Source: Exposition: La Petite Galerie
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.
“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.
Loto cards & prizes
A few more suspects
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…
Once again, L’Art Caché has invited so many talented artists that I couldn’t possibly cram them all into one or even two posts this year. The first artist I present to you is one who exhibited here the second year I posted on L’Art Caché. Zarno takes recycling to a new level and any old television, computer or even small plastic cubes are frames for his creativity. Zarno is on Facebook , Zarno Patamodeleur, (I am not) you can also contact him by email at email@example.com
Claude Roux, I must track down her atelier and see if a visit is possible. Perhaps there are others of you out there that would like to see more of her work. I am finding more and more artists that I want to see their studio or an exhibit of a larger body of their work. She is one of them. If you like what you see, drop by her website and leave a comment. You don’t need to be fluent in French or indeed any French to do so. clauderoux-sculptures.com
You will soon find that Marcel Deltelle has captured me. Okay, so perhaps I’ve gone a bit over the top posting more of his photos than I usually do. He captures me and leads me down an enchanted path to a world I was previously unacquainted with. You can be sure I will keep my eyes open for an exhibit of his or even better, access to his atelier! I know at least a few of you out there that this will really speak to. Please stop by his website to see some of what other magic awaits: http://marceldeltell.wixsite.com/cdml leave a comment. You can reach him also by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is my hope that you find something here that speaks to you, makes you smile or inspires your own creativity. If so, I am thrilled. If an artist interests you, most of them in the three post series have websites or are part of Eurocultures and can easily be located for new works and exhibitions. Please stop by the Eurocultures website as they sponsor this exhibit and many more throughout the year.euroculturesencorbieres
As promised, there is more to be seen from the exhibit in Cailhau. I shall provide links to the artists when possible and otherwise refer you to the Artist’s Collective website.artcailhau.blogspot.com and for those of you on Facebook, here is their link: facebook.com/cailhauartistes
This first photo is one of a few that are at Atelier galerie Al Trial which is where we left off in Part 1.
Tsk, tsk, I cannot imagine a studio of my own being so organized! I do happen to have a number of friends who are artists and shall we say that I would not be alone…
As we move from Atelier to Atelier we do so in a group. Now we move on to Atelier Du Verrier were we can see the Bijoux (jewellery) and Objet d’art by Matthew Millar.
Matthew can answer your questions via email at email@example.com
It took me a moment to notice the bicycle up against the old house in the work above. I do believe it is the piece I like the most among his work.
Our next stop is Atelier boutique L’Ecurie de Pépé. Christine welcomes us into her space which is vibrant and warm. You can contact Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our next and final stop for this post will be Maison A.
This poetry book is all hand made/sewn. The watercolours blend with the words. The work, meticulous. You can check out Barbara at http://www.barbaradardi.blogspot.com
Barbara is a poet/author and ceramicist.
The Song of the Shirt was written by Thomas Hood in 1843 to honour a widow who sewed to feed her young children. If you want to know more of the story, check out the following link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Song_of_the_Shirt
In the above photo you can find the poem interspersed with photos of early 20th century women in sweat shops making shirts. The first verse of the poem is here for you.
Song of the Shirt
With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread—
Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch
She sang the “Song of the Shirt.”
“Work! work! work!
While the cock is crowing aloof!
Till the stars shine through the roof!
It’s O! to be a slave
Along with the barbarous Turk,
Where woman has never a soul to save,
If this is Christian work!
Till the brain begins to swim;
Please forgive the quality of these photos. I do not have others of these last two photographs but did want to show this piece.
While the birds themselves were creative, if you look closely in the above photo you will find the small man. With the appearance of someone on back of the bird soaring higher I was swept away by this evocative piece. I also use this piece to close the series from Cailhau. I’ve no doubt we shall return.
It seems that many Countries have something like a vide grenier or empty attic. In some places they may be a car boot sale, yard sale, garage sale, block sale… Here in France we empty our attics which are much more common than a garage and the village is invited to put out their merchandise. Of course there are always a few new things, and an artist or two but most of what is on display will be items in search of a new home.
While most of the vide greniers take place from early spring and throughout the summer, you can find them year around if you search. There are websites where you can look to see what is available in the area you want and the one that comes to mind quickly is vide-greniers.org. They will have other information such as Brocantes (second-hand) which may include more antiques but DO NOT ASSUME! The best way is to check it out for yourself. There is always a group within the village that will host it and charge a few euros for the space to help raise funds. The same group will host the refreshment bar or buvette.
The next one in this village is on 25 May and will be hosted by the SAPEURS/POMPIERS or Emergency Services/Fire Fighters. They always have the largest turnout for vendors and customers and I would rank their buvette at the top of the list.
The races on 14 May offer a bit of a demonstration today. As you can see from these photos, no two entries are alike.
Of course this is a great opportunity to socialise with friends and neighbours. As more tourists arrive for the season their ranks will swell at the greniers. Not to mention, some of the vendors come from other villages and people do travel to greniers outside their home village frequently. The activities culminate in a dance which goes until the wee hours… Get your dancing shoes on!
It is always a delight to spend the day in Montolieu. La village du livre is small with a population of less than one thousand. Yet, this beautiful village nestled in the Montaigne Noir is home to twenty bookshops, a massive compound where paper-making, book-making and other related crafts are taught and celebrated. Naturally, being France, artists are to be found at nearly every corner. However, that is another post. Wandering from bookshop to bookshop is not without consequences. One finds that they end up making trips back to the car with each load of books that were just not able to pass up. There is always the museum of book and paper making and the old compound that still makes and teaches the arts of book and paper making. There are also workshops and classes available for writers which bring visitors from different countries. While the majority of the books are in French, there is truly something for everyone. I head for the poetry sections and always manage to expand my collection of French poets.
The Montolieu foyer was turned over to various collectors who had books to sell. This is over and above the twenty bookshops scattered around this charming village.
Something I have not encountered before is the automated produce system. Everything was fresh, local and organic! Just down the road is a bookshop/restaurant which is organic and where Yvonne and I were served an excellent lunch. It happens to be the same shop where we had the amazing chestnut cakes on a previous visit. If you would like to see more check out these previous posts: https://foundinfrance.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/montolieu/ and https://foundinfrance.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/michel-braibant-museum-conservatory-of-book-arts-crafts/ Regardless of when you visit Montolieu, you will leave enchanted! Bisous, Léa