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

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La Fête du Muguet

La Fête du Muguet, La Fête du Travail, May Day in France is a public holiday to campaign for and celebrate workers rights. It is also an occasion to present  Muguet, lily-of-the-valley, or dog rose flowers to loved ones. Often it is just a single sprig of Muguet with a few leaves. However, some will incorporate a rose or even add several sprigs of Muguet to a much larger arrangement or plant.

How is the day celebrated: People across France give bouquets (or a single sprig) to their loved ones. In some areas, families will get up early to go into the woods to pick the flowers. Labor organizations will sell the flowers on the streets on May 1. Special regulations enable individuals and some groups to sell the flowers on May 1 without complying with retail regulations or paying a tax.

Parades and demonstrations to campaign for the rights of workers are organized by Trade unions and other organizations.  Campaigns for human rights and other pressing and current social issues will be out in number.

May 1 is a public holiday. Businesses will be closed as well as banks, post offices and shops. Other than a high traffic tourist area restaurants and even cafes may close. In the major cities the airport, railway station along with the highways (tolls)  may be open.  There could be disruption to traffic in the heart of large cities especially Paris due to Parades and demonstrations. There could also be limited access to Public transportation so check before setting out. 

On May 1, 1561, King Charles IX of France was presented with Muguet and was so enamoured of the gift that he instituted the tradition of presenting them to the ladies of his court. In 1900 men began presenting them to women as an expression of affection or interest. Today, they are given as a token of affection/appreciation between family members and close friends.

When the eight-hour  working day was made official on 23 April, 1919 the first of May became a public holiday. During World War II, the holiday ceased but was resumed in 1947. One year later, it became known as La Fête du Travail or Labor Day. It is a day used to campaign for and celebrate the rights of workers across the Country.

Don’t forget to click on those photos!

 

  Bisous,

Léa

Du marché Narbonne: le printemps

Yes, we just went down these same paths last week, but I went back on Market Day and thought you might like to see it for yourselves. I hope you don’t mind re-visiting so soon.

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Les Halles

The vendors commence right up to the road and to the canal. There are many vendors on both sides of the canal and most anything is on offer. How is your French? You can haggle down a price on some goods and some of the vendors speak more than one language.

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Bijoux?

As you can see from this photo, table coverings must be sufficiently weighted down or clamped. When the Mediterranean winds kick in, things can become airborne.

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Les Halles

While Les Halles is only closed about two or three days in the entire year, it’s vendors are finished and closed up by noon. The restaurants serve lunch but close up afterwards and do not serve any other meal.

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Fresh spices anyone? Ah, the aroma…

Until you have bought and used fresh spices in your cooking, it is hard to know what you are missing.

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Lavande

I do love Lavande (Lavender). There are sachets in several drawers and with the linens. Once I read that if you put it under or next to your pillow it would sweeten your dreams and it can be comforting if you are lying down with a headache.

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Purses, caps…
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Pantalons…
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A typo or ?

Yes, these are on mens sport socks and I’m afraid that I just couldn’t resist including the photo.

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Les écharpes

I keep telling myself to buy one. Alas, I wear them so infrequently. They do provide a lot of colour for the price.

 

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Les vetements

The clothes are a big clue as to the season. The next few photos leave no doubt. 

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Plants and fresh cut flowers abound!
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Couleur de printemps
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Les fleurs
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Café ou rosé?

After all that shopping it is time for an aperitif…or perhaps lunch? There are many restaurants that would be happy to serve you.

Despite the plaza being filled with items for sale, this is only a small part of the Thursday market. Not far off there is a parking lot that is set aside each Thursday morning for Marché and in addition to what is offered here, there is also have fresh produce, cheeses, and other assorted foods.

Bisous,

Léa

Thoughts of Spring

Chilly, grey days such as today are fertile for the mind wandering down the path to Spring! Spring with its many delights. Here are a few delights from my village and from nearby Albas (sheep) to turn your thoughts to warmer days.  Last but certainly not least, I offer a few photos from one of the greatest gardens of all, Giverny.  Today the photos can do the talking.

