street of the water wheels

January 8, 2013

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201301

The street of the water wheels also called street of the dyers (teinturiers) runs from the ramparts into the old town of Avignon. Plane trees cast shade in summer over a street where restaurants and many small fringe theatres are situated – especially lively and humming at festival time but quiet on a Sunday afternoon in early January. Some locals were making a direct path to one venue where a performance of Provencal music was scheduled and I’m sorry now that I didn’t accept the friendly invitation to stay and listen. Dommage. River stones from the Durance form the road surface and pieces of carved stone prevent parking in some places and also offer places to perch.Annoyingly I can’t find any information on the provenance of the carvings . . . .

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201303

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201306

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201307

. . . the canalised water runs at street level and is now taken from the Sorgue providing pure Vaucluse canal water instead of the original source, the muddier River Durance. The water had to be pure for the clarity of colours used in the silk and calico weaving that made the Provençal fabric so famous.

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201308

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201310

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201309

Strong, proud architecture forms a back cloth to the canal including the entrance to the Chapelle des Penitents Gris . . . . . services are still held here . . . . there is one next Sunday January 13th. Just 4 of the water wheels remain from the 23 that pumped up the flow to run the mills between the 14th and 19th C. The washing and the rinsing of fabric required a constant replenishing water supply – the energy of the contained  element must have been something to witness and to work with.

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201311

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201312

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201313

A beautiful magnolia stretches out from one of many old enclosed gardens that delineate the division of the wealthier facades on the canal side to the more humble terraced habitations and shops on the street side. Two important buildings mark each end of the street . . .

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201305

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201302

. . the church of the convent where Petrach’s love Laura lies and by the ramparts, Maison du IV Chiffre, with the carved chiffres between the first floor windows. Gargoyles lean from the curved corner turrets to disgorge water on those below.

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201315

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201316

A street that appears peaceful, calm, quite soft and  limpid – now.Centuries ago, a theatre of  moving, revolving power manipulated by man.

rue des teinturiers 6.jan 201317

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone. Maya  Angelou  Alone

4 Responses to “street of the water wheels”

  1. Sean Swallow Says:

    Happy New Year Julia- I’m still enjoying your blog so much. I go ‘ooh’ when the email comes in! All best, Sean

    Sent from my iPhone

    Sean Swallow Garden Design, The Garden Studio, Newland, Coleford, Glos., GL16 8NG. Work: 07765 395 379

  2. Sinclair 3168 Says:

    Incredible water wheels. Like the gargoyles and pieces of carved stone on the ground too.

  3. julia fogg Says:

    Is a street to visit for sure. A tad smelly as one would expect but has a special quality – emanating from history.

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