are narrow and steep, it is a difficult walk to get to most of the houses. Life in this town is not easy, but the people here seem to have a zest for life.
|Balcony of our apartment|
|Bedrock wall in our bathroom cave|
You have to wonder what kind of person chooses to live in a place that seems permanently mired in the middle ages. Interestingly, many of the people we have met claim to have ended up in Pont-en-Royans by accident or marriage, ... and yet they have made the best of it. Almost everybody we have met seems to be passionate about the town, the region and their own particular niche. The owner of the small shop where we buy our groceries gave up his career in aviation to run a tiny grocery store. Each day he graciously shares his knowledge and enthusiasm for wine by helping us select the perfect five-Euro wine for each meal. A restaurant owner gave up a life of sailing and scuba diving to marry a resident of the village, but he greets each person who comes into the restaurant like a life-long friend. His food is fresh, beautiful and savory, and when he sat down with us to share his favorite champagne beer he made us feel at home.
The town even has a museum of water (Musee de L'Eau) where you can learn about threats to water and taste hundreds of different types of water. The woman who led our water tasting infected everybody with her love of water.
|Band consisting of musicians playing a grand piano, |
saxophone, alto sax, drum set, and bass
give a concert while suspended over a rocky gorge
At the same time as the aerial concert, a mime and a tightrope walker performed overhead from a rope that dangled across the gorge. As soon as the aerial concert ended, another band started up in a small park while residents of all ages danced.
The people around here might seem a little eccentric, or even crazy, but they definitely have joie de vivre. Whatever they do, they seem to do it with passion and joy. I love it here. Forget about the fountain of youth, we all need to get infected with some of the joie de vivre that is in the water in Pont-en-Royans.
For my part, I am already dreaming up crazy schemes for what I will do when I return to the United States. I might even pour some of the water from Pont-en-Royan into Charlotte's water supply. It has got to be better than drinking coal ash waste.