Here is an inspired and inspiring place that we are all searching for. On the northern slope of Ventoux, wilder than her brother to the south, the sweet and energetic Nathalie David moved her small publishing house from the village of Brantes to the forest of St Léger du Ventoux in spring 2019. She wanted to spruce up the former Ranger’s House by breathing new life into it in various ways, adding a bookshop, refreshment area, and three themed walking trails leading off into nature, and finding a new lease of life in the process.
The bookshop houses works published by the Esprit des Lieux, Nathalie’s publishing house, as well as other favourites of hers. Of course, Ventoux is placed in the spotlight; Nathalie is also the publisher of the Carnets du Ventoux, the exciting magazine for lovers of the Giant of Provence.
In the bookshop, but also on the terraces to the south and north of the house, you can enjoy a cup of tea from the refreshment room or take delight in the dishes of the small restaurant, all made from fresh produce; beetroot hummus, some falafel, or even carrot croquettes – the menu depends on the mood of the chef! Objects and furniture created by artists can be found everywhere, such as these sculptures by Laurent Chauvat, who has decorated every Dior boutique around the world and who lives nearby.
Three themed walking trails invite the curious hiker to escape into the mountains:
• A Land Art trail, featuring the wind tree by Yoann Crépin, which was made using only stones and objects collected within a 20-metre radius, a pile of wood which takes the form of Mont Ventoux, or participatory works which invite anyone, adult or child, to contribute to their creation,
• A photographic journey, featuring large-format photos of Mont Ventoux by the international photographer Catherine de Clippel,
• A botanical trail with about thirty local species of plant.
During these walks, a hammock, a basket chair, or even a simple bench call for contemplation, letting you take a break from the frantic race of life for a moment.
Activity punctuates the life of this corner of the forest.
A very unique garden indeed. Very necessary too.