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Another of his books was also made into the film A Good Year (2006) directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe, which was filmed nearby in the same region.As a result, in recent decades Luberon and its towns and villages like Lourmarin and Ménerbes, which probably were the lesser known parts of Provence, even in France, became better known in the English-speaking world.

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Its stone pillars shaped like the pulpits of a church echo the 12th century Benedictine monastery whose monks black habits gave the area its name. Work started in 1675 during the reign of Charles ll to replace the old St Pauls destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666.

Its 365ft (110m) high dome is slightly smaller than St Peters in Rome.

Another famous writer, British expatriate Peter Mayle today lives in Lourmarin.

One of his books, A Year in Provence, giving the chronicle of a British expatriate who settled in the village of Ménerbes, was made into a TV series and a film.

Neither Barry nor Pugin were to live to see the new buildings completed.

The famous tower and clock are known as Big Ben but this is in fact the name of the 16 ton bell which rings the hour.

Designed by Charles Barry and the underlying genius of Pugin who was responsible for all the decorative work.

The buildings occupied the site of the old Royal Palace of Westminster which had burnt down in 1834.

William Chaucers father was a vintner and he himself appointed Richard IIIs Clerk of Works responsible for maintaining both Palaces at the Tower and Westminster as well as repairing the banks of the Thames between Woolwich and Greenwich, where at one time he had a house.

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