Fontaine De Vaucluse

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 23rd July 2013

I have been coming to Provence since 1974 and there are certain places I like to re-visit as a matter of tradition. One of those special places is Fontaine de Vaucluse where the water gushes from a massive cavern and cascades down the valley. The water comes from drainage off the limestone escarpment - it cuts through the strata underground and eventually collects at Vaucluse. Many years ago, the marine explorer Jacques Cousteau attempted to reach the bottom of the cavern without success. However with advances in technology and a mini 'submarine' the bottom was reached some time ago. I have never visited in winter when the river is in full flood, the cavern 'disappears' and the water gushes over the huge boulders down to the valley creating the power to drive several water wheels on the way. One very old wheel powers the Mill where paper is made from old material pounded and broken up by huge 'hammers'. Once this has been reduced to a white-ish 'soup' the remaining process is 'fait a main'. The end product is beautiful but expensive.

Petrarch is believed to have composed his poem to Laura while residing in this lovely place. There is also an ancient small Romanesque church dedicated to St. Veran whose tomb is found within the gloomy interior - there were no large windows of stained glass at that time.

Thirty years ago in Autumn, on a visit with my then husband, we dined at one of the many attractive restaurants by the side of the river. The setting is incredibly romantic. My friends were kind enough to agree to eat there again and I ordered the same dish. Sadly my husband is long gone but I am and always will be a romantic. We had an unusually rapid dinner in order to drive to another beautiful venue - Gordes - to attend a Concert part of yet another festival week. 

View from the restaurant where we had our first meal nearly 30 years ago.  Have never seen the river so high at this time of the summer.  But friends told me they've had unseasonal rains which would cause the river to rise.


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