La vendange, once again

Don’t forget to click on the photos to enlarge them. 

Fruit of the vine
Fruit of the vine

It seems that most everyone here is involved in La vendange (grape harvest).

Sunshine on our shoulder...
Sunshine on our shoulder…

More grapes are grown in this region than anywhere else in France.  Even before the last of the grapes are picked, the celebrations begin.  The festivities seem to never end as each village hosts its own so there is always one to attend, throughout November, and sample the wares.

While it seems that increasing numbers are being picked by machine, much of the land here is just too steep for them. It is backbreaking work and the cutters used to take the fruit are very sharp.

It is almost a rite of passage that young people from other parts of Europe head down to the vineyards of France to pick grapes and enjoy the country. At the end of the vendange, our village hosts a dance. The wine festivals come later but since there is no set time for vignerons to begin their harvest, it will usually stagger over the months of September through early November. There are places like Leucate where they produce a Muscat (often very sweet) and begin in the August heat!

The vendange I followed and photographed, took place in the tiny village of Embres. It is only a few kilometers from my village and they produce one of the best wines around. My friend Cees (Cornelis) insists Embres wine is the best! They produce a

Embres - vin cave
Embres – vin cave

range of reds, white and delicious rosé.  He will not get any argument from me.  While it would have been lovely to get inside the vin cave to photograph the process, it is just to busy and I would have only been in the way.  Perhaps there will be a future post inside? During the vendange, you can barely get into the little shop where you can buy a bottle of Trois, Pompador or any of their other delicious wines.

One of the pickers is a charming woman named Paloma who was asked to help out a few years ago and said she would give it a go! While many of the pickers are young, they are by no means the entire force. At the beginning of the day, Cees walked up to Paloma and tried to secure a lovely pink rose in her hair. With all the bending, it didn’t last too long but was a lovely thought.

On this team, there were two porters, Cees and Yost. They walk about the vineyard with a large plastic container strapped to their backs. They must keep an eye out for the smaller buckets of the pickers

Cees attempts to secure a large pink rose in Paloma's hair
Cees attempts to secure a large pink rose in Paloma’s hair

which fill rapidly with the grapes and need to be emptied and carried off to the waiting trailers. Each of the containers holds between 50 to 60 kilos of grapes. Imagine yourself carrying around over 100 pounds extra on your back in the hot sun all day.

There was evidence of feasting by sangliers (wild boars) they can do a lot of damage to the vineyards. One local hunter went as far as to have one stuffed and mounted on the roof of his bergerie (sheepfold) where he lives. The unlucky sanglier will end up on a plate and are considered good eating.  Yes! People do live in old bergeries here. They buy them, renovate and sometimes extend the sheepfold into charming and comfortable homes. However, that just may be another post?

Bisous et bonnes santés,

Léa

...
...
Michele, leader of this group of vendangers
Michele, leader of this group of vendangers
Sanglier on the rooftop of a bergerie just outside Embres
Sanglier on the rooftop of a bergerie just outside Embres
Raisins (French for grapes)
Raisins (French for grapes)
The other porter on this team, Yost
The other porter on this team, Yost
...
Cees and his Lamborghini
Cees and his Lamborghini

Brittany, Dinan and The Sculptured Rocks

I love Paris but if you haven’t explored beyond it, you miss so much.

Have Bag, Will Travel

Dinan Brittany France

We had enjoyed two good days in Dinard and St Malo but the next morning it was time to move on.  We woke earlier than planned on account of some seagulls flying past our window and screeching so loud it was as though it was a fleet of police patrol cars driving by on the way to attend an incident with emergency sirens blaring.

Before travel I always carry out careful research but sometimes something just crops up while you are away.  At a shop in Dinard I was looking at postcards and came across one for the nearby town of Dinan and it looked exactly like the sort of place that we should visit.  Kim was elsewhere in the shop and spotted exactly the same thing at exactly the same time.  Simultaneously we said “come and look at this, I think we should go here” and we decided there…

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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

 

 

L’art caché I – 2017

The lovely village of Albas (population: 77) once again invites us to indulge ourselves in an enchanted exposition of Art. This is the fifth year that I have had this wonderful opportunity and each year I look forward to the coming event.  A number of the artists exhibiting are not local. One that I spoke to came from Brittany. Yet the generous locals make their gardens, barns and other such areas available for the exhibits.  The name of the event, translated, is Hidden Art and it could not be more appropriate. Upon arrival you are given a map of the village and numbers on different sites which correspond with the names of artists at the bottom of the page. However, unless you have been here at least once or twice there is no telling the wonderful surprises that await you. Also there are always different participants. 

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Bienvenue!

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To the left of the above sign is a small door into a barn and our first exhibit of this expo. The artist, Michel Alquier. 

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Les deux femmes
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Michel Alquier

Please visit Michel on his website michelalquier.free.fr it is in French but translates easily. You can email him at michelalquier@free.fr and I have no doubt he would love to hear from you.

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Bertrand Claverie

As I am often early for most things, especially this expo, there is a good chance of catching some of the artists still at work setting up. That is the case here with monsieur Claverie. You can see more of his work at bertrandclaverie.com or write to him at claverie.bertrand@wanadoo.fr 

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One does work up a thirst at such events and provisions had been made. Each year I have attended a different person has opened up a small area adjacent to their home for the serving of coffee and pastry. 

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The pastry on offer this year were German Fruit Crumbles. I did observe a few to be devoured so early in the day. The small garden was lovely and perhaps a photo will help you decide? 

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There is always so much to see so there is little time to loiter over coffee. One of the things that took me by surprise the first time I attended this Expo was the level and quality of whimsical art.  We are now in the space occupied by Edith Brehaux and what a delight it is. Please check out her website: https://terrarigaud.jimdo.com  You will find that it translates to English at the click of a button. You can write to her directly at brehauxedith@orange.frDSCN3659

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When possible, I have included the artist in my photos. Alas, there is so much to choose from… I do hope you will take that step and look at the websites of those you enjoy the most and perhaps others as well? 

I shall begin working on Part II as we have only begun. I do hope you will join me for the rest of this series and perhaps beyond?

Bisous,

Léa

L’ART CACHÉ PART III – 2016

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 zarno@orange.fr

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Zarno
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Zarno
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Sarno                                                                                     

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 

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Claude Roux
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Claude Roux
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Claude Roux
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Claude Roux
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Claude Roux

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 marceldeltell@gmail.com

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Marcel Deltell – Le Homme de La Mancha
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Marcel Deltell
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Marcel Deltell
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Marcel Deltell -Mardi Gras
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Marcel Deltell
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Marcel Deltell
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Marcel Deltell
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Marcel Deltell

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

Bisous,

Léa

L’ART CACHÉ PART II -2016

As promised, we return to the remote French village of Albas for our L’Art Caché or Hidden Art. For those who appreciate a bit of whimsey, we have it. For those who like elegant Japanese pen and ink drawings, we have it. I truly believe that this Exhibition has something for everyone.

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Marion de la Fontaine – Sculpteur Plasticienne
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Marion de la Fontaine
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Marion de la Fontaine
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Marion de la Fontaine

See much more of Marion’s enchanting characters and other work, check out her website mariondelafontaine.fr

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Elysabeth Béclier

Please check out Elysabeth’s other work on her website. I know she will welcome your inquiries. Visit her at beclierelysabeth.fr or email her directly at elysabeth.beclier@wanadoo.fr

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Kunio Matsumura
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Kunio Matsumura

Check out the website for his contact information. http://www.artistesasuivre.org/2012/matsumara.htm

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Kunio Matsumura
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Kunio Matsumura

 

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René Herpe

René’s website is filled with plasticienne sculptures and his paintings. You don’t want to miss them or the video of his work. After looking at his site, I shall anxiously await his next gallery show! rene-herpe.fr and for direct emails rene.herpe123@orange.fr 

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René Herpe
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Tiffany Vailier-Billot
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Tiffany Vailier-Billot
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Tiffany Vailier-Billot
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Tiffany Vailier-Billot

Look in on Tiffany’s website for additional information and many works for your perusal. Check out her vast portfolio at vailier.fr 

It is my hope that you have enjoyed our visit to this charming village and the work of all the artists. However, I find myself with at least enough photos of artists you have yet to see for an additional post. Please check back for L’ART CACHÉ PART III.

Bisous,

Léa

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