Semaine bavaroise

Semain bavaroise or Bavarian Week was the theme in Narbonne last week. I hadn’t noticed any mention of it in the paper but there are so many such events year around and even more in the summer when crowds of tourists line the streets. I first glimpsed the little white chalets set up for selling traditional food and drinks. The were set up in the center square in Front of Place de Ville and facing the Via Domita. Then as I turned and walked up Rue Droit (Right Way) I began to see men and women is costumes heading toward the center square. 

The participants gathered on the steps of Place de Ville for a brief welcome was given and an invitation for people to come to the performances of singing and dancing in the evening. The traditional food would also be available in the evening so no chance of sampling it. Alas, I knew I would not be able to remain.

Enjoying a café in the square is something I usually do once a week. It is delightful when the sun is shining. Of course I always have a book or two in my purse and on my table you will see one of the books I am currently reading. 

The group assembled on the steps. Inside you can walk about and perhaps as far as the massive ballroom on the upper floor. The offices of the mayor and his council are all there as well.  Extra tables with canopy had been set up to accommodate the additional guest and so that the cafés were not over burdened. 

Unfortunately, there were throngs of individuals trying to photograph the group and being rather short, I was quickly pushed back to where I couldn’t get more shots. They group reassembled for more photos on the Via Domita but once again, I was unable to get any closer and they didn’t remain for long. 

There are events and festivals all year around but through the summer, there is always something on. If you are traveling to France and would like some idea of what may be available in the area you plan to visit, just look on line for the area and the local Office of Tourism. Information is available in both French and English. It will also give you a much broader picture of what you can expect to find. 

Bisous,

Léa

L’ART CACHÉ PART III

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 padou1946@gmail.com or search for her on Facebook. Alas, I am not on Facebook so I cannot provide the link.

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Geneviève Gourvil

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/

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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.

 

 

 

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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/

Bisous,

Léa

 

 

 

14 Juillet, 2017

“I know a freedom, and that is the freedom of the spirit.”                                                    – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Preparation – before the crowd

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.

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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. 

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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.

 

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Curried Coconut Chicken and Rice, it was delicious!

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À votre santé!

 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. 

Bisous,

Lèa

L’Art Caché II – 2017

As one who lives to write, I appreciated this next artist immensely. Isabelle tells stories with bits of rock, pebble and other bits. I was thrilled when she walked me about her mosaics and sharing their tale. It was a visceral experience and you could feel the different tableau’s secrets.

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The daughter and the distant mother

 

Isabelle Delacampagne’s work is not limited to the mosaics you will see here. Yet this story was so compelling and the work so evocative, I prefer to stick with the tale. The story is of the all too short life of the young girl in the red dress, her parents and her journey. The entire set is on the website delacampagne.com. Her email is: isa@delacampagne.com and there is much more there than was even on exhibit. She is absolutely on the list of the artists whose atelier/workshop/gallery I should love to visit and do an exclusive post on. 

 

 

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The cruel father

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The artist with the final mosaic in the story.

There are many more mosaics to the story and other pieces that space here does not allow me to share. I do hope you will visit her site. 

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Artist Marie-Jose Maleville

You can visit Marie-Jose’s site at http://mjmaleville.com 

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Erick Fourrier sculpts with wood and plastic. It was fascinating to watch him at work. That is not an opportunity one has often. His website includes a link to a video of the artist on youtube, erickfourrier.fr

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Erick Fourrier, the artist at work                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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There is much more to see on the website so I do hope you will check it out.

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As you may notice, the old barn where monsieur Fourrier’s work is exhibited, was at one time utilized making wine. Wine making is the major industry in this region and though it may take second place to sheep in Albas, it still is part of the lives of most of the residents.

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Perhaps some of you don’t feel the last two photos are relevant to the art featured here. You may be right but I feel that the setting is very much a part of an exhibit of Hidden Art.

There are still quite a number of photos to share and artists to exhibit. I do hope that you will return for more Hidden Art. I should also like to send big kudos to Eurocultures for allowing me to continue to bring this art and these artist to you. Please check out their site:  https://eurocultures.fr/evenements/lart-cache-3/

 

Bisous,

Léa

In a village there is something for everyone

“The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.”  – George Orwell

In a village you are part of the whole. Nobody is perfect and together we are amazing! The concentric circles take in the new and allow it its own space among the ongoing saga. If you want to be part of it, the arms are open to welcome you.

