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la Colle scetch 


 
 

Discovering La Colle en Provence - Euro Style

 
   

 

 

 
 

 

 To see our holiday and long term lets. 

My first reconstruction 1960 - 1975

By the time the 1960's came I had fallen into a sorry state. Overgrown with all sorts of spiky twines and a crumbling mess of walls now permeate the hamlet. Half broken roofs stretch to the sky.

Wind, ice, snow and interminable summer heat had all but ravaged my sole. Followed by a never ending onslaught of insects and other animals burrowing into me to construct their own shelters which were to be then abandoned by the next round of weather change.

One sunny day a wondering band of travellers came upon me and discuss my possibilities, god please put me back together again or I fear I will slip into the dust of time and revert totally back to the nature where I have come from. These travellers that had wondered the hill side and spoke of the great beauty of my surroundings where indeed to become my saviours.

The 60's were to become the great start of my resurrection, many people would visit and spend some time helping to restore and better myself. I rose like a phoenix from my crumbled state to became again a place of laughter wine and song.

I became to be known as a little hippy community and many people camped in my surrounding fields. Weekly love ins and sun dance parties where held within my walls and many people would come from Marseille or the surrounding areas to gather and celebrate.

The locals now stayed away having branded me as a habitation of strange arty folk. Peace and love were on the menu but not for them and so I past into my Aries moment. A period of tranquil serenity.

 

  Deep summer on the plateaux      Jacques Le Scanff, Painter, Writer, Poet, Editor and Photographer. His long term friend Yves Claret, his family including Nicolas and Claire Le Scanff. Lived in and restored La Colle during the period of 1960 to 1995.

They brought to La Colle a new sense of the age and set the foundation stones for what La Colle is today.

Instead of small agricultural dwellings, this team put together a fine property magnificent in size and fit for it's duties as an Artistic melting pot.

To this day Jacques Le Scanff heavily associates with Provence, the lights and colours of the rocks, sky, woodlands and parries. He reflects this in much of his works. (abstractly)

 

La Scanff, Yves Claret and their team brought La Colle from it's grave and helped to set in motion many of the now key features. They established the Main House and the Gte, they created a large water recuperation project and helped to maintain the access track from La Blache.

The gte was set up so that potential visiting buyers or agents could come and stay while talking about Jacques projects or viewing his artworks. There are specifically less windows in the gte so that the big blank white walls could be used to hang his works. A sort of in house exhibition gallery.

All the Provence floor tiles were laid in this period and the base of the central heating system was installed. The roofs were covered with traditional Provencial Lauze, a natural flat sandstone that was able to be split into large plates ideal to cover the roofs.

During this period the team converted the Vout which was an natural stone animal cave/barn into the centre piece lounge in the Main House and also put in all the oak covered doors and cupboards.

Unfortunately sometime in the 1980's the Le Scanff family split up and Jacques left to return to Paris, making only occasional trips back to visit me.

Nicolas Le Scanff stayed with his family for some time and helped to look after me. But there was many times when being left again to the elements meant that with the help of the never ending stream of insects and animals I slowly creped back to my ruined state.

My state deteriorated so much so that my walls started to crumble again, my roof leaked and sagged, my electricity was deemed so dangerous that the Electricity company EDF cut out the supply box completely. Was I to go through this slow death again?

  Winter is the period to see some of the best sun rises here. The combination of a great light and a few clouds give way to a fabulous spectacle. Sunsets however can be best in the Spring summer.

The Plateax

For years I remained in this state, occasional visits sometimes brung moments of laughter. Yet in the main I begain to slowly die. A slow creeping of the surrounding nature starts to envelope me and I feel as if I am being strangled into surrendering to death. That I should just topple and fall to dust .... oh what a way to die. No love no warmth just nature eating away at my fabric.

My owners loose all sight of me and I am put on the market to be sold again. Does this mean that my greatness could be saved again could I dare to think that someone might love me again.

Yet visit after visit I feel the pain. No one wants me, they love the view, they speak of prospects but they don't come back. I feel lost un-saveable, the shame no one wants me.

...... and then one day I hear these strange sounds, voices I have not heard before they speak a strange language but I also hear laughter ooh what joy a young girl rushes through me hops and skips. I feel a sense of hope could this be, am I going to be saved from the dusty end.

 

   Rod     

Without the Le Scanffs and the Clarets La Colle would certainly not exist today. Their money and effort came at a time when the hamlet was most likely to disappear.

They set the foundation to it's future and this should not be forgotten.
I had already looked at many ruins and properties in the local area and we had in fact already spent much time in the little village of Pierrerue to accustom ourselves to life in Provence. But for some reason I had not found what I was looking for and principally that was a dominant view.

The view was so important because of our experiences at Pierrerue where there had been such a wonderful view of the little valley below. To be honest I couldn't support anything less than that view in Pierrerue.

Having a view like that had thought me about the wonders at looking at how nature and a few farmers could etch out a moving and changing picture, a landscape that could literally inspire you.

One old farm ruin which I had agreed to buy had just fallen through and so I was at that point when I felt that I would not find what I was looking for and yet everything would change in just one weekend with a visit to La Colle.

A weekend that would change both my life and my family.
It appears that not many woman are very good at living deep in the countryside.

I learnt that my non co-operative neighbour had split up three times with his partners, then the x owner of my property had also split up with his wife, hence the return to Paris.

I then learnt that the previous owners and tenants of across the road also had three different partners that also split up.

It appears that only the men stayed.  ...and then having learnt all this.... My wife then walked out on me!

The one single contradiction is my very friendly neighbour Bob across the road his partner Reina has stayed and loves it here. So far 10 years lets cross our fingers.

I make that 8 to 1.

 

Rod Cook

Nov 2016

   

 

 

Discovering La Colle en Provence - What's next?

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1st reconstruction

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Copyright: Rod Cook 2016