Hiking into the mountainous maquis shrubland again today, I realized that the maquisards got their name from this place: The maquis; the dry, dense, thorny and almost impenetrable vegetation that covers most hills in southern France. The maquisards were the small groups of men and women who formed La Resistance during WW2 and fought the Nazis in this region of France. Our village, Marquixanes, has its own maquisard hero, Roger Roquefort, who paid the ultimate price.
Up in the mountains above Marquixanes, there are still lots of stone walls and tiny rocky shelters for shepherds; – all relics from a bygone era when sheep were feeding on the sparse food resources high above the valley floor. Now all has been reclaimed by the maquis and the occasional tower with cell phone antennas on remote hill tops seem to be the only human activity here.