A village of about 600 inhabitants, Moustiers is nestled up against the steep mountainside and terraced over two rivers, la Maïre and le Riou, which provide the scenic cascades, and which require the picturesque stone bridges to navigate over them. Suspended over the village, between the cliffs where the water tumbles down from the Notre-Dame Waterfall, is a 230-meter-long chain with a gold star in the middle. According to legend, this << Chaîne de l’Étoile >> was hung there in fulfillment of a vow by a brave knight, possibly the Chevalier de Blacas, when he was freed from imprisonment during the 7th Crusade. You have to look hard to see the star (yellow speck) at the top of the photo above, but it’s there.
La Chapelle de Notre-Dame de Beauvoir
We hiked up to the 12th-century Chapelle de Notre-Dame de Beauvoir, on the wide, stone stairs where pilgrims make the steep climb past the stations of the cross.
Stone Bridge in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
From above the church we had a great view of the village below and some of the stone bridges that spanned the rivers. Because of the lack of rainfall this winter, there didn’t seem to be a lot of gushing water under the bridges, but rather more like trickling water, and some areas were completely dry.
Cascade in the Village Center
Down in the middle of the village, there was a lot more water. From the high terrace of Le Bellevue, where we had lunch, we sat directly above the small river of L’Adou, where we could take in the tumbling cascades while listening to the water flowing beneath us. The food was nothing to write home about, and it was a bit buggy with all the water around, but the setting was lovely.
Cité de la Faïence
After an afternoon of hiking in the hills above Moustiers, and doing the short << Tour du Village >> balade, we checked out the faïence for which Moustiers is well-known. The glazed earthenware pottery of Moustiers gained its celebrity in the 17th & 18th centuries with its artistic Provençal decorations. The village proclaims itself the << Cité de la Faïence >>, with Le Musée de la Faïence, La Fête de la Faïence in June, 19 operating studios of Faïence, and numerous shops selling the bounteous supply of mostly touristy gift items.