Dieulefit, High in the Drôme
You might think that Dieulefit is a town that time forgot, unless you’ve seen the town clock. Reminding us all gently, it’s inscribed in Provencal: Time passes, pass it well.
And so we did. The day and night we spent in Dieulefit were charming.
Someone in town is a great muralist
with a really cute sense of humor. The town is full of steep and twisty little streets where surprises lurk, waiting for the unsuspecting visitor.
Hopping across a stream and poking our noses up an alley led us to this pottery sculpture garden. If you think this looks eccentric, let me tell you that this particular bit of the clay fantasy world was one of the most normal things we saw as we peered through the fence, before dropping a Euro in a cup tied to the gate asking for donations in support of the arts.
Later we spotted a poster advertising an Expo of, believe it or not, Beehives of the World. Doesn’t that sound irresistible? We drove about 12 kilometres on a goat path to what seemed the end of the earth in order to find this barn in an alpine meadow. As advertised, the place was absolutely packed with beehives from all over the world, including a couple of transparent ones so that visitors could watch the bees in action. Since we were the only visitors, we got all the attention of the hive-keepers, and learned much more about beehives than we’d ever imagined knowing.
We also bought this jar of honey, a golden creamy mass that holds a spoon upright, should one be inclined to sample it straight from the jar. It’s a blend of garden-variety thyme, wild mountain thyme, dandelion, and the mysterious dorychnie, whatever that is, since even Google doesn’t know about it. It tastes remarkably normal, like a good butterscotch, without a hint of mystery. I offered some to Beppo, who has a sore throat again. He took a couple of meditative licks, but if he recognized the flavor he didn’t let on.
And at night we stayed, and ate, at the Auberge de l’ Escargot d’Or, the Golden Snail Inn, where snails were in fact on the menu along with other delicious mountain treats. Our room was at the highest point of the little hotel, and looked out on this meadow and the mountains beyond. I don’t think we were meant to ride the bike, but it was there, morning and night, tempting me to pass the time well before it passed me by.