Armed with Paul Ambert’s 1970 detailed description of the dolmen de Combe Violon plus a printout of the area from Google Earth, I was fairly confident of finding this ‘ épave ‘ as he called it – a wreck. But after several hours of wading through waist-high box and spiny broom, kerm oak and rosemary, I gave up and drove on down the track.
Which brought me to a dead-end, and face-to-face with Danielle Durand, in her vines.
She is smiling here – but initially was rather suspicious of my motives. Cross-questioned, the car inspected for metal-detector and personal details written down – I was passed as genuine. Now we could relax and talk dolmens – about which she knows a great deal. We quickly took to eachother – and what a warm-hearted person she revealed : passionate and engaged in every aspect of her environment.
She generously took time from her painstaking work (de-budding each vine so as to reduce the quantity and thereby raise the quality of their wine) and showed me ‘her dolmen’. I would never have found it, tucked between the two ridges that flank their beautifully sinuously planted parcelle.
Danielle and Paul Durand bought the land some years ago, from an elderly vigneronne, who told them about the dolmen – but whose memory of its location was vague. Danielle herself spent much time looking for it, and it was two years later that she fell into it while beating through the bushes. They have now cleared the trees from around it, and opened a path.
This energetic couple have worked hard to transform their land into a work of art – and are reaping their reward : Domaine Paul Louis Eugene commands good prices and exports around the world. Mary and I will be back to paint and explore this hidden corner of les Causses above Siran.
Here is her dolmen :-
There’s more info and photos on the Combe Violon dolmen Page.