0621 Good Friday in a Medieval Village (France 070—new)

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin Travel Blog

 › entry 45 of 92 › view all entries

Once I exited Monaco, I actually found myself at a dead end at an exclusive resort, so I had to backtrack into Monaco, follow the road that winds up the steep mountainside, and the finally reexit to a pleasant street lined with shops.  Behind the shops to the left was a cliff, and behind the cliffs to the right was a drop down to the rich turquoise Mediterranean waters.   But this isn’t the “heart” of Roquebrune--  no cathedral, no mairie.  So I figure I should keep going further until I find its heart.  So I follow the road as it winds around the mountain.  Not a very pedestrian friendly road, so I’ve got to be careful… and I’m having a heard time seeing what there is to discover here in Roquebrune other than the beautiful view and scattered mansions build on the steep mountainside.  It looks like these French Riviera “towns” aren’t really towns, but just randomly scattered mansions…


But then I spot what looks like a castle, way up high on the mountain slope, so I figure I’d better go check it out.

  I manage to find a stairway (which I’m sure no one ever uses) and make the arduous climb… and find… a very cool little village.  It immediately reminds me of Ventimiglia with its steep alleys tunnelling underneath the homes.  Some of the houses are built so you can’t tell where the mountains stops and the house stops.  And at the very top there’s a proud castle reaching up towards the sky, daring anyone to try and attack this unconquerable little town.


I rest in the cozy castle courtyard and strum my guitar, feeling very lucky to be able to do a concert in this amazing little spot.

I notice a couple of guys setting up crosses.  I get a closer look and see that they’re sticking on snailshells each filled with a little oil and a wick.  They tell me that these will all be lit up for the Good Friday procession--  it’s an ancient tradition that’s particular to Roquebrune.



I guess the French Riviera does have some history and culture to it after all… I’m really tempted to stick around so I can see first hand this unusual ritual.  It’s fascinating to think that despite all that has changed in the culture and the economy of this region, people still honor an ancient tradition like lighting up snailshells for a Good Friday procession!

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
photo by: nathanphil