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    Alpilles

    Village Le Paradou

    The tiny village of Paradou is situated on a plain backing onto the Alpilles. Planted with olive trees, olive growing is one of the main resources of this small rural commune with its traditional architecture and surroun…

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    Le Paradou

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    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradou

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    The tiny village of Paradou is situated on a plain backing onto the Alpilles. Planted with olive trees, olive growing is one of the main resources of this small rural commune with its traditional architecture and surrounded by nature. Le Paradou is the birthplace of the Provençal poet (or félibre) Charloun Rieu, who was a friend of Frédéric Mistral; there is a large fountain with a bust of Rieu just in front of the town hall. Visits in Le Paradou include the Village des Santons, which houses one of the finest collections of Provençal santons – ornamental Christmas figures – together with one of the world’s largest cribs. The Oratory of St Roch, situated on the D78, is a shrine of harmonious proportions in the classical style. It was built in memory of the 1720 plague: St Roch, who protected victims of the plague, was himself struck down by la peste only to be rescued by a dog, who is subsequently depicted as his companion in iconographic representations. The 15th-century Romanesque parish church of St Martin houses the tomb of Charloun Rieu, as well as numerous inscriptions in Provençal. The church was built in 1632, probably on top of the ruins of a priory damaged during the French Wars of Religion. It would originally have been smaller than today’s edifice, equal in size to the three bays of the south aisle. The sacristy was a chapel devoted to St Joseph that was added in 1670. The main nave was added in 1700. The choir was redesigned in 1848 and the facade modernised in Neo-Romanesque style by an architect from Arles, Auguste Véran (1894). Owing to its hilly topography, the Alpilles are criss-crossed by numerous small streams, called gaudres in Provençal, which often run dry in summer and flow only slowly for the rest of the year. Le Paradou is named after the local word for watermills, which were once operated by weavers along the river Arcoule. A Provençal market is held in the village on Tuesday mornings. 


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