As we continued up towards Bargème, we started to catch views of the dark and imposing Mount Lachens, which is 1715 meters at its highest peak. All along the way, there were signs that indicated the area was a Military Training Zone and that we were forbidden from getting too close. Of course, Rich pushed the boundaries by walking right up to one of the signs in order to get a better photo of the mountains. We have felt the presence of this military zone before. On our hike to Claviers, it was a bright and sunny day but we heard constant roars of what sounded like claps of thunder. It was actually the sound of gun fire from the military's artillery practice.
In fact, what we were seeing were the towers from the ruins of a feudal castle as well as a few churches, chapels and the ruins of an old mill. The various structures dated back from the 12th through the 18th Centuries. Coming closer, we marveled at how intact some of the ruins were–much more so than at Chateaudouble and more like ruins we once saw in Kenilworth, England. We wandered around looking to replicate the iconic image of Bargème that was highlighted in the tourist brochures and finally found it–a concrete arch perfectly framing the castle ruins in the distance.
Visiting the highest perched village in the region, we were confident that we would see some gorgeous landscapes, but they seemed so much more interesting when glimpsed through windows, doorways and arches of the ruins.
It took a while to find the actual village with live people and open shops, since the buildings in the town often looked as old as the ruins. One of the stores was found at the highest part of town, which must have been pretty high, since the entire town was already the highest in the area. We found a store with some pretty pottery and bought yet another oil dispenser (to go with the one we already bought in Vallauris). We were intrigued by the poster for an upcoming festival in Bargème, called the "Fête de la Transhumance" which featured multi-coloured sheep. I googled this festival and found out that it is an annual agricultural and crafts fair with livestock judging, and demonstrations of shoeing horses, milking goats, training dogs, basket weaving and more.
We stopped for lunch in the only open restaurant (this seems to be a common theme in the little towns that we've been visiting, probably because it is still early in the tourist season). Luckily it was a beautiful outdoor patio with stunning views of the countryside. We were looking for just a quick, light snack since we had planned to go out for dinner. They had the perfect entrée du jour (appetizer of the day), which was a beautifully carved cantaloupe with prosciutto on a bed of greens.