– 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

tiff infomation

Foyer (for indoor events including cinema)

tiff infomation

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

 

 

 

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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