My sons loves to find the source of water. There are private homes where his friends have lived, where we once lived, in Saint Louis and Saint Peters that have their very own ancient wells. Ancient to us, that is, would be around the time the sub-division was created, or to really nail it — You might begin with The history of St. Louis, Missouri.
It began with the settlement of the St. Louis area by Native American mound builders who lived as part of the Mississippian culture from the 800s to the 1400s, followed by other migrating tribal groups. Starting in the late 1600s, French explorers arrived, and after the French and Indian War, a French trading company led by Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau established St. Louis in February 1764. The city grew in population due to its location as a trading post on the Mississippi River. In 1803, the city and the region were sold to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. (Read, edited and taken in part from Wikipedia ).
So, My cute little sons, wearing their best coats and using fork shaped divining rods were known to hike into thick underbrush just to find “The Source” muddied coats and all….. back in the 80’s in Saint Louis………
SO imagine our surprise when we discovered in this part of the world (France) The Spring at Saint-Pierre- Les-Aubagne (Pronounced O-Bahn) not far from where we live in Cassis.
The Hostellerie de la Source (the name comes from the spring that runs through the property), is a 17th-century bastide surrounded by the loveliest of gardens with ponds and swans and shaded by box trees that are over 800 years old.
At the beginning of the 1920’s, the aide-de-camp to the last Czar of Russia, Nicholas II, lived here with his family.
Having fled their country, the Semenoffs stayed several years in Saint-Pierre -les-Aubagne and even transformed what is now Room No. 16 into a Russian Orthodox chapel.
The Hostellerie de la Source as it is named since it became a hotel is one of those traditional Provencal hotels that is delightful to visit especially if you talk to the proprietor that lives there. Yves, is his name. He’s over 75 and looks fit and energetic and he says “ it’ s because of the WATER.” His description of the place, ” – there is a Roman Aqueduct on the property….plus the cisterns run underneath the hotel and the road next to it.”
Being told “many people each day come to fill up their large containers,” sent us scurrying out to The “Cooperative” down the road to buy a “Jerrycan” so we could fill up our own and take it home. Yes!
We have to get there before 1pm – any day – (it opens up to the public at 8am) and we can take as much water as we like.
The Hostellerie de la Source – whose water is said to have exceptional qualities. Its principal component is barium, an alkaline-earth metal with anti-acid properties that is rarely found in such concentrations. Not very gassy, the spring water is particularly light, rich in calcium and magnesium, and contains no nitrates. The spring, whose age has been determined by carbon-14 dating at between 2,500 and 7,000 years, could well be, who knows, an elixir of youth……
Now discover Marcel Pagnol and his Manon de la Source – Jean de Florette and many other of his fabulous stories and films – just one of the reasons we came to France………………..