Michel Braibant Museum/ Conservatory of Book Arts & Crafts

“Until I feared to lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”  – Harper Lee

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… the man who never reads lives but one.” – Georger R.R. Martin

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” – Ray Bradbury

 

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Le musée

 

 

When my friend Yvonne pops over from London, we often find ourselves off to explore. This particular adventure was back to Montolieu – Village du Livre (Village of Books).

While I could spend endless days in the beautiful village of books, we had a limited amount of time this trip and the museum was the focus of this trip. If you would like to see more of the village, I recommend checking out my post of 12/12/2011. Or best of all, visit Montolieu yourself!

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Located in Montagne Noir (Black Mountains) this small village (pop: 1,400) has 23 bookshops. Each Autumn, they host an ancient book festival. Naturally, as one might expect, such a village is popular with artists and there are a number of small galleries.

Le musée traces the history of print from Pictographs to the Alphabet, from Clay to Paper and the invention of Typography (1454), Linotype (1884), Monotype (1887), Stanhope Press (early 19th century) and so much more.

30,000 BCE: Pictographs are pictures and symbols and represent the first written forms. Concepts are represented by figures and scenes.

4,000 BCE: Ideograms/ideographs are a logographic writing system in which graphic symbols are used to represent words. They originated in Egypt and China where ideograms evolved into its current stylised script system.

1,300 BCE: The Phoenicians invent and disseminate the first alphabet. A limited number of letters that they allowed for the formation of sounds.

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1,000 BCE: The Greeks adopt the Phoenician alphabet that they then adapt to their language by introducing vowels.

700 BCE: The Latin or Roman alphabet appears as an adaption of the Etruscan alphabet which had been borrowed from Greek colonists in Italy. Today, the Latin alphabet is the most widely used in the world.

The earliest materials for writing were stones, shells, wood and even tortoiseshells.

4,000BCE: Mesopotamian clay and the tool used was the “calame” or reed stylus.

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3,000 BCE: Egyptian papyrus, a plant found along the banks of the Nile. The “calame” or stylus is made from a blend of soot and resin.

200 BCE: Parchment, is animal skin (goat, calf, sheep…) which has been specially prepared for writing. The writing tool of tis period is a goose feather quill. Ink is made from a compound of vegetable and mineral pigments with egg white as a binding agent.

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105 CE: Paper was invented in China by Ts’ai Lun. It was made from vegetable fibre which was reduced to a paste. The process stayed a secret until 751 CE and later introduced in Europe by the Arabs.

Middle Ages: The majority of the population was illiterate and books were rare and precious objects. Therefore, the thoughts they contained were not widely known. In monasteries, monks copied and recopied  the manuscripts with each copy errors

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compounded and diminished the original meaning of the text.

1454 Invention of Typography:

The German metal-worker/inventor, Johann Gutenberg combined lead, antimony and tin creating an alloy which could be used repeatedly. Gutenberg is generally credited with perfecting metal moveable type.

Linotype: Invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler in 1884 and

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produced solid lines of text case from rows of matrices. The line-composing operation was accomplished by means of a keyboard similar to that of a typewriter. However, it was much faster than hand-set typesetting and permitted the wide circulation of printed material. It was primarily used for the composition of newspapers.

Monotype: Another type of hot metal composition which appeared in 1887.

Stanhope Press: This press appears at the beginning of the 19th century, and consists of a massive cast-iron frame. It replaces wood presses, but

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impressions are still made page by page and inking remains manual.

Plate Press: This press appears in the middle of the 19th century and increases the speed at which printed matter can be produced. The carriage is flat and pedal-driven and rubber ink rollers. It is fed manually.

Heidelberg Press: Appears in the early 20th century. With its high speed cylinder press and an automatic feeding and placing device which pivoting racks pick

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up the paper by the use of suction to the entire surface.

Nebiolo Cylinder Press: First appears in the 1940’s. The base is no longer vertical and fixed, but horizontal and mobile. Print form moves under the cylinder to which the paper is attached.

Lithography: Makes its appearance in the late 18th century  and gives birth to Offset in the 20th century. This method is based on the chemical repellence of oil and water.

Massicot: This cutting device was perfected by Claude Massicot and allows for clean cuts for reams of paper.

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As you might easily imagine, there is much more to see in this museum than can be covered here in a single post.  If you plan to visit the south of France, a trip to Montolieu is well worth the visit.

Bisous,

Léa

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Bookpress
Bookpress
Alphabet
Alphabet
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Making art accessible to the masses

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A new story set in the south of France…

Just to let people who may be interested know, I have my first novel on Amazon, printed and Kindle versions. Having waited in vain for agents to even acknowledge my e-mails, I have decided to self-publish because I would like people to READ it. It’s called Zazou and Rebecca, and is set in Southern France, […]

via A bit of self-publicity… — belovedalder

Homme de la Renaissance

Patric and friends
Patric and friends at Bio Marche

Homme de la Renaissance or The Renaissance Man. We hear of him but often there doesn’t seem to be much convincing evidence of his existence in the 21st Century. Yet there is such a man who walks among us here in the south of France. I am privileged  to know one and fortunate enough to witness some of his many talents on a regular basis. Patric was born in Lyon and moved to this area in 1975.  He has two sons and two daughters with 7 grandchildren and one on the way. He lives in a nearby village in an Eco home which he designed and built on his own. He is a vegetarian and grows much of his own food. Just who is this man? Is he a musician? A writer? An artist? Yes! He is all of these and so much more. It was my first year in France when I met Patric. For insurance purposes you must obtain a certificate from a chimney sweep, each year, that your fireplace has been cleaned and is safe to operate. I asked around and the number I was given was for Patric. He swept chimneys for 32 years and just retired two years ago.

