– Last weekend, possibly the final weekend of glorious sunshine for another year, we went to Strasbourg, the final birthday celebration, a city that is fully French, was once German for almost 50 years and is now filled with pretzels, flammenkueche, and all around adorability… And good cocktails! What? I’m Irish!!! Seriously, I wanted to […]

via FRAMING FRANCE; STRASBOURG — Deuxiemepeau; Picturing Poetry by Damien B. Donnelly

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

On The Street Where I Live… a challenge

Our friends at Fandango have thrown down the gauntlet. The challenge, On The Street Where I Live. You can visit them at:  https://fivedotoh.com/2018/08/01/on-the-street-where-i-live/  Thank you Fandango. 

“Home is where you feel loved, appreciated and safe.”  – Tracy Taylor

While France may not be the land of my birth, it is the home of my heart.

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Boulangerie (Bakery) not yet open for the evening rush

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Most of the opposite side of our street is the wall dividing between village and the river.

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The old pharmacy is for sale and has much to offer. It would be ideal for a business with residence above.

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The old café is for sale as the new owners moved it down the road so they had more room and plenty of outside space. Upstairs is a working hotel.

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Stop and smell the roses, or whatever else is in bloom and perhaps a sprig of rosemary.

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The bank is to the left but we shall stay on my street.

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Chambre d’hotes and large houses (similar to a bed and breakfast)

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Bibliothèque (Library) During the summer months it also doubles as the Tourist Office.

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War memorial

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Foyer (for indoor events including cinema)

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tiff infomation

Small market with gas pumps

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The new café

Alas, it is a long road that I live on. What you see here, barely scratches the surface and at best, I shall hope it tempts you to visit the small villages in France. We have much to offer.

Bisous,

Léa

 

 

 

Fête Nationale 2018

Mea culpa, mea culpa… I’ve been so wrapped up in the season, I have failed to get the post and photos out. Fête nationale celebrates Independence. It is a day of feasting and of remembrance. At 11:30 am, each village will gather at their memorial to remember those who gave their lives for France.

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A short walk across the footbridge and I see people arriving and reserving their seats. Some chairs are already turned inward and names written on the white paper tablecloth. Of course there is always a bit of switching at some point. A seat is often found for anyone who might arrive late or be alone. Here you are never alone long unless you choose to be.

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To the left of the footbridge is a picnic area, well shaded, and four massive barbeque pits. To the right of those pits is a smooth area where, in good weather, you will find groups playing boules / pétanque. 

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The gathering begins. You can see a bit of the roof over the snack bar where you can pick up your chosen apperitif. The socializing has begun and will last until the wee hours of the morning.

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As you can see, things are set up for the DJ in the background.

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Looking at this photo just now, I can see the green shutters of my house in the space between Michel and the young girl he is speaking with. 

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After sunset, the chateau will be aglow. After dessert, about 10:30pm the fireworks will begin. They are shot from just behind the chateau and is quite a vision.

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Manon is as sweet as she looks. Her father is one of the four doctors in the village.

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Baugettes, wine, and salad ( baby spinach, red onion and sliced apricots in a smashing vinegrette) and the meal has begun. Besides the bottles of wine, and there are many, there is also bottled water. There is a large variety of tableware as here, each person or family, bring their own. 

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While you cannot see the chateau through the trees, the old clock-tower is well lit. Next year I shall have to remember to sit on the other side so I have a better view of the chateau.

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A literal cascade of feu d’artifice down the front of the chateau. Alas, I’m afraid it didn’t photograph well.

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C’est magnifique! You can see the cascade of fire pouring down the front of the chateau and the rockets shooting toward the stars.

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La chateau in all her glory.

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Dance, dance, dance… The tables have been cleared away as were most of the chairs. The remaining chairs off to the side. The dancing will continue most of the night. Even people from nearby villages will come over to dance having had dinner in their own village first. You will often see parents and grandparents dancing with even the youngest of babies in their arms. As soon as they can stand, they are out there dancing the night away.

Bonne Fête et Bisous,

Léa

L’Art Caché – quatre 2018

Being that this is my favorite art expo of the year, there is a sad parting. Alas, this is to be the last in the series of four posts from L’Art Caché in the charming village of Albas. 

Catherine Juge Thouroude has a number of pieces I enjoyed. Alas, there is neither an email address or website. Once again I shall direct any questions to the fabulous people who bring us this exhibition each year. Eurocultures: https://eurocultures.fr

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There were several additional pieces that the artist delined to be photographed as they were a new variation she was working on. Perhaps at a future date I will find her exhibiting them when I can share the photos? 

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Josiane Coste Coulondre is a textile artist. https://www.artmajeur.com/josianecostecoulondr

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Josiane can also be contacted by email: jococoul@gmail.com

Patricia Maffli: Painter

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I have just checked out her blog. https://patriciamaffli.wordpress.com/ and was thrilled to find much more than what she had brought with her. In addition, she shares her workplace with her sister  who sculpts. Perhaps it would be possible to visit them and create a post on the work of them both? 

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This last photo is from Patricia’s newest collection. I do hope to see more of her work. I should enjoy being alone in a room with just her paintings and my laptop… there are many stories / poems just waiting to be written.

MERCI MILLE FOIS! My sincere thanks to all the talented artists who shared their work and to our friends at Eurocultures for giving us this opportunity each year. Also, I thank all the readers that take a moment to let me know that they enjoyed this  I am already looking forward to next years exposition. 

Bisous,

Léa

 

 

L’Art Caché, deux – 2018

In part two of the “hidden” art expo here in Albas, we begin with sculpture and photos in a charming little courtyard.

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Christian Jacques: Sculpture and Pierre Jammes: Photography

Alas, there is no website for either artist. However, You can find Pierre Jammes on FaceBook and I have an email address for each if you like. chris.jacques@free.fr and pierref.jammes@gmail.com

If you would like additional information about this annual exposition or any of the artists, please visit the site of Eurocultures: https://eurocultures.fr/festival-dart/ They may be able to assist in questions regarding the artists or perhaps you would be interested in showing your own works here. 

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This tiny courtyard with his charming fence is on permanent display. If you go back four or five years ago in these posts, you may find this same village feature. Creativity is everywhere in this lovely little village and imaginations run wild, as they should.

 

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LIFE IN A SUITCASE is the theme of returning artist Anne Sarda. As  one who writes, I love how she gives me inspiration with her instillations.  Her website is user-friendly, and so much is available to spark your creativity. http://annesarda.com/

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As in the previous post, I once again apologize for the uneven subjects. As in my own home, there are few level surfaces and many rooms are not ‘squared’. Additionally, I would never presume to adjust any of the works nor even touch them. I’ve seen a few of the artists setting up and this location and others. They do their best with the surfaces as they are. Despite that, I find their works very worthwhile.

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Léo de Faucher’s work is well worth the trip, wherever it is. Unfortunately there is no available contact information and I highly recommend you direct any questions regarding the art/artist, to Eurocultures (link above). 

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I shall leave you with a few more photos of this lovely little village whose secret places are opened up to us this one weekend a year. Additionally I invite you to join us in the future.

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Alas, as there are a number of photos and more artists to go, I shall be back with part III and possibly part IV… Today is Fête Nationale here in France so I am off until next time, 

Bonne Fête Nationale et Bisous,

Léa