A day in Provence in Second Life

Village de Roqueblanche, October 2022 – click any image for full size

On the advice of Shaun Shakespeare, I took a little trip to a corner of France here in Second Life, and found a setting rich in beauty and detail, offering a mix of public spaces and walks together with private residences.

Occupying a Full region utilising the private island land capacity bonus, Village de Roqueblanche is the work of Albane Claray (AlbaneClaray) and represents a corner of Provence, that region of France tucked between the Mediterranean Sea to the south and Italy to the east. It’s location and topology offers a rich mix of climates and weather from the high slopes of the French Alps to the crystal waters of the Mediterranean.

Village de Roqueblanche, October 2022
I tried to reproduce a little corner of my country; a place with a Mediterranean feel very similar to Tuscany, Italy.  It’s a land of many small villages nested in valleys or on hills, surrounded by lavender fields and vineyards and that so special light Van Gogh reproduced on his paintings. A village buried in my memories, a village where my childhood memories are asleep, stones worn by the rain, burned with sun…

Albane Claray

Journeys through the region start in the south-west corner and a square of an island separated from the rest of the region by a watery channel, a second channel separating the island from the neighbouring Homestead, also held by Albane, but which was under construction at the time of my visit – so I did not cross the bridge to avoid getting in the way of any building work going on.

Village de Roqueblanche, October 2022

The exact location of the landing point is, appropriately enough, right outside the local tourist office offering a little slice of Tuscan styling and overlooking one arm of the channel separating the island from the rest of the region. Above and behind the landing point sits the rest of the village, with houses and buildings arranged around two large squares.  These have a Romanesque echo about them – something that is not entirely unnatural, given that Provence was the first Roman province established beyond the Alps, and its name is derived from the Roman name Provincia Romana.

A grand stone bridge spans the water to the western Homestead region, but to reach the rest of Village de Roqueblanche, it is necessary to leave the village on its eastern side and descend to where a small bridge gracefully arches across the water – the L’Auzon – to where a cart track winds its way through the rest of the landscape.

Village de Roqueblanche, October 2022

It is here that the private residences are located, so visitors should take care not to intrude. These houses are scattered to either side of the cart-tracks, but as each is marked by a large sign outside of the gates or steps leading to it, trespass is unlikely. Central to all of them is The Hamlet of the Mill.

Comprising a large farmhouse surrounded by tall walls and drystones which encompass a couple of the private residences, this is a place nevertheless open to the public, the farmhouse serves an a cosy restaurant visitors are welcome to visit; a place offering the first hint of the lavender Albane mentions whilst the wine served inside might have originated with the vines growing just outside of the surrounding walls.

Village de Roqueblanche, October 2022

This is a place where, no matter where you go, there is something to captivate the eye and offer opportunities for photography; a place that is a joy to wander and in which to pass the time.

My thanks to Shaun for the pointer and landmark, and to Albane for personally making me feel welcome.

Village de Roqueblanche, October 2022

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