Jan 21, 2011

Plateau de Calern above Grasse

North of Grasse, at ca 1200m altitude, the Cote d'Azur features a plateau of surprising dimensions, built into the mountains, as it were, and split by the Gorges du Loup, the local version of the Grand Canyon. We've never heard of it, but Doris & Dirk, who own a house just above our's in Le Trayas, go there at least once a year. 

The plateau hosts the French Astronomical Society and its telescopes, which are now used for the detection of stray asteroids (that could hit the planet on a bad day), and the eponymous gamma bursts, the most violent events in the know cosmos (one telescope can swing to any part of the sky within 10 sec, which is important since the gamma bursts don't burst very long).

"As much as I appreciate the cosmological dedication to Gamma Bursts," Doris comments on the spot, "I do regret that black holes are apparently low on the astronomical shopping list." And then she goes on and tells about a friend of her's, Monica, who got almost caught by a black hole in the vicinity of Willem-Voltaire on the Swiss border. As Doris elaborates further on Monica's sex life, her emigration to Texas, her disappointments in Texas, more on Monica's sex life---especially during Monica's travels to Africa where she meets extremely shapely Kenyans whose skin glistens in the sunlight when they are aroused---as Doris elaborates further, the elves of the plateau conspire into fluffy gray clouds and dance across the sky.



plateau of Calern

The astronomy of the plateau is very much a family affair. Five generations of the Falaise clan have already served this most aristocratic science, all sharing the curious first name Danger, and find themselves buried one by one next to the largest telescope in genealogical order. The unfortunate gravitational imbalance of the tombstone of Danger V is redressed by the rasender reporter as we speak.

Freedom Fries rasender reporter

It's cool up here, and otherworldly. Visitors cast a long shadow. Wolfs roam the plateau at night and grab the local sheep. Recently, they drove a terrified flock across the precipice into involuntary suicide. Very tragic. 

plateau of Calern


Caussol, the plateau's village (5 houses) features an auberge that's really worth visiting for its old-school French inhospitality ("Nous sommes fermés, mais bien sur, Madame").