La Virevolte – click any image for full size
Iska (sablina) and ChimKama have returned La Virevolte (“the Twirl”) to the grid after the Homestead region on which it sits – Lemon Beach – spent time as Ponto Cabana (read here for more on that design), and are currently presenting it in a marvellous springtime rural design that carries hallmarks of central France in its look and feel.
To the east of the region sits a a rugged curtain of cliffs, a stream tumbling down the slope leading away from their feet to pass under a bridge that carries a narrow road away from a tunnel that appears to cut through them. Their presence suggests this is a headland somewhere, the tunnel cutting through their walls forming a link to the land beyond, while the water flanking the three remaining sides of the setting has the feel of being a great lake, the far shores of which are obscured by haze.
Buildings lie to either side of the road as it runs down from the tunnel. Some of these – most notably the church-like stone-built gatehouse – indicating this place has been inhabited a long time. Other buildings, such as the auto shop – are of far more recent architectural design, and pointing to the longevity of occupation in this part of the land.
The road splits at the old gatehouse, one arm continuing south onto the headland’s finger, passing a small café where tables are set outside on a cobbled terrace and a Pétanque boules game overlooks the calm waters. This arm of the road ends at a small, slightly run-down farm, where dairy cows quietly graze, and which also offers a view out over the water towards the small island on which a painter’s retreat sits.
The northern arm of the road crosses the little stream at a second bridge to form a relaxed loop around grassy tiers on which sit apple trees in their springtime blossom, and which are topped by a second farmhouse. Lantern-lit paths run along and around these tiers, while the road’s passage around them is marked by stone walls and wooden fencing.
A small shingle beach sits off the south side of this road, marked by the carcass of an old rowing boat that forlornly looks towards the little painter’s island. However, there is no water crossing to the latter – which doesn’t appear to be private – is provided; flying or wading seem to be the only way to reach its adobe walls with their Spanish looks.
It offers a cosy terrace and flat roof, each with places to sit and pass the time, paintings stacked against walls, a fresh canvas occupying an easel on the roof, perhaps waiting for inspiration to strike the artist who sometimes occupies this little getaway.
Other places to sit can be found scattered throughout the region, and there is a wonderful and quite natural sense of age to this little village – and not just as a result of the presence of the more medieval buildings to be found here. There is the tired-looking farm mentioned above and, not far from it, the yard alongside the auto repair shop, that looks for all the world like an abandoned playground.
Which should not be taken to mean this is a place of ruin or decay; far from it. The beauty and appeal of La Virevolte is clear; what there is, is a perfect balance between natural beauty of setting and landscape and the careworn feel of places perhaps past their prime; a balance that can often be witnessed when passing through any town, village or hamlet.
Finished with a gentle and natural sound scape and framed under an ideal windlight complete with birds flying and wheeling overhead, this current iteration of La Virevolte makes for an engaging, photogenic springtime visit and is not to be missed.
- La Virevolte (Lemon Beach, rated: Moderate)