25-Aug-2011 -- We decided to make a one-day trip in Provence and to attempt a visit on N44 E6 on Aug 25th. Coming from Forcalquier we reached the village of Les Mées from the west bank of the Durance river. The village is nestled at the foot of the Penitent rocks which make the landscape really breathtaking and worth the trip by itself.
We went across the village heading south on a road that led us uphill in the direction of Puymichel. The low mountainous range south of Les Mées is the site on which will be settled the European largest Photovoltaic facility covering 80 Ha (800,000 sq meters) and ultimately providing an electric power of 45,000 MWh. We can witness that the battle opposing photovoltaic cells and lavender fields rages on in these hills.
The narrow road changes into a dirt track usable by car until 350 meters from the point. The CP itself lies in a steep slope running S – N and we hit the point from the upper level of that slope after getting through thorny bushes.
The vegetation is dense at the point and the line of sight is very short in all directions ; the main tree species there is what we locally (south France) call “black oak”.
On our way back we took a few minutes to talk with the landowner of the fields and farm seen on the panoramic picture. He has lived on this land for more than 50 years and grows lavender and buckwheat in his fields. The lavender has been harvested during the first week of July, two weeks in advance comparing with previous years. The lavender flowers are distilled immediately after harvesting to make lavender oil which is then used as a component in many industrial products. He kindly offered us a small sample of the lavender oil he produces; 2 small drops of that oil on a paper napkin were sufficient to change our car in a lavender field all the way back home.
It is our pleasure to mention also the Forcalquier Cathedral as a point of interest less than 20 km from the CP. This wonderful roman style building was constructed from the beginning of the 13th century and the latest architectural upgrading were finished circa 1650.