Here in our village of 700, we have just enough space for all here. If someone new arrives a new space is born respective of the others. I’ve been here nearly ten years and knew I was home the first time I saw it.

On Wednesday afternoons at the cantina there are games, refreshments and one of the most caring environments I have ever witnessed. My first visit I was welcomed and invited to join in. After that, you are one of the group and your absence is felt and inquiries commence. Are you well? Do you need anything and a really big one is, can I help?

While technically, the game time is for 50 and over, it just isn’t. Yesterday’s repas (meal) and Loto (much like Bingo) mixed several generations. While there are many who lend their support bringing cakes and beverages, lending a hand when there just are not enough for a particular game so nobody is disappointed and chauffeuring those who might not be able to attend otherwise and so much more, there is one person who really has her pulse on everything and I don’t believe the magic would happen without Sylvie. School is out and three young boys and their mothers joined in. Sometimes a young person will call the loto numbers. The three boys played and one actually won a game.

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Sylvie

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Loto cards & prizes

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Usual Suspects

 

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A few more suspects

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Bon appetit!

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Choose your weapon, plastic discs or nuts and bolts?
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Denise et Claude – tough competition!

If you cannot find anything to do in a small French village, you are not looking. Flyers are posted at the local businesses and announced on the PA system. Just recently our village has posted its own website as more villagers go online.

Everyone had a wonderful time and nobody was in a hurry to leave. The group is on hiatus now until September but there is always something else to do. Now I am off to my favorite art expo and there just may be a post or two in that…

Bisous,

Léa

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 has 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 over five 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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Belongs 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. For nearly five years, I have shared with you the beauty, serenity and the joy of La belle France. Yet 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.

 

Bisous,

Lea

 

VIVE LA FRANCE~

Fête Nationale (or to English speakers Bastille Day) is the biggest day in the French Year. Not only is it a time of family, friends and celebration but it is nearing the height of the tourist season. On quatorze juillet (14 July) large crowds gathered all across France to join in the celebration of LIBERTÉ, ÉGALITÈ, FRATERNITÉ from Paris to the tiniest village in the Country. 

I find it highly unlikely that more than a very few of you out there can be unaware of the attack in Nice last Thursday. It is all over the media and I am not here to reiterate what has been said so many times. What I do want to say is that the French are all too aware. Yet paranoia is not a French attribute. We do not live in Fear. We will not give our Liberty, Equality nor our Fraternity to those who wish us harm, or for that matter to anyone. Three National days of mourning began on Saturday ending tonight. 

Just as we join ranks to celebrate, we also come together to mourn. At noon across France today were gatherings a few words from the maire (mayor), a moment of silence and usually concluded with The Marseillaise which is the National Anthem of France.

On Saturday I was in Carcassonne. While the flags were at half mast or in the case of smaller flags which could not be lowered a black ribbon was tied around the flag, life in France goes on. We refuse to live in fear. From the following photos you can see just how vibrant and lively the locals and tourists continued with their day. I was there for approximately five hours and saw two police making their rounds on foot which is normal. Take a look at a few photos from Place Carnot where I met my friends and of course, Saturday is a market day there.

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Place Carnot, Carcassonne 16/07/2016
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Le marché Place Carnot, Carcassonne
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Le marché Place Carnot, Carcassonne 16/07/2016
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Les Corbières 18/07/2016                                                                       
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Les Corbières 18/07/2016                                                                        

There are times, like this, where it would be lovely to be a bit taller or perhaps in front? I had hoped to get some actual photos of the maire speaking. Alas, it was not possible and I do apologise. However, I did want to create this post that shows the resolution of the French people. Our gathering, like most, is outside the office of the mayor. Up those front stairs to where the first floor (where the balcony is) is the chambre de mariage (for weddings) and next to that are the offices of the mayor, his secretary and other members of the counsel. This is a rather large building and there are classrooms on both sides of these offices over two floors which is our village school. Regardless, that is another post. LIBERTÉ, ÉGALITÈ, FRATERNITÉ 

Paix, bisous, et VIVE LA BELLE FRANCE!

Léa