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The Gueidan’s wall

Short yellow marked walk starting at Museum of the forest in Gardanne. I walk along tracks made by motorcycles without meeting anyone, too bad ! Many trails leads in the woods and I have to be careful not to make a mistake, especially when getting close to crossroads with larger paths. (* The same french note)

* I propose the yellow-marked itinerary (8km700, 2h45 approximately) realized from CartoExplorer

* Gueidan, p.30 of the booklet about Gardanne When I turn left in the meadow, I can’t wait to see the famous Gueidan’s wall. In front of me, an old disused turned around car ; I go along a cliff with several warning posts. medium_121_2167_r1.jpgWhen I finally get close to the wall, I find it in a very bad state undoubtedly due to its old age : it was built in the 18th century. I suppose Pierre de Gueidan has it built when he expanded his property.

“Pierre OF GUEIDAN governor of the Court of Provence, buys the land of Valabre close to Gardanne for 19.000 £, transforms the country house into a castle and expands his land… Gaspard OF GUEIDAN, general lawyer and then president of Parliament of Provence, marquess de Gueydan… establishes as a fief the land of Valabre,… and renovates the castle which takes sometimes the name of Gueidan’s castle.”

* The great families of Provence Some sign posts like this one start to frighten me. Would there really be a danger ? medium_121_2169.jpgA tree is uprooted, probably last week, by the wind Mistral which was particularly violent. No, I will not pass under the tree but over it… medium_121_2170.jpg. I give up walking towards the old sheepfold and another part of the higher wall. At my feet I see the road which will bring me back to the car park. It seems so close and yet I do not find the trail which is described in my guidebook (that happens often : on paper, it always seems easy, on the ground, it is something else…). I thus take the most likely route, which goes downhill. I walk pass a car park then kennels : two big dogs are barking furiously. I hurry past them. A tower, a large courtyard, a tricolour flag floats above a locked gate. Not a soul. No entrance. Reserved parking spaces. A desk with a barrier but nobody to keep it. I go along the buildings with a rising feeling of anxiety : everything is closed, everythingl is discayed, and there seems to be no exit. After walking along the buildings for more than 200 meters (from left to right on the piture of the school), I come in front of an old wrought iron gate : padlocked. However, freedom is beyond. For a few minutes, I think of getting back to the hill to find another path. Tired after a two hours walk, I finally choose to step over the wall. … I was locked up in the Valabre’s castle, now occupied by the Interregional Training Center of Civil Security. So relieved to have left it, I did not even take time to admire it…


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