I Tripped Over a Wine Crate on a Trail Run in the South of France

Updated: Nov 21, 2019

A photo story by Maureen Cain


Here's the crack made by my running shoe.

In the mornings I like to hike or run in the hills above St Paul de Vence. The trail starts at these stairs between the Chapelle Saint-Claire and an old mill.

There are several olive mills around the village. In the old days, olive oil was used to power the Wi-Fi.

A few feet away are remains of an aqueduct that delivered water to the mill.

My run begins on a cobblestone road. Someday I will have a bubblegum pink Fiat 500 that I'll drive up narrow streets like this.

Up the way there is another chapel, this one shared by Saints Charles and Claude.


This is the spot where tourists stop in front of the Chapel of Saints C&C to take pictures of the village with the Mediterranean Sea behind it. Like this:

Our house is at the very top of the village, just under the church tower.

Right here.

I pass one last chapel on the way out of town. This one is Chapelle Notre Dame de la Gardette.

Occasionally I say bonjour to a fellow trail runner or a local old timer out for a stroll, but most of the time I have the trail all to my sweaty self.

The terrain reminds me of the hills of coastal California. This part of the trail runs along a little creek called Le Malvan.

There's a complicated spaghetti bowl of paths criss-crossing these hills. This looks to be a trail marker carved and painted into a tree, but I'm not sure.

See? It's confusing. Is this a trail marker or a fried egg?

Further up the trail is a park with interpretive signs. When my French reading skills fail me, I rely on pictures. This sign is clearly telling us to give our maps the finger.

Beyond the park there are charming fairy tale cottages like this one.

Directly across the road, however, are not-so-charming construction sites.

It's on the way down the trail that I kick the wine box and break it with my shoe. First thing I do (even before checking my foot for injuries) is scan the area for abandoned bottles. I tell myself that I could totally fill my arms and carry 12 bottles of wine down this mountain. Alas, I resume my run empty handed.

I blame the distraction of natural beauty for my wine crate clumsiness.

Truth be told, there isn't much running going on on this trail "run."

On the way home I lean against this wall to take a picture of the village. Please note the shards of wine bottle glass embedded in the mortar.


Back in the village. Our house is the one with the white doorframe. We live between an art gallery and an art studio.

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