Lolo Mauron: a living treasure of Saint Rémy
Hidden behind the town of Saint Rémy and nestled up against the Alpilles mountains, is the otherworldly Mas de La Pyramide. It’s a Roman farm, and served as a limestone quarry for almost 2000 years. A limestone obelisk in the middle of the garden, some 20 meters high, may look like a sculpture, but it’s actually the ground that’s been carved out around it: the obelisk was purposefully left as a witness to almost 20 centuries of quarrying. In 1609 Lolo Mauron’s ancestors moved in to the farm, and his family has been there since. He’s the last of the line, no children or even nephews or nieces to take his place. But for now, even at 92 years old, there’s no stopping him. Lolo Mauron has been making homemade meals for groups on his farm since he retired from farming, some 28 years ago. He’s still going strong, dancing and singing, flipping his famed black-olive omelet, and recounting how on the 24th of August 1944, with the help of American troops, he helped liberate Saint Rémy as a 20 year-old resistance fighter. Well into his 80s he built a massive stone fireplace, replanted several dozen olive trees that his father had ripped out in the 1920s, and went on a trans-Siberian rail journey with friends.
Inside his farm is a veritable museum of Roman tools, quarry walls, a 500kg wooden table attributed to the Knights Templar, and enough centuries-old farming equipment to fill ten museums. He himself doesn’t even know how his family got all these treasures.
For our groups he serves an endless feast of Provençal specialties he cooks himself – in a natural limestone grotto – while his geese and chickens meander around his guests, looking for handouts. The meal never lasts less than three hours, but that’s ok: we’re never keen on leaving.