Thursday, April 27, 2017

Easter in the Alps

Easter weekend meant another trip to David's parent's house in Gap! I can't believe Easter is already over- I feel like it was just a month or two ago that we were there for Christmas. 

To mix things up, we spent Saturday in the Grenoble area. After a drive through the mountains followed by lunch with David's aunt and uncle, we headed to Vizille. 

Vizille might just be the most beautiful park I've ever been to. A castle, some mountains, a lake, animals, and so much green! It's a little piece of paradise. I went there a few years ago with my friend Olimpia when she lived in Grenoble. Perfect spring activity!

Now who wants to see roughly 1 million pictures?

Animal sightings: 

The peacock was so cool! I've never seen one with such tall feathers.

Since it's SO beautiful here, it's a popular place to take wedding pictures. I saw 3 different couples.

We walked around for at least a few hours- I'm so happy I could make it back!

Easter Monday is a holiday in France, so we got to stay an extra night and take our time driving back. We've made this same drive from Cannes to Gap and back so many times, and have never really had the time to see things along the way. 

This was our chance to start! One thing we've passed a million times is a huge basilica in St. Maximin. Get ready, because the church's full name is a mouthful. 
Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume

Marie Madeleine is the French for Mary Magdalene. The legend is that Mary Magdalene's bones are in the basement of this church, believe it or not.

When I first read the Da Vinci Code a few years ago, I thought Dan Brown totally made up the whole plot about Mary Magdalene coming to France. Nope, that's actually something (at least some) Catholics believe! They don't believe the whole 'wife of Jesus' and 'Holy Grail buried in the Louvre,' parts though ;)

The whole story is posted in the church- I thought it was pretty interesting. Early Christians were being persecuted in Israel, so Mary Magdalene and a few other escaped on a boat, crossed the Mediterranean, and settled in southern France. In the 1200s, someone discovered what they thought was her tomb (and maybe even made the whole story up, who knows). The church was built over the tomb starting in the late 1200s and wasn't fully finished until the 1500s.

David checking out the organ. 

The crypt with (possibly?) Mary Magdalene's bones.

Here's 2 aerial shots I stole from the internet, so you can get a sense of how big it is!

I loved getting to see this Gothic basilica in middle of nowhere, Provence. Let's compare with what you might stop to see in middle of nowhere, USA. 

Road trips might be a little different next year.

"From the car window" scenery.

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