Saturday, 9 July 2011

Tour de Crest, France

The 13th day of the 2010 Tour de France witnessed the 11th Stage from Sisteron to Bourg-lès-Valence, a distance of 184.5 km (about 115 miles). This was a flat stage with only one category 3 climb, and Mark Cavendish, once again brilliantly led out by his teammate Mark Renshaw, proved too good for the others at the finish. But this victory, his third on this Tour, came at a steep price because Renshaw was disqualified from the Tour for headbutting another rider as he was leading out Cavendish to the finish.

This stage also saw Alessandro Petacchi take over the green jersey from Thor Hushovd. Andy Schleck retained the yellow jersey as the overall leader of the Tour, and the white jersey as the leader in the best young rider classification. Jerome Pineau continued to lead in the mountain classification and retained the polka jersey.

Crest lies on the route taken by the Tour de France 2010 from Sisteron to Bourg-les-Valence. It straddles ancient trade routes and was therefore an important place even prior to the Roman Empire. It is known that the Crest Castle was in existence in the 12th century itself, since there is a record of Pope Calixte II sending out a letter from Chateau de Crest. Around this time the medieval town of Crest grew around the castle.

The huge square main tower built of dressed stone, the tallest dungeon in France, was built in the late 14th century. But, in the 17th century the castle was destroyed on the orders of King Louis XIII who found it "potentially dangerous". It was Cardinal Richelieu (one of the main characters in Alexander Dumas' "The Three Musketeers") who carried out his king's orders. The tower alone was spared and used as a prison until the late 19th century.

Crest is now a tourist centre with plenty of events like its vocal jazz festival. The Tour de Crest is classified as a historical monument and, since 1988, it belongs to the town. Tourists are allowed to visit it.

My sketch of the tower is approximately 9.5 cm x 12 cm. It is a fairly quick sketch and I probably spent more time drawing the foliage than the main building.


  1. Imposing building! That little balcony tucked into the inset reminds me of a Rakasthani Jharokha! Even the shape of the arches.

  2. Yes, it does. I wish I could see how this tower related to the rest of the destroyed castle.