Rita Crane Photography: Doorway in Gorbio, Provence
Gorbio is a 12th century village, perched on a cliff above the Mediterranean. (Below are three more images of the village.) Formerly part of the Kingdom of Savoy, Gorbio became incorporated into France in the late 1800's around the same time the first railroad was built along the French Riviera. Travel by rail made exploring the region much easier for the Northern Europeans who now came willingly to this sunny corner of France to escape the cold winters. Gorbio, however, and other perched villages similar to it, are situated inland a ways and not right on the ocean. Because of this they have changed very little in 800 years.
For protection, these historic villages were built high into the foothills of the Maritime Alps, nestled up against the mountains, and with a vantage point overlooking the Mediterranean stretching out in the distance. I imagine there was trade between the ancient coastal fishing villages like Menton and the mountain people of Gorbio, via rugged tracks that donkeys could scramble along on. Virtually isolated from the rest of France until the railroad was built, Gorbio still feels remote. Despite the crowded French Riviera's proximity, with its congestion and 'glitz', these villages continue to be peaceful oases. I loved visiting them!
I traveled in winter, the village was very quiet, and of course there were no cars zooming by. One parks below, then walks into these cultural treasures where people continue to live in their family homes, knowing the neighbors, generation after generation. They are a true local community. This site has photos of the village: www.france-voyage.com/towns/gorbio-23125.htm