are two typical Alsatian towns. The architecture, is fairytale, meets living history, with the added benefit of French dessert! There are little towns like these scattered all over Alsace, exploring, (note Jupiter near clock tower) and eating, here is a delightful way to spend your days! Cheers to you from beautiful Alsace~
In the past, a three post series has been made to share the art from this excellent annual exposition of hidden art. I do not see how I can possibly limit myself that harshly this year and so I hope that some of you will bear with me. One thing for sure, you never know where in Albas you will turn a corner and find some art you will never forget. It will inspire you, and get those creative juices flowing.
Claude Espada is a local artist and lives in a most charming village on the edge of the Mediterranean. I’ve no doubt that is where much of her inspiration lies… You can contact her at email@example.com or search for her on Facebook. Alas, I am not on Facebook so I cannot provide the link.
For additional information on mme. Gourvil, please see her website. While it is in French, a click of a button will translate it for you. http://gourvilgenevieve.com/
Daniel Cordonnier takes his photograpy to some fascinating levels. His mission, to make the invisible, visible. Please check out Daniel’s website for much more art and information: http://www.danielcordonnier.com You can also find him on Facebook.
This is the third post in this series. For me it is a delight to return to the charming little village of Albas for this expo each year. I do hope to attend both days next year as there is never enough time to really appreciate it all and a chance to meet the artist. I never photograph without the artist’s permission and they must be available for that. Please do visit the Eurocultures site as there is more than I can possibly accommodate here. There are a number of photos left from the exposition and I shall endeavor to create one more post in this series.
For additional information, to communicate with the sponsors of this and many other events, please contact Eurocultures en Corbières: https://eurocultures.fr/ or https://www.facebook.com/eurocultures/
“I know a freedom, and that is the freedom of the spirit.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
It isn’t just about setting up and serving on the day. The Durban mon village Association has put in considerable time choosing a menu, the music, and the myriad of other considerations required to make this a memorable event. Just prior to the day, I witnessed several villagers creating the new countertop you see in the above photo.
Celebrants begin arriving at about 7:00 in the evening and staking out where they want to sit, speaking with friends and taking a beverage from this willing crew.
The food begins! Bread, water, wine and such have been put in place and now the servers bring the first course. A half melon into which they will pour Muscat, a sweet, pale golden, wine. Though it is lovely, I opt for plain melon as I don’t have a sweet tooth.
A young couple with their three year old daughter join our table as the melon is being served. The young lady and her mom pass on the wine but watch her appreciate the melon as only a child can do.
Curried Coconut Chicken and Rice, it was delicious!
As always, a good time was had by all. The DJ, sometimes a band or more, and the music and dancing go on will into the night. Even the smallest children, barely walking, are out dancing with parents, and grandparents. The French truly wrote the book on celebrating life.
When it is spoken of in English speaking countries, 14 July is usually called Bastille Day or (French National Day). Here in France, it is La quatorze juillet (14 July) or La Fête Nationale (Formal name). The actual storming of the bastille was 14 July 1889
The medieval fortress and prison in Paris known as the Bastille represented royal authority in the heart of Paris. On the morning of 14 July 1789, the people stormed the building and released the seven prisoners it contained at the time. Yet this action had nothing to do with the number of inmates but the fact that the storming was a symbol of the abuses of the monarchy and was the critical stage which erupted into the French Revolution.
There were three events that led up to the revolution. First was the revolt of the nobility, refusal to aid King Louis XVI by withholding taxes, the second was formation of the National Assembly and the third event was the storming of the Bastille and the ensuing Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
The masses formed the National Guard, sporting tricolour or cockades (cocardes) ribbons knotted together of red, blue and white. These cockades and soon the color scheme itself, become symbol of the revolution and continue today as symbol of France itself.
While the date for the destruction of the Bastille was indeed 14 July 1789, the date for French National Day was actually 14 July, 1790 to commemorate the 1790 Fête de la Fédération. It is a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation and reconciliation of all French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic during the French Revolution. Celebrations are held all over France. A largest and oldest military parade in Europe is held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, French officials and foreign quests.
