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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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

 

 

 

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

 

L’Art Caché – 2018

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Once again it is that time of year. This two day event is my favorite art exhibit of the year. The charming village of Albas, population 76, is host to two main fetes each year. In the spring is Fete des Moutons with animals penned for the children to interact with, sheep shearing and culminated by a feast, and this Exhibition of “hidden” art which falls the first weekend in July. All through the village, maps provided, you will find small private gardens, courtyards and barns open for that one weekend where the locals offer up their spaces to artists. While a number of the artists are local, many travel a distance to be part of the event.

20180707_140157Florence Zacharie has taken to recycling cardboard. The work exhibited ranges from these small sculptures to a mobile, jewelry and even candle holders. The mobile in the center of this photo is made up of tiny cardboard sculptures. 

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20180707_140108  You can connect with on Facebook. I’m afraid that I am unable to verify that as one must be on FB to access it and I am not.

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The corrugated material forms a most interesting design in her hands.

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A die hard fan of the late, great Jacques Tati and his films, I couldn’t help but fall for the work of Michel Dérosier. Alas, my photos do not do justice to the art or artist. It is my hope that you will take the next step and check out his website including a book he did with the poet, Rémy Boyer. The book titled histoires. http://derosierm.wixsite.com/derosier I am most interested in the book and have exchanged information with the poet who lives only five kilometers from my village.  I do hope to connect soon and would love to have that book…

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Perhaps one day I shall get to Bezieres and visit Michel’s gallery. It could be an entire post of his work and such a treat for me.  No doubt that alone could fill more than one post… not to mention how much I should love to surround myself with his work, 

Several years ago, during this exhibition, my friend Rita happened to be visiting. Of course with her being an artist, I knew she would enjoy this show. Each year, different members of the community will host a bit of café and some treat. On that visit, a family opened their terrace for tea, coffee and some amazing desserts covered in your choice of fresh cherries or peaches. On Saturday, I noticed that the place was for sale. Some lucky person will buy a piece of paradise. The terrace is to the side of a large house and joined by a kitchen which I believe was added on a some point in time. Remember, most of our homes and buildings were built centuries ago. My own house is about 400 years old. 

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All too soon, it will be blackberry season and nature is working toward the big debut. I can taste them already and look forward to my annual stash. I always make sure to freeze some to brighten up a winter meal. 

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After six years of bringing you this exposition, I have nearly given up on attempting to get everything level. I wouldn’t dream of trying to adjust the art and nothing is level here in the hills. I do hope you will forgive me. This artist seems to focus on the villages in the Minevoirs. A friend in London will soon be getting a card of one of his paintings of a café we visited a few years ago. Please visit Denis Carrière on his website and enjoy his work and the other artists featured there. https://www.latelierdesoeurise.fr/denis-carriere/

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While I do attempt to include photos of the artist, some do not like being photographed a feeling I respect, and share. Also, there were a few pieces that I was not allowed to photograph and while I saw a few cameras clicking away, I do respect the rules of the exhibit. If you are ever in the area in early July, I invite you to add this expo to your list of MUSTS! 

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As every year, there is just too much to share and more than I can justify in one post. That being said, I shall return with Part II of this exposition.

Bisous,

Léa

 

A taste of Provence

Delicious and not just the food!

Learn French with Pascale

Even if you live far away from Provence, you can still enjoy a little taste of this region with the following Provençal menu that I have created for you. By clicking on the links, you will find the recipes in French or in English.

Furthermore,  if you want to immerse yourself into life in Provence a bit more, you can watch the  following two films Jean de Floretteand Manon des Sources which were filmed in the Vaucluse department.

Bienvenue en Provence!

Aperitif / Appetizer

Tartines de tapenade    

Olive tapenade toasts

Entrée / Starter

Tarte tatin aux tomates et oignons confits  

Tomato and caramelised onion tart Tatin

Plat principal / Main course

Gigot d’agneau farci aux abricots et herbes   

Herbs and apricot stuffed leg of lamb

vegetarian option 

Crespéou

Provençal omelette  

vegan option:

Poivrons farcis au riz

Stuffed peppers

served with

Ratatouille

Ratatouille

Dessert

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Monastère Saint-Paul-de-Mausole and The Dutchman

 

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I had been most anxious to visit this museum/hospital, for some time. When Rita said she wanted to visit the cave projection show, previous post, the plan for her most recent visit took shape. A quiet intuitive individual, I had a feeling that the walls may talk. They do whisper if one is silent and willing to hear.

