Recently, I attended a wedding in my village. The couple are the owners of our local café and have become friends in the short time they have lived here.
The grand salon at the maire (Mayor’s office) is where all marriages take place in this village. The only official marriage recognised in France is the civil ceremony. If a couple chooses they can arrange to have a celebration in a religious venue but it has no legal bearing. Each village has a maire and would have a room or office where the ceremony would take place.
Here is the happy couple, Audrey and Loic with their two witnesses Christiane and her husband Henri.
Weddings are usually held on Saturdays or Wednesdays and begin a 4:00pm. For the most part, they are very casual and brief. The room is not conducive to a large crowd. The couple must have two witnesses and on this occasion, we were a group of about fifteen including the Bride and Groom.
In the center of the group you might notice the three boys. The youngest, Mateo, in the middle are the children of Audrey and Loic.
Now we are off to their café to toast Audrey and Loic and their happiness!
A few regular’s came by the celebration and joined in.
In this post, I have decided to let the pictures do the talking. I hope you have enjoyed the wedding!
Quatorze juillet is also known as la fête nationale de la France. English speaking countries often refer to this most important day as Bastille Day. The French National Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, as well as Fête de la Federation which celebrated the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790. The celebrations will be held in every city, town and village around the Country.
The evening was hosted by the Club de chasseurs (Hunters Club). No doubt the main item on the menu, sanglier – Wild boar, was hunted down by the members. The sanglier are known to do a lot of damage to the vineyards. The sanglier was presented in a sauce with white beans on the side. The entrée was a small plate of charcuterie (sliced meats) and salad was served after the fresh baugettes were passed around as well as bottles of red and rosé wine and plenty of water. Afterward more baugettes are passed out as is the cheese course. Ice cream and then a cafe´ rounded off the meal.
Up behind the chateau, the pompiers are busy preparing the feux d’artifice or fireworks. Once the fireworks are finished, tables and chairs are rapidly moved as the large round cement area is cleared for dancing.
Thank you for enjoying 14 Juillet with us here in France.
Friendship is one of life’s greatest rewards. When moving, there is frequently a shift. Some people stay in our lives regardless of where we are and for some, the distance proves to be too much. When someone has been part of our life, they will always be a part in memory if not more. Yet the space that was once occupied by the “old crowd” is available for new faces, arms, hands, smiles and different perspectives. Wherever you go in life, there are wonderful people who, if you are open to them, will walk along side you. Despite my still stumbling French, I am indeed a most fortunate person to have found so many friends. Let me introduce you to a few!
Have you ever planned to visit somewhere, and found it closed? Then with a quick twist, the day turns magical! My trip to Cucugnan was the first but certainly not the last.
While the bakery was open, the mill itself was not. The keys were not there so we could not get in. As long as I was there, I stopped in the shop for some photos and bought something and went to sit on one of the benches. I went to the opposite end of a group of picnic tables as there was a large
group on the other end and I didn’t want to get in their way. They were such a lively and animated group of friends so obviously enjoying each other’s company that I couldn’t resist getting a picture or two. I asked if I might take a photo and they invited me to join them.
Denis explained to me that they are a group of friends who have known each other since they were seven years old. Each year they hold a reunion. While Denis and wife Alix live on the island of Guadeloupe.
They had just finished their meal and shared their wine, offered me the stunning dessert and gave me a café. After exchanging more information including email addresses we ventured on to the small eglise Notre Dame de Cucugnan to view the statue of the pregnant virgin.
If that key had been available, you would have seen photos from inside. Instead you will see pictures of some charming people who I would not have met otherwise. The story of such a group of friends who welcomed a stranger is something I shall think on for a very long time.
Most likely, I shall return to see the mill and take photos of it and this beautiful village. There are other places of interest and it is only 30km from where I live.
One of the many things I love about France and the French is that they truly enjoy life and celebrate it completely. Last Sunday, the village association invited us all to socialise and share; food, music, wine, blanquette and most of all, each other. The tables were covered with white table cloths to allow the green ivy and olive branches to stand out.
This event was organised by Durban Village Association. The event adds to the social calendar at a time when many things are on the quiet side and the small admission of three euros each goes toward the Associations coffers which fund improvements in and around the village.
Les Chant des Corbières, one of the local choirs, was asked to perform and we were happy to do so. Albeit, being in the choir, I was unable to take any photos during the performance. The songs performed included; Les Tourterelles, L’Epervier, Cangaceiro, Je Reviens, El Condor Pasa and Des Jonquilles. Le Chef (choir director) Jacque has included a significant number of songs in Spanish to our repertoire this year.
Like all other social events, people mingle about chatting with their friends and neighbours before settling down to a table. After everyone was seated the choir was introduced and the singing commenced.
After singing, the choir members joined the others. Some sat with their families and the rest of us claimed a table of our own. Plates of chocolates, cookies and a clementine were passed out then someone offered us each servings of Galette des Rois and Couronne du Roi. There were bottles of Blanquette at each table and water of juice as desired.
A tombola was next on the agenda. Each of the several winners received three bottles of wine and one included a large plant. Of the eight or so winners, three of us at our table had winning tickets!
Our next village social is planned for 3 February 2013. Our host will be le maire (The Mayor).
France is a rich tapestry and throughout the rich fabric are threads of art and music. While it is the people who inspire me most, they are the ones creating the music, art and more. They are so infused with imagination and the creative spirit, it spills over infecting those who encounter them.
While I have traveled around the country a bit and lived here for over five years, I have yet to find a town or village without at least one choir. My village is one of thirteen within the commune and the largest one.
There are two choirs here made up from the villages. Each year, our choir commences in October just after the vendange. The first meeting will be to plan out the year and every second year vote on officers. Naturally there will be a few refreshments. There is a lot of catching up after the summer hiatus. Jacque, le chef, arrives with his guitar and sometimes he will bring other instruments with. We warm up with a few familiar songs then songs we will be learning for the up coming season are handed out.
Choir rehearsal is every Thursday evening. We practice in the old maternelle (pre-school building) or in a larger room upstairs from the foyer.
When I first went to a choir rehearsal here, it was to observe. However, that was not an option. You come, you sing! While I love to sing, my basic motivating factor was to improve my french and get to know more of the people. After that, I was hooked.
The day these photos were taken, we were not a full company. A number of the group were away or had other commitments due to the approaching holidays.
If you are making plans to travel to France, perhaps you have looked at guides recommending restaurants. Or perhaps you have heard about small restaurants where the locals go. If you can find one, it is worth the visit. The choir adjourned to such a restaurant in a village just 5 k down the road. I had been there previously but not since it had changed owners. However, I was not to be disappointed. The food and the service were excellent and a wonderful time was had by all!