Gites en provence gardoise

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roquemaure (TOURISM)


ROQUEMAURE

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Cradle of  "Côtes du Rhône" ( wine name ) in this region called then
the Rhone cost , this large village of 5000 inhabitants today, remains always attached to its old wine tradition. Roquemaure, ''the roca maura ''( the dark rock ), built begenning  of the XII ème century with one of the most important castles of Languedoc. The village  was very marked by the arrival of the Popes in Avignon. (Clement V, the first of them died there in 1314).
And is under Papoté, in fact, that Roquemaure knew its best luky days. Its river port became one of the most important if  not the most important a long the the Rhone river. Up to 2000 wine barrels could thus wait  at the bottom the castle before being embarked towards Lyon, Beaucaire… and of course Avignon. It remains of this period two of the of the castle towers, some remarkable houses, and the small collegial one, set up under the orders of the cardinal Bertrand de Pouget  from 1329. This church got  after the revolution, an organ Julien 1670 coming from the convent of Cordeliers in Avignon. This instrument with its making and rare sonorities recives nowadays the visit of famous Masters.

eglise.gifAnd it is There , in this small church, whose organ was just  restored on request of Monseigneur de Prilly,  where Madam de Laurey on December 25th 1847, sang for the first time the famous" Minuit Chretien" whose author , Placide Cappeau, has just finihed the  the words… a few days before, a few 100 m from there, at the 27th on the street which carries  today its name.

The attachment of the people of Roquemaure for the vine crossed the years. How that could be   different  ?... Since one as of them, in 1868, was gone from there to get  in Rome the relics of Saint Valentin to entreat  the '' bad beast ' ' ( the  phylloxera ) each year at the beginning of February, the week-end nearest  to the Saint Valentin celebration day, everybody dressed up  in Roquemaure, stops the time in 1868

ROQUEMAURE and Saint Valentin

The history starts in 1862.
Joseph Antoine Borty owner and wine merchant in Roquemaure placed an order to  the new world for a few vines, in order to test their behaviour with the oïdium....One year after , a terrible disease of the vine was propagated,  initially on Roquemaure,  then in ten years all the vineyard of south of France was destroyed. This disease,  which one called at the beginning “the tasks of Roquemaure” proved to be due to a small plant louse ( phylloxera ) and soon  the connection was made with the American seedlings of "Clos Borty"  .

Was it to make act of redemption? Or more probably to put the vineyard under divine protection… in October 1868, at the deepest point of  the crisis, another rich person of Roquemaure ( Mr Richard ) decided to acquire, in Rome, the relics of a protective saint. They were those of " Saint Valentin ".
It was  thus on October 25, 1868 when the relics arrived at the village. They were received through pavoized streets with the sound of the galoubets, by a crowd in jubilation, in the presence of Mgr Plantier, bishop of Nimes. They rest since in a reliquary  right-hand side of the altar of the collegial .

.... phylloxera, still continued to  prevail  many years…
but does the divine hand acting there ? … everyboby was witness:  the evil set out again from where it had come: The Borty Field in Roquemaure!
One noticed that in the Borty field, in the middle of the devastated french stocks, the American feet  remained quite alive, although carrying the plant louses. The solution was found: The graft !
And all wine growers started to graft our own type of vines (Cinsault, grenache, bourboulenc,…) on American stocks such as Clinton.That spent 10  to 15 years of gropings… but the vineyard  was saved. In the 1902 all vineyard "gardois" was replanted.

And this is why each year, at the beginning of February,  the wee-kend nearest to the saint Valentine celebration day, 7 carts charged with the vine shoots of 7 principal type of vines parts of  LIRAC wine (black grenache , syrah, mourvèdre, cinsault, pale, white grenache and bourboulenc) are blessed by the priest of the village, on the main place of  Roquemaure.

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