LINDA BASTIDE: Ambassadeur à Narbonne – Ambassadeur Culturel Européen à Logrono

Linda Bastide
Linda Bastide

Linda Bastide is a popular poet from the town of Narbonne. Her numerous books of poetry have been translated to a number of languages including, Spanish, Romanian, Italian and English. She is member of  l’ Académie Française and Ambassador to République de Montmartre.

L’ Académie Française was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu and is the pre-eminent French Learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie consists of forty members who are known as immortels (immortals) and they elected by the Académie itself and serve for life.

Some of Linda's work
Some of Linda’s work

République de Montmartre was founded in 1921 by the most famous artists in Montmartre and continues its charitable and cultural actions. Thanks to the voluntary commitment of its members, citizens, members of parliament, consuls, ambassadors and ministers, it works in aid of disadvantaged children and bringing together visual artists, writers and musicians. This beautiful and great institution ensures that the rebellious yet human spirit on which the legend of Montmartre is built is preserved, while remaining loyal to its motto: Rejoice in doing good!

She is soft spoken, warm and ready with a smile. Most of all, her poetry is a delight to the senses. It was a treat to see her in my village today and gave me an opportunity to obtain another one of her books and chat.

A selection from her latest book: 13 pas dans le sable / 13 steps in the sand …


Depuis longtemps je marche,

13 pas dans le sable
13 pas dans le sable

je vais où va le nuage,

je vais où est le soleil,

je veux garder le fil de l’ombre

dans le creux du chemin

bariolé  de voyages, où, peut-être, tu es…


I walk for a long time,

I’m going where the cloud goes,

I’m going where the sun is

I want to keep track of the shadow,

in the hollow path

jumbled I travel, where, perhaps, you are…

Linda in Durban Corbieres 20/05/2013



One of many newspaper articles about this poet
One of many newspaper articles about this poet


My personal copies of her work, to date!
My personal copies of her work, to date!

Fabrezan: Charles Cros – Inventor & Poet

Musée Charles Cros
Musée Charles Cros

Born Émile-Hortensius-Charles Cros on 1 October, 1842, in the small village of Fabrezan, France which is located in the Department Aude in the Languedoc-Roussillon.

Charles Cros was a highly respected poet and inventor. Among his work were various methods of photography including a process for color photos and improvements in telegraph and recorded sound technology.

Charles Cros worked on reproducing sounds which were engraved on a diaphragm. He gave his invention the name Paléophone and submitted his plans to the Academy of Sciences in Paris on 30 April, 1877. In this document he details his method. The letter was read to the public 3 December that same year.  When translated, his hypothesis is that a


method of sensing oscillation of a membrane then with that tracing, re-create the oscillation with consideration for its strength and extent.

These findings were published on 10 October, 1877. The American inventor, Thomas Edison premiered a working model before Cros had a chance to do so. Mr. Edison’s succeeded in patenting his phonograph in January of 1878. There is nothing to indicate that either had previous knowledge of the others work.

Among his published works were:

Solution générale du problème de la photographie des couleurs (1869- non-fiction)

Poetry: Le coffret de santal (1873 and 1879), Plainte (1873), Le Fleuve


(1874), La Vision du Grand Canal des Deux Mers (1888) and Le Collier de griffes (posthumous, 1908)

Among his friends were the poet Arthur Rimbaud and the artist Édouard Manet. Ernest Coquelin took Cros’ poem, The Kippered Herring as his inspiration to create what he called monologues, short theatrical pieces. A format that has been copied by countless others.

L’Académie Charles Cros, which is the French equivalent of the US Recording Academy was named in his honor.

He died in Paris on 9 August, 1881





Charles Cros











Meditations on visiting Atelier Cézanne

Entrance: Atelier Cézanne
Expo: Paul Cézanne 2006 Aix-en-Provence

Of all the things I have seen in my visiting and living here in la belle France, the most unforgettable  moments were spent in Atelier  Cézanne. A magical experience which left me in a trance like state with the hair standing up on the back of my neck. It was as if the master had just stepped out and would return at any moment.

After returning to California, a friend asked me to write a poem about Art and France. My first response is that they could not be separated. Art is the loom that the tapestry of France was woven upon. The following poem was the result of that request and has been published previously in an anthology.

“Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensations.”  – Paul Cézanne

“There are two things in the painter, the eye and the mind; each of them should aid the other.”  – Paul Cézanne

“Don’t be an art critic. Paint. There lies salvation.”  – Paul Cézanne

Meditations on visiting Atelier Cézanne


One hundred years

After his death

The doors to his shrine

Open to the masses

I but a privileged pilgrim

A witness – I inhale deeply

The plethora of scent

Aging fruits

A wicker basket

Darkened by harvests of the past

A long shelf balanced

Across the western wall

Dusquenoy’s cupid keeps company

With the three skulls of death

Enlightenment radiates

From the northern exposure

A burst of light

Color spreads wantonly

I am humbled in each direction

Le choeur fantôme

Intone hymns of praise


Peaches, apples and summers long ago

And talk of the fields they have known

Stars they raised up to

Rain, love of sun

Dreams of freshness of an old apple

Home is Aix-en-Provence


He paints their secrets

With celestial vision

And transparency


En français


Méditation en Visitant l’Atelier de Cézanne


Cent Années

Après sa mort

Les portes de son sanctuarie sacré

Ouvrent au public

Pas un pèlerin privilégié

Mais un témoin

Profondement j’ai à inhaler

Un plethora de parfum

Dans un panier noirci en osier

À cause de

Plusieurs récoltes passées

Accompagné de trios cranes de mort

L’ange Cupidon de Dusquenoy a pose

Sur un rayon qui

À travers le mur occidental est allongé

Grâce à l’ exposition boréale

L’éclaircissement a rayonné

Un jet de lumière don’t la couleur

S’est répandue gratuitement en effet

Le choeur fantôme

Entonne l’hymne à féléciter

Les fragrances , les pêches, les pommmes

Le long des Étés

Sont connus des champs

Les étoiles au ciel despersées

La pluie, l’amour du soleil

Les reveries de la fraicheur d’une vieille

Pomme au passé

Sainte-Victorie d’Aix-en-Provence

Est son pays

Il peint leurs secrets

Avec la vue céleste

Et transparente

Traduit par Le Si Dong

Previously published in Flowers of love/fleurs d’amour Anthology Vietnamese International Poetry Society Volume XII 2008



Infr’Action – Performance Arts Festival


Artist demonstrating against testing on animals by cosmetic firm
Artist demonstrating against testing on animals by cosmetic firm


Infr’Action made it debut in 2005. It is the leading performance art event in France. The primary goal is to develop the performance art scene in France. In addition support is available for those who desire to participate. The public is treated with a nudge to the imagination as a parade of artists stimulate your concept of what is possible in the world of art.

The young artist in the first two photos is making a statement regarding the practices of a chain of shops that make and sell beauty products.

You are invited to an experience that you will not forget and the public is invited and encouraged to interact with the art/artist. Five days exposure to contemporary art in the beautiful setting of the city of Sète a vibrant and hospitable jewell set on the sea.  The avant-garde

Young artist (in WC) composes poems from words written on post-its
Young artist (in WC) composes poems from words written on post-its

has become popular. Infr’Action is certainly another way of distributing contemporary art. Everybody is free to go to and meet up with the art, and the artists, who are presenting their work, live and direct in the public space. Infr’Action gives you the possibility to live five days that you will certainly not forget. To discover the avant-garde of contemporary art in the remarkable settings of the city of Sète, blending nearness and conviviality with the back-drop of The Mediterranean. Plan to attend all five days of the event. I was only there for two and missed so much. Next time, I plan to have more than one extra set of batteries for my camera and more than two days at the festival.


Being an International event, you will have a first hand encounter with art and the artists from numerous countries. This years artists include participants from France, Sweden, Poland, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and many more.

Kisses for Sale!
Kisses for Sale!
Interactive Installation Art
Interactive Installation Art

A young man in a wheelchair encourages passers-by to contribute to  living poetry via post-it notes. Some wrote their own short pieces of verse and some place a single word or quote on their posting.

It is not to late to plan to attend or perhaps even participate. If you would like to know more about this cutting-edge art experience, click on the link for Infraction information:

This year the event is scheduled for September 12 – 16. Perhaps I will see you there.



Artist demonstrating against cosmetic company
Artist demonstrating against cosmetic company

Ecole Primaire: End of year extravaganza!

Ecole Primaire / Primary Schools: End of year extravaganza!

