Peter Mayle glamorized Provence and re-ignited a middle class tourist interest in what had mostly been the getaway destination for Hollywood and nobility, but for most of history, even 20th century history, Provence has been a hilly, warm place where very rural people have made a hard, honest living in agriculture and viticulture. Above is a French documentary, partially in a Provencial dialect and mercifully subtitled in English, which looks back at this fleeting way of life through the eyes of two brother farmers who have known nothing other than old Provence, its narrow and simple way of life, its difficulties and leisure. It is the world Carey Grant characters and Mayle look at with a charmed condescension and which their successors may not have to bat around for much longer.
Relevant to this blog, the two brothers discuss the decline of Catholic practice in Provence around 26:30. The brother in the rear seems somewhat relieved to know that students today will not need to heed a "second education" by learning catechism by rote from a rigorist priest during a two hour escape from school. Still, they lament a general decline in religion and belief and recall that during their youth the people in general were quite devout, the priest covering 16 "kilometers", whatever those are, to say three Masses and return to town at night for Vespers. It was a hard faith to keep in practice, but it permeated the community and so they kept it. It is the same ingrained rural Catholic culture which existed outside of Paris during the Revolution, which survived World War II, but could not survive modern political and philosophical trends outside of places like Le Chamblac under Quintin Montgomery-Wright. The two brothers themselves question whether there is an afterlife, their eyes hoping that these old men will be surprised to learn that what the world has told them in their age is wrong.