The Price of Peace and Solitude Has Been Unending Struggle

Appears in

The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth

By Roy Andries De Groot

Published 1973

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Our strength renewed by food and rest, we began to explore the Valley. Instead of driving down into the village, we continued along the high road, climbing to the forested plateau dominated by the two highest peaks, Le Grand Som (“The Great Summit”) and Chamechaude. Within a few minutes, we reached the group of ancient buildings abandoned by the Benedictines a thousand years before, now known as La Correrie (“The Courier’s House”). At one time in the history of the Valley it was the gatehouse, closing off the road. No traveler was allowed to pass. Nothing was permitted to disturb the silence at the top. The rule of silence is still observed, A few yards beyond La Correrie there is a steel gate. The whine of engines in low gear is not welcomed on the narrow, rough, steep road up through the forest. Visitors walk up–generally in silence. We were at once under a vault of trembling leaves in a deep forest of beeches and pines. The late afternoon sunlight shimmered through in continuous movement Monsieur Michel said he always felt that this was the most beautiful forest he had ever seen.