I embarked on a walk up into the Dentelles de Montmirail, heading out south from Beaumes-de-Venise, towards Roque-Alric.
The entire area is covered in vinyards, from the bottom of the valley to the peaks of the mountains, with a few olive orchards scattered in between.
As the incline rises – rather gently all the way up – the vinyards become terraced, patches of shrubbery and forest in between. The path narrows and becomes rockier.
Seeing the distant horizon emerge from between the hills that covered it, mountains seen from below as just mounds of trees with houses assume a recognisable shape and expose their peaks, and more and more of the landscape's features reveal themselves below was a joyous feeling.
There was a small stone tower amid the vines. It's a stone taller now.
Had I continued over the mountain, I would have reached the picturesque village of Roque-Alric in 1.5 km. Unfortunately, I had unterestimated the heat, was dressed too hot, and neglected to bring some water with me. (This was very stupid. Always take a drink with you in the summer!)Feeling perhaps the first signs of mild heat exhaustion, I didn't want to continue over an unfamiliar mountain, and made my way back downhill towards paved roads and lone houses.
The way back was a little longer than the footpath winding uphill the mountain, but a pleasant wind blew between the vinyards. People worked in some; a tractor passed by, paths branched out from the main road towards country homes and farmsteads.
The route provided scenic views of the Dentelles de Montmirail. The lesser mountains and hills served as landmarks, and guided me back into the valley.
This rock here, ridden with caves, resembles another in the heart of the village, but that's a story for another time.