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The Medieval Ruins of Oppède Le Vieux, Home to an Antipope and Shelter from the Nazis

Sunday, November 13, 2016 18:01
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A view of Oppède Le Vieux

Oppède Le Vieux is a small town in France, which is best known for its Medieval château, or castle, which today lies in ruins. The town was abandoned several centuries ago, when its inhabitants left for a new area where they could farm more productively. Although the town lies in ruins today, it has a colorful history behind it, involving an antipope and a group of artists fleeing from the Nazis during the Second World War.

Oppède Le Vieux is perched on the northern side of the Luberon, a massif in central Provence, in the south of France. It is built against the part of the massif known as the ‘Petit Luberon’, which means ‘Little Luberon’, and can be found in the Vaucluse department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.

A view of Oppède Le Vieux.

A view of Oppède Le Vieux. Photo source: (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Oppède Le Vieux is said to date back to the 12th century. During this time, the town was home to a farming community, and its most prominent structures were its church and its château. The church is known as the Collegiale Notre-Dame d'Alidon, and is located high above the town. Within the walls of this ancient structure are a great number of frescoes, though many of these are either faded or ruined. It has been reported that at the moment, the church is being restored.

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