A ride from Marseille out to the Luberon, the once-poor valley and desolate mountain which looked green and fertile following recent rain but are alternately roasted by the Provence sun and frozen by the winter, where the Mistral wind makes the dogs howl and inspired the Marquis de Sade to write his notorious books.
The Roman Via Domitia passes along the Luberon valley where there are numerous vestiges to be sought out remaining from the Roman era. Simply riding a motorbike on the maintained roads, the Luberon offers routes through small towns and villages forgotten until property developers rediscovered them for chic conversions.
There are only two routes across the Luberon mountain to the valley of the river Durance. From Pertuis to Forcalquier, the route eventually follows a crest of the mountain with fine views ranging from the Digne Alps down the the Maures, the range of pine forested hills behind St. Tropez. My route back passed over the little Col du Pointu (499 m.) and the treacherous curves of the Coombe of Lourmarin, the road running between a small river and limestone cliffs.
My postcard shows (clockwise from top left) a view of the Luberon mountain from the dry, north side of the Luberon valley, a Roman boundary stone at Tavernoure on the Via Domitia near Manosque, one of the remaining fields growing poppies as a rotation crop and the panorama of the Durance valley and beyond to the Maures and the Digne Alps