The French primary school covers the ages of six – eleven. This covers the equivalent of England’s school years of 3 – 6 and US grades 1 – 5. Subjects are divided into three main groups: 1. French, history, civic studies and geography 2. Science, math and technology 3. Physical education and sports, music and arts and crafts.

French law mandates Twenty-four hours of instruction per week. While some flexibility is given to the teacher as to which subjects to spend    time on each week. A national curriculum, which was established in 2008, provides additional class time and individualized assistance for students at risk of falling behind.

The Ministry of Education states that the official direction of a French elementary education is: “to ensure acquisition of the basic tools of knowledge: oral and written expression, reading and arithmetic. Its objective is to stimulate the development of the child’s intelligence, artistic sensibility, manual and physical skills and sporting abilities. It provides grounding in the plastic and musical arts, and, in conjunction with the family, undertakes the child’s moral and civil education.” The parents will observe that a great emphasis is placed on the basic skills: reading, writing and arithmetic.

Is there an opportunity for the child to learn a second language, if so, would that be English? The teacher will choose the language that he/she wants to expose to her students. As a result, the child may learn the basics of Spanish one year and English the next. Also, the standard of language instruction will vary depending on the teacher’s skills in that area. Should your primary language be other than French, it is advised you not rely on the teacher to substitute teaching the child’s native tongue. On numerous occasions it has been found that English-speaking children educated in French primary schools quickly become fluent and articulate in French and not progress in the native tongue without support from the parents. Among the list of supplies each student is required to obtain each year is a notebook that will be used not only by the child but also by the teacher and parents. It provides another link or way to communicate. The parents are expected to check the notebook for messages and sign to show that they have received any relevant information. Requests for meetings with the teacher or school principal would appear in the notebook. For more information you may want to visit:

The photos here represent the end of the school year festivities in a small village. It does happen to be where I live. There are 60 children enrolled and six classes, six teachers and a number of assistants. In addition, there is a British woman who resides here and volunteers to assist teachers that choose to teach English. Each year, the entire village is invited to attend an event put on by the students. They will perform theatrical skits; recite poetry, sing, and dance. At the end of the festivities, the teachers are presented with floral bouquets. The schoolyard is filled to overflow each year and many are left to watch from the outside the school yard gates. Even villagers without children or grandchildren will come to support the students and teachers.




“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen”
– Leonardo da Vinci

The Greeks founded this southern French city in the sixth century BC. Later, the Roman Empire came to the city and connected the city to Narbonne by the Domitian Way. Later, the Visigoths who settled there invaded Béziers.  
During the crusade to purge the land of the Cathars the papal legate from Rome was given orders to “Kill them all, let God sort them.” The burning of Béziers and the massacre of its population took place on July 22, 1209.
One of the first cities in the southern part of France to be chartered, a government and consuls who exercised their power over the ancient Roman Forum was Béziers.
Pierre-Paul Riquet was born in Bézieres in the early 1600’s. He drew and designed the Canal du Midi, which profoundly altered not only the landscape but also the activity of the area. Louis XIV obtained permission for the canal to be built. I have enjoyed many strolls and meals along the banks of the canal. The canal itself will be a future topic on this blog. Monsieur Riquet had achieved what no other person had to date. The canal was the solution for providing water to the channel, permanently by linking the Garonne (Atlantic) and the Mediterranean. This would provide, develop and secure trade between the two seas.

The most propitious period for Béziers was in the nineteenth century. With the advent of the automobile and open trade in the wine market that employs a great number of people it lead to an unparalleled increase in the population and fortunes were created.
The most auspicious period in the history Beziers is situated in the nineteenth century. The growth of industry, car, and open trade in the local wine market and wine world, which employs thousands of people, lead to unprecedented population growth.
Today, Béziers is a city of just over 70,000 people. When I visited Béziers in 2006, I found a lovely bookstore and picked up Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. While I was not interested in carrying such a large book around France, the shop owner highly recommended it. Coming out of the bookstore at lunchtime, I followed my nose to the neighboring café and enjoyed a most delicious lunch in the sunshine. I am looking forward to visiting Béziers in the spring and exploring more of its wonderful layers. From previous experience, I know that the wines of the area are well worth the trip alone.

Being a poet myself, I was intrigued with the lovely Parc des Poetes. This city is certainly worthy of your consideration. If you are interested, you can view my other blog at: