Fired up by my recent hike to the top of the Luberon, I attached a rucksack to the back of Child A and a compass to his shorts and we set off on a short ‘balade’ to educate ourselves on the ‘Mur de la Peste’.
Marseilles first welcomed the plague to Europe in the 14th century, where it seems it had such success it became a repeat visitor, regularly wiping out more than half of the population.
In 1720 someone had the extraordinary notion that a wall would keep it at bay – Le Mur de la Peste. Not surprisingly the plague took no notice and bounded on, unrestrained, towards Avignon and the rest of France.
It’s a dry stone wall, once 2m high and 25km long. We picked it up at Cabrières d’Avignon, following little orange circles painted on trees along a stony track. Just as the ground begins to soften into a warm bed of pine needles, the wall appears, undulating away from us like a mini Great Wall of China.
The mur de la peste in Provence: