Hiking in France 1: On the Trail of Andy Goldsworthy

May 26, 2013

View from the trail near Courbons

View from the trail near Courbons

Signpost along the trail; we hiked from Courbons to Thoad on Day 1

Signpost along the trail; we hiked from Courbons to Thoad on Day 1

I signed up for this guided hike for the chance to see Andy Goldsworthy’s sculptures, but I was blown away by the spectacular scenery.  On Day 1, we hiked from the village of Courbons to Thoard.  Our destination was the tiny Chapelle Saint Madeleine, perched near the summit of a hill/mountain, which featured a wall sculpture by Goldsworthy.

The marked trail took us up over the hilltops and gave us awesome views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains.  It continued through a forest of beech trees; the fallen beech leaves provided a soft, but slippery, cushion of padding on the path.  I was challenged to keep up with the group, all experienced and hearty hikers, but I was exhilarated at the same time to be in France, on this hike — a dream coming true.

View at the start of the hike, up from the village of Courbons

View at the start of the hike, up from the village of Courbons

Mistletoe along the trail -- it was a common sight

Mistletoe along the trail — it was a common sight

Wildflower (windflower?)

Wildflower (windflower?)

IMAGE_1C775A4E-6E00-4908-92E4-14BE85D30691

IMAGE_E5D3A151-6491-4F98-8023-B01DFDE11C3A

IMAGE_D482BBEA-CC0C-4F71-95B7-7D5DEA33F5DB

IMAGE_76404873-B2D4-43F9-970E-B77DA450A05D

Trail through a beech forest

Trail through a beech forest

IMAGE_78D5AE77-1168-473C-8763-CB1EC2C3E6F8

IMAGE_0C44A06A-56F4-4A32-99DC-0780803D9E93

IMAGE_EC58C371-7596-430D-A058-FDE8918E96A1

IMAGE_75464654-DB8B-47EC-BA8D-B3636803228B

Near the end of the day’s hike, we approached the tiny Chapelle Saint Madeleine via a gravel road that passed lavender fields.  The chapel, like many of the buildings in this area, had a tile roof of the most pleasing orangy colors.  The tiles were held down with stones.  Inside, on the wall where the altar would have been, was a recessed elliptical-shaped space large enough to stand in.  Goldsworthy intended this as an introspective space, a contrast to the vast expanse of the vista looking down into the valley just outside the door.

The road to Chapelle Saint Madeleine near Thoard

The road to Chapelle Saint Madeleine near Thoard

Our destination for Day 1, Andy Goldsworthy's wall art in this chapel

Our destination for Day 1, Andy Goldsworthy’s wall art in this chapel

Tile roof, exquisite colors

Tile roof, exquisite colors

IMAGE_EEB74612-7397-42D6-BFF4-BB8D937D9307

Andy Goldsworthy wall sculpture, Chapelle Saint Madeleine

Andy Goldsworthy wall sculpture, Chapelle Saint Madeleine

View down the valley from the Chapelle Saint Madeleine

View down the valley from the Chapelle Saint Madeleine

The days final steps, walking to the cottage Bannette, our farmhouse lodging for the night

The day’s final steps, walking to the cottage Bannette, our farmhouse lodging for the night

8 Responses to “Hiking in France 1: On the Trail of Andy Goldsworthy”

  1. Elisa Says:

    My insides are so full as I watch this video. I thank you for it.

  2. Chris Says:

    I love the photo of the beech trunk in the forest…it looks like the perfect fall photo…but it’s really spring! And the first photo of the little stone chapel….beautiful!

    • Rosemary Says:

      It did feel a bit like a fall landscape with the dried leaves still on the ground. They must decay much slower than leaves in our rainy Pacific Northwest. We usually don’t have so many fallen leaves still on the ground in Spring.

  3. Karin Says:

    The violet flower is the “wildflower of the year 2013” in Germany. It’s one of my most favourite ones. We call it “Leberblümchen”, liverleaf? with the botanical names Hepatica nobilis, Syn. Anemone hepatica. Enjoy your trip! I love your pictures!
    Karin


  4. Stunning views Rosemary…I was also going to say that blue flower looks like our native hepatica…


  5. […] where I saw nine Goldsworthy installations along the trail.  (You can read about that experience here and here and here.)  The $46 bus tour ticket to Storm King to see Goldsworthy’s walls was a […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: