Camp Joffre

 “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Einstein

La belle France. Yet even the most beautiful of gardens have both thorns and weeds. The group Eurocultures invited me to visit Camp Rivesaltes otherwise known as Camp Joffre where we would visit a memorial to some of its darker past. A very short distance from the beautiful waters of the Mediterranean and just the other side of the tracks lies the remnants of a concentration camp.

For nearly eight years I have tried to share with you some of the beauty in my chosen home. However, this scar must not be glossed over nor forgotten.

 

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Dedication of museum by Manuel Valls 2015
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Inside the new museum

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Reisepass

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La Fuente Family

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A starving child 1941
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Tools

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Belongings confiscated along with hopes and dreams…

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Testimony to man’s inhumanity to man.

Though the walls are crumbling and little remains of the buildings, many artifacts are carefully preserved in the new climate protected museum.

Rivesaltes Internment Camp – Camp Joffre opened in 1938 and was not to close its doors until 1970. This beautiful Country has had much pain, cruelty, and suffering inflicted on it and its people. Many of those coming through this camp did not originate in France but may have spent their final days here. With the rise of fascism rampant in numerous parts of the world, I felt it imperative to reblog this post.

 

Bisous,

Lea

 

French Kiss Gratuit!

Free French Kiss!

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 These brave young men were walking across the plaza in the nearby city of Narbonne with their sign, smiles and three other friends (one female). However, they were the only two willing to be photographed. I suspect they were just grateful that this not so young woman was not going to demand that kiss. This is just a small example of just how friendly the French can be.

 

Despite the brevity of this post, I do believe the photo says it all.

 

Bisous, 

Léa

 

 

A black cat in Montmartre

If one is to be Le Chat Noir, this is the part of France to be. Alas, my Chat Noir is down on the Mediterranean with me and two sister felines (not black).

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In the old days, Montmartre was the end of some Metro lines. “Direction Montmartre”. Not any more. It’s actually hard to find the appropriate station to go to “Matha’s hill”. I recommend Lamarck-Caulaincourt. No stairs, just walk up from the back. (The first half of this post has just been wiped out by WP. Grrr. Start from scratch. Patience, patience.)

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Le chat noir, the black cat, has become a symbol of Montmatre. Who doesn’t have this sketch on a mug? A cabaret, it was founded by Rodolphe Salis in 1881. It soon drew a crowd of artists and “bohemians”, establishing the reputation of the “hill” as a haven for artists, then and now.

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Sleeping angel. Montmartre, 2018.

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Urban strawberries. Strawberries? Seriously? Yes. Check the leaves. (Do not expect any kind of logic here. This is a Montmartre Pot-pourri)

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Le théâtre du chat noir. To lure…

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Another Walk About my Village…

“My wish is to stay like that, to live quietly in a corner of nature.” – Claude Monet

“Just living is not enough… You have to have the sun, freedom, and a little flower.”   – Hans Christian Anderson

“Nature is the source of all true knowledge. It has its own logic, its own laws. It has no effect without cause, and no invention without necessity.”     – Leonardo da Vinci

20190424_075201 Grass disappears without electric or gas power. The mother and her two children are led to available grazing spots as needed. Their permanent home is located north-east of the village center in a pasture behind the chateau.

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20190522_091817How a neighbor’s garden grows and grows.  Father and mother on one side of the tiny intersection, son and his family where you see this garden. Together, they maintain this and a small orchard/vineyard across the road. As things ripen, the excess is sold to those who are in search of excellent produce after 5pm in the evenings.

20190522_091914-1The fledgling orchard they have created may appear small but more than adequate for their needs.  The olive trees in the center and a border of vines. In addition to what you see in these to photos, they have several vineyards on the north-east end of the village. If you walk down the road between the orchard and Michel’s house, you will find our village waterfall approximately 200 meters up the path.

20190522_092326  These lovely, proud roses greet those who would enter the post office from that direction. The perfume they emit is intoxicating. There is no way I can just walk by. I  must stop, inhale and say thank you. Behind the post office is a small area with a bench perfect for escaping that hot Mediterranean sun as the trees are filling out. In the evenings, you can frequently find petanque teams who are determined to bring their game back up to where it was the previous season. In late summer, every village will host tournaments and offer prizes for the winners. Despite the smallness of the area, it is adequate for a game and there is much more space for gaming a short walk down the path.

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This photo has been shared in a larger size than the others so that you can see the structure of this plant. The geometric centers and the petals are fingerlike in shape. The bees that hover and lite upon them to feed are huge, noisy and have a reddish, purple glistening back and wings. To the right of center, the photo is one such bee if you can spot it. Between the bees and the wind, I just could not get closer and keep them in focus. If anyone is familiar with the plant, I would appreciate knowing more about it. Directly behind the plant are the tennis courts followed by the swimming pools. Off to the right of the plant is the soccer stadium and beyond that, there is a campground which has some cabins for rent and also room for tents.

Thank you to all for indulging me in my little walkabout. Some may even see a few of the reasons I love it so. When you visit France, please remember that France is more than Paris and while there are similarities among villages, each has its own charms.

While you are out and about enjoying nature, please remember all she has given us, her survival and ours, is in our own hands.

Bisous,

Léa

URGENCE ECOLOGIE! / Ecology Emergency!

20190513_124051 Two days after seeing this poster on my weekly shopping trip to Narbonne, I saw an announcement in the local paper for a demonstration on the 25th of May. There was no question, I had to be there. 

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It may appear a bit disorganized but it was very early and people were still arriving. I do apologize for the photos I wanted to share but missed. My phone/camera was showing nothing but a blank, dark, screen. I don’t know how much of that was due to the strong Mediterranean sun but I am grateful to have the few photos I managed to get. The drummers were from two groups, one in Narbonne and the second joined us from nearby Carcassonne. They kept us all in beat and let everyone know we were there. There were close to 100 drummers in total. I can’t begin to imagine how many people were there as I couldn’t see past them all. 

20190525_163917-1   World March For The Climate / It is time again

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The last two photos are the two sides of the sign I was given to carry. Signs were collected upon our return so that they may be used again. I do wish I could have photographed each and every sign as they all had at least one message that needs to be heard.

20190525_161032     Plastic, no thanks / PLASTIC = NO MERCY

20190525_163340    Your climate is heating up / You can guard it!

20190525_151844  Outside the Narbonne Courthouse, we paused to listen to a few speakers from Les gilets jaunes / The yellow vests. As they have every Saturday for the past several months, been in force. We had paused at each of their locations along our route and they were most supportive. Despite being there for their cause, some of them joined us for part or all of the march. 

20190525_141627  TAX ON THE MEAT  – As a vegan myself, I appreciated how the word meat has blood dripping into the land…

As many of you are aware, livestock is a major contributor to global warming, accounting for at least 18 percent of all global warming gases. For those who have been unaware, it is past time that you educate yourself before it is too late. The meat industry is not going to tell you. We must band together, share what we do know and hold the government and food industry accountable. The internet is rich information, alas there is always misinformation so be wary of your sources. Our responsibility is to know and to act. The children know and in rising numbers, they call on us to account for our neglect and to join them. Greta Thunberg travels Europe by train or with her parents in their electric car to speak to the world on Climate Change and what we all must do. YouTube is filled with her speeches. She has been nominated for the Nobel Prize and has just recently turned sixteen years of age. All over the globe, they are walking out of schools protesting. We are not doing enough and so the children have picked up the gauntlet and are shaming us for we have left them vulnerable with little to no future in sight.  Here is a link to Greta addressing the EU and I hope all will listen to this girl’s words. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWsM9-_zrKo

 

Thank you for bearing with me. I will not apologize for my diatribe. What I would love to know is where you are on this planet and what steps you are taking to save the world that has given us so much and what changes you will make so that our children and grandchildren can survive? 

Bisous,

Léa

LE CHOEUR de L’AUDE

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The Choir of the Aude

Created in 2016 by choristers from the departmental choir of Aude, it is composed of about sixty singers and choir directors, from different choirs of the department.

 

The Choir of the Aude benefits from a high-level training, combining the discovery of new repertoires and the interpretation of works The Choir of Aude

 Classic or traditional. It is brilliantly directed by William Hedley, a choral conductor whose reputation is second to none.

For this season 2018/2019, the Choir of Aude has chosen in collaboration with Martine Laure, professor at the Conservatory of Carcassonne to present young pianists of his students, who will express themselves as soloists or accompanies.
They will amaze you with their talent.

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A very nice program around the works of Berlioz, Borodin, Chopin, Dvorak, Faure, Janacek, Rachmaninoff, Turina, and Vaughan Williams. Within the first ten minutes of the doors being opened, they began searching for more chairs and my photos were limited as there was no space to maneuver. 

Participation au chapeau (Donations accepted)

My sincere appreciation to my neighbors, Francine, and Françoise, for the invitation to join them for this event. 

 

Bisous,

Léa

 

Printemps – Spring

Spring has been gracing us with her vibrant colors for a month. Overnight we began by finding almond trees bursting with buds. 

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Not to be outdone, flowers began to appear and remind us of their seductive charms. If only I had the ability to share the fragrances that lace the air and cling to my laundry as it dries on the line. 

 

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Each day another tree or plant unveils her secrets.

20190313_141447  20190416_10510220190416_105142 20190416_105119 Walking about my village, there are new buds revealing themselves daily. For the last few weeks, the poppies have been showing their scarlet beauty. I don’t include any photos of them at this time as they deserve a special post with a field making an appearance, hopefully soon.

The Mimosa trees are filled with blossoms and fragrant as are many of the other blooms. The frogs are making a racket with their song but they stay hidden during sunlight hours as do the crickets. 

The figs are growing rapidly and I can almost taste them. A friend halves them, stuffs them with goat cheese and drizzles them with a balsamic honey mixture then grills them. They are delicious but I just love them right off the tree. No tree, no problem as they are everywhere and plenty that are not on someone’s private property. Bon appetit!

 

Bisous,

Léa