Here in my small village, there will be a meal (repas) attended by all who wish. Each year a different village organization takes charge of preparing the dinner, selling tickets procuring music and everything else that is involved. As the meal comes to a close fireworks are shot from the village chateau. The tables and chairs get moved way back and the dancing goes on well into the morning. Despite the fact that I was, once again, invited to spend the day in Carcassonne where there is the second largest fireworks display outside Paris. However, the evening with my friends and neighbors cannot be matched by a mere firework display. It is one day I truly do not want to be anywhere else.
Seating fills quickly but you can make a reservation by stationing someone from your group or by placing something at one point, tipping forward the chairs you will be using and also with a pen or marker put the name and number of guests you require seating for. While this may sound simple, the claim is respected and your seats await you.
The annual fête de vin or wine festival in Carcassonne is not to be missed. Tourists come specifically for this event and locals come to have a fun evening or two and try the different wines from the areas represented. The location of this particular festival is located in the center of town, Place carnot. There are cafés one each side of the square but during the hours of the event, they limit what is on offer.
In the photo above, the first band of the evening is warming up their instruments and the crowds. Being France, it isn’t long before the dancing begins. The vendors are setting opening bottles and setting up the dishes they will offer. Each vendor will have foods that are best served with the wines they have for sale. One vendor specialises in desert wines and has several decadent deserts available. Glasses of wine to try are normal serving size and available for between one and two euros per glass.
At intervals around the vendors stalls you will find large covered wine barrels that serve as bars or counter space where groups of people can gather around and enjoy their drinks and food. Once the festival gets going it quickly gets crowded and navigating can be a bit challenging but worth it.
Some carried a light wrap for the evening but we were fortunate and didn’t need them. The weather was glorious and we sat in the square at Chez Felix, a favourite café. Even with most of the square’s cafés staying open, seating was at a premium so our group of four would take turns looking for a wine and food to try. We each found different wines and foods and sampled and shared. It was a great evening.
Recently, I attended a wedding in my village. The couple are the owners of our local café and have become friends in the short time they have lived here.
The grand salon at the maire (Mayor’s office) is where all marriages take place in this village. The only official marriage recognised in France is the civil ceremony. If a couple chooses they can arrange to have a celebration in a religious venue but it has no legal bearing. Each village has a maire and would have a room or office where the ceremony would take place.
Here is the happy couple, Audrey and Loic with their two witnesses Christiane and her husband Henri.
Weddings are usually held on Saturdays or Wednesdays and begin a 4:00pm. For the most part, they are very casual and brief. The room is not conducive to a large crowd. The couple must have two witnesses and on this occasion, we were a group of about fifteen including the Bride and Groom.
In the center of the group you might notice the three boys. The youngest, Mateo, in the middle are the children of Audrey and Loic.
Now we are off to their café to toast Audrey and Loic and their happiness!
A few regular’s came by the celebration and joined in.
In this post, I have decided to let the pictures do the talking. I hope you have enjoyed the wedding!
In France, café culture dates back centuries. They have always been a gathering place for the intellectuals where they frequently engaged in philosophical debates. The Avant Guarde would come to display their work and artists and writers were often exchange ideas and/or to drown their sorrows. From the French Revolution to the French Resistance, the freedom fighters would congregate at cafés to formulate their plan of action. In Paris you may still have a drink at such places as Les Deux Magots where such figures as Picasso and Hemingway were known to frequent to Les Deux Garçons in Aix-en-Provence which was a favorite of Cézanne.
Café culture still thrives in France. Not just the trendy cafés of Paris but everywhere in France. Even many of the smallest villages have their own cafés. The locals still gather to have a café, glass of wine or beer with family, friends and neighbours. The tourists flock to the cafés to absorb the atmosphere, quench their thirst and often for information. Many cafés serve meals or sandwiches. There is almost always both indoor and outdoor seating.
Our village café closed on 15 June 2013 and re-opened last weekend, 7 June 2014 with new owners. As you can see in the photos, Loic and Audrey along with their three children are a welcome addition to the community. They have plans to introduce a small menu of homemade fare soon. We look forward to getting to know them better and the multitude of cyclists, backpackers and others visiting our village will be assured of a welcoming respite, a refreshing beverage and friendly locals.
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