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Was it wishful thinking or simply artistic license that Van Gogh applied his brushes to create a much more sumptious version of his true quarters? Patients rooms were not decorated with art work and this special guest had access to another room within the hospital for a studio and much of his work was completed on the hospital grounds. Alas, there is no access to his atelier which leads this visitor to believe there is really no trace of it or that it is in the part of the hospital that is still active as a Psychiatric Hospital. 

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Haunted with thoughts of suicide, Van Gogh chose a voluntary admission to the hospital at Saint Remy on 8 May 1889. He would stay there for a year and during this time would restle with bouts of deep depression. During his stay from May 1889-May 1890, he was most prolific in his work and produced a total of 142 pieces including Starry Night, Sunflowers, Irises, and a self-portrait that says so much about the man. If you have a favorite (that is a tough one) you can check to see if it was painted during his time at the hospital at the following site:   http://vggallery.com/painting/by_period/st_remy.htm

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The view from his window of some of the terraced gardens.

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Our visit took place in late October so instead of the stunning flowers that would appear in Spring, we had the lovely colors of autumn. Van Gogh took his inspiration from nature so saw the beauty in all that it offered. 

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Up the steps and just past the chapel, you will find the entrance to where Van Gogh’s room is. While there are other rooms here that once housed patients, those were not open. However, the salle de bains and the kitchen were housed there and I hope you find those photos as interesting as I do.

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The salle de bains (bathroom) is situated directly across the hallway from the entry door to the chambre de Van Gogh. 

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The kitchen, no longer in use, is maintained as it was during the time of Van Gogh.

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An inner courtyard that still had some blooms.

If you enjoyed this at all, I do hope you will check out the book LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT A MAN I KNEW by Susan Fletcher. She weaves a beautiful story about Van Gogh and some of the people who actually resided at the hospital at that time. 

On one side of the property we discovered an ancient site for both Greek and Roman villages. There was so much to see there, I fear that it may take more than one post to share some of its secrets. Like here, my camera just gets carried away…

Bisous,

Léa

 

Behind the scene

Originally posted 2014.

Each year, most often in the spring, our choir, Les Chants des Corbières, often combines our performances with a small repast ( repas). While concerts are usually free, we do have a small charge for the meal and it helps to pay the choirs expenses.

In this post you will see a bit of the activity that goes into preparing an autumn repas following a performance in the nearby village of Villesèque-des-Corbières (Pop: 388).  The menu was kept simple. There was Pumpkin soup, baguettes, cheeses and a variety of desserts all made by choir members. There are always bottles of wine, juices and bottles of water on each table. However, we are also well known for our generous vat (30 plus gallons) of Sangria.

One of the first things I look for each autumn as the landscape begins to run rampant with colours are pumpkins and other squashes. When I first arrived in France they were abundant but almost unrecognisable to me. Living in California, New York and a few states in-between did not prepare me for what I would find at the local markets. No longer would I carve into a round and brightly orange vegetable. The pumpkins here are not round and smooth nor are they always orange. Many of the pumpkins are a light to medium and even a dark green.  Regardless of the colour of the outside, they are all the same vibrant orange inside and quite delicious.

Villesèque foyer's kitchen in the corner with two of the pumpkins
Villesèque foyer’s kitchen in the corner with two of the pumpkins
Andrea making the first cut
Andrea making the first cut
Part of our set-up crew
Part of our set-up crew
Front of foyer before being decorated
Front of foyer before being decorated
Never too many cooks!
Never too many cooks!
Tiny kitchen, several cooks and lots of laughter...
Tiny kitchen, several cooks and lots of laughter…
Tables begin to take on the colours of the evening
Tables begin to take on the colours of the evening
Chop and peel, peel and chop...
Chop and peel, peel and chop…
Is it soup yet?
Is it soup yet?
Nothing like a lovely bowl of soup on a nippy autumn evening
Nothing like a lovely, simmering pot of soup…
Clean-up
Clean-up
Many hands...
Many hands…
If only you could hear the laughter and the singing
If only you could hear the laughter and the singing

There is often a tombola (raffle) and prizes donated by local merchants including plants, travel, baskets filled with treats including bottles of wine.

While most of the songs we sing are French, we do have a few in our catalogue in Spanish, one or two in English and a few songs from different parts of Africa and the Caribbean. Audiences always have their favourites and they will demand encores so they can join it.

The choir has accumulated a large cache of dishes, silverware, glassware and serving pieces. It is a grand mismatched collection. Unlike typical village meals, our guests do not need to bring their tableware as everything is provided. We may be exhausted by the time clean-up is finished but smiling. Leftover food is usually shared among us with some of the cakes being frozen until our next choir practice along with some leftover sangria to wash it all down with.

Bisous,

Léa