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After the rain
After the rain
Almond blossoms
Almond blossoms
Deep purple...
Deep purple…
Poppies scattered in a vineyard
Poppies scattered in a vineyard
Lovely to look at, fragrant but my personal nemisis
Lovely to look at, fragrant but my personal nemesis
Sheep shearing
Sheep shearing
Before
Before
After
After
Milk lamb - unweaned between 4-6 weeks old
Milk lamb – unweaned between 4-6 weeks old

 

Entrée du jour
Entrée du jour – Bon appétit!
Sharing sunshine with a friend
Sharing sunshine with a friend
Mimosas
Mimosas
How's your garden?
How’s your garden?
Lilas (Lilacs)
Lilas (Lilacs)
Wisteria
Wisteria
Monet's garden - Giverny
Monet’s garden – Giverny
More from Monet
More from Monet
The arbor leading to Monet's home at Giverny
The arbor leading to Monet’s home at Giverny

 

Spring is just around the corner and we have much to appreciate when it arrives.

Bisous,

Léa

Giverny Part II

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Water lilies

The Water garden

 

A decade after moving to Giverny, 1893, he purchased adjacent property across the railway. Across the property flowed a small brook which fed off a tributary of the Seine River. Then he set forward with his plan digging a small pond. His neighbours opposed, afraid that the outlandish plants would poison the water.

Eventually the pond was enlarged to its current size. It is complete with curved and asymmetries and inspired by the Japanese gardens. Monet had been an avid collector of Japanese prints.

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Japanese bridge

The water garden is home to the famous Japanese bridge and is heavily curtained with fragrant wisterias and surrounded by weeping willows, a bamboo wood and the famous water lilies which bloom throughout the summer.

 

The vegetation surrounding the pond formed enclosed and separated the grounds from the surrounding countryside.

It was unique for an artist to sculpt his subjects in nature in preparation of painting them. In this way, he fashioned his masterpieces twice. Monet took inspiration from his beloved water garden for over twenty

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The pond

years. Having completed the Japanese bridge series he turned his focus to the giant decorations of the Orangerie.

Searching for transparencies and mist, he dedicated himself to reflections in the water, an inverted world transfigured by the fluid enlement.

Monet’s beloved Japanese bridge was built by a local artisan.  Unfortunately, it was beyond repair and had to be rebuilt.

The stunning wisteria were planted by Monet. As I left the gardens, a sprig of wisteria blew over the wall. Without a thought I picked it up and stuck it in my journal. It was amazing how long the fragrance lasted. Perhaps it was strengthened by the memory of that day?

Bisous,

Léa

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Japanese bridge
From the Japanese bridge
From the Japanese bridge
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The pond
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The pond

Giverny: Part I

Pathway to Monet's front door
Pathway to Monet’s front door

The magnificent garden of the late artist, Claude Monet, is divided into two parts. There is the flower garden, Clos Normand which is in front of his house and the Japanese inspired water garden across the road. When the Monet family settled there in 1883 the gently sloping land was enclosed by a high stone wall and an orchard planted. Clos Normand measures about one hectare and in that space, Monet created a garden masterpiece of colour, symmetry and perspective. ... All of the photos you will see here were taken there in the month of May.  You will see some in bright sunshine, a few photos taken during a sudden shower and others taken when clouds did their best to hide the sun all together. Divided into flowerbeds, clumps of flowers of diverse heights creating volume. Ornamental and fruit trees direct the climbing roses, coloured banks of annuals and long-stemmed hollyhocks. Monet mixed the most rare varieties with the simplest such as poppies and daisies. Iron arches cover the central alley which takes you to or from the main door to the house. The arches are covered with climbing roses and other rose trees envelop the balustrade along the house. As is evident, Claude Monet did not care for structured or unnatural gardens. He arranged flowers by colour wanting them to grow rather freely. ... In the passing years he acquired a love for botany and exchanged plants with his friends. Always searching for rare varieties, he spent great sums of money on young plants saying that all of his money went into the garden. Bisous, ... Léa ... ... ... ... ... ...