Patric at work
Left by Arlette Mouton et Patric – Right by Shemon Ben Youssef

Music: Patric can play any instrument that he comes in contact with. He also teaches music. Art: Patric studied at Ecole Boulle in Paris. Among his many talents, he is an accomplished wood craftsman, glassblower, painter,  and photographer. He enjoys drawing with pen & ink. Patric has worked as a Wood crafter for eight years, at Masonry for five years while still making himself available for his other passions. His love of nature has motivated him to combine sketches and photographs with his writings into a book about edible plants. Perhaps if there is sufficient interest, I shall post further on the book when it is released. Patric loves to travel and related a story of when he was 17 years old how he rode a bicycle with a small motor all the way to Morocco. He has seven cats and his nickname is Patou which is a big shaggy dog found in the Pyrenees. The paintings were done by various artists with the exception of the self-portrait with the clock. Patric has had postcards made from them and uses those as his business cards. While the supply is dwindling, he quickly brought me all the ones I did not have after I saw him in Albas recently. Please do click on the photos so that you can see them better. When I saw Patric last week, I asked him if I could do a post and have him give me some information. For all his accomplishments, he is a modest man. Had it not been for his partner, I would not have had half the details you see here. She was generous and most patient to spend the time with me to uncover some of Patric’s many gifts. Bisous, Léa

Patric
Patric at Bio Marche
Patric with fellow musician at Albas
Patric with fellow musician at Albas
Drawing by Violette Vincent/ Painting by Sabine Delrieu
Drawing by Violette Vincent/ Painting by Sabine Delrieu
Left by Shemon Ben Youssef / Right by Brian de Carvailho
Left by Shemon Ben Youssef / Right by Brian de Carvailho
Patric - A self-portrait
Patric – A self-portrait

 

 

Albas 2012
Patric and friends in Albas 2012

Petit Hibou / Petit Chouette – Little Owl

Life here is filled with surprises and delight and this morning was no exception. Hibou is the word for owl while Chouette is one with tufted ears.

Petit Hibou
Petit Hibou

When my neighbour, Gait, came out his door this morning he was face to face with a little visitor. He took a photo with his phone and stopped to show it to me on his way to walk his dog. He said it was still there and to take my camera so I shall share with you the pictures I was able to get.

monsieur hibou
monsieur hibou

He/she made no attempts to fly off and the agency that deals with bird rescue has been contacted. For the time being, Gait has placed it in the container and covered it loosely.

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Petit Chouette

The owl did not seem to object to being petted or when picked up. However, we felt it best to let it rest now until the experts arrive and can assess the owl’s health. Being nocturnal, we assume it would be more comfortable out of the bright sunlight at least.

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While I know little about owls, I find them fascinating and if there was a magical bird, it would have to be an owl. The first time I got this close to one was in my youth while staying in Canada with my grandmother. While walking through and undeveloped area on my way to the local swimming pool, there was a snow white owl perched on a fence. It took my breath away and I couldn’t wait to get back and tell my grandmother about it. Swimming took a backseat that day.

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The feathers are so very soft… like a small chick.

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Gait and his little visitor at my front door
Gait and his little visitor at my front door

Don’t forget to click on the photos to see them enlarged. No doubt there are some of you out there who know much more about these fascinating creatures and perhaps even the type of owl this is. If so, I would love to hear from you. I hope you have enjoyed this little visitor to our village.

Bisous,

Léa

La mer, off season

From April until well into Autumn, our beaches stay filled. However, for some of us, it is still too beautiful not to go for a walk along the magnificent shore and perhaps enjoy a café, glass of wine or even a meal and stare out to sea. There are bits of obliging wood for writing messages in the sand and the sand is damp which is perfect for castles.

A quiet day at the beach
A quiet day at the beach
A willing you artist leaves his mark in damp sand
A willing young artist leaves his mark in damp sand
Tranquility!
With obliging bits of wood we draw and leave messages on the shore…
King of the hill, or at least the sand pile
King of the hill, or at least the sand pile
Enjoying the view...
Enjoying the view…
to the lighthouse...
to the lighthouse…
A few hardy souls!
A few hardy souls!
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The sea air does increase the appetite and what could be better?
The sea air does increase the appetite and what could be better?

There is still some time before the tourists begin to arrive to enjoy filling the lungs with salt air, writing volumes in the sand,

While these photos were taken at Port-la-Nouvelle, there are numerous beaches along the Mediterranean which are happy to oblige.

Bisous,

Léa

LES ORGUES D’ILLE-SUR-TÊT – Deux

Sculpted by waters! A natural amphitheatre has been created. Its walls sculpted with gigantic columns 10 – 12 metres high. The fragile and arid landscape  represents an ephemeral work. Despite the fact it appears as if it were frozen in time, it is constantly changing. Each time it rains, large quantities of sand are worn away. The ancient shapes are disappearing and new ones appear. Erosion is the architect and despite similar terrain in the area, nowhere else will you find the results as stunning as here.  The sand rock columns are hoodoos or “chimney rocks” due to the hard rock layer that covers them, protecting them minimally from a more rapid erosion. Note: many are confused by the local name of “Site des Orgues”. When in fact in geology, the word “organs” is preferably used to designate basalt streams that solidified in long pipes. Yet, there is no volcanic origin in this terrain. ... It is where the vegetation is sparse that the rock caps are less protective and first gullies were able to form. As the soft layer was reached, it was cut rapidly. The erosion varies and is more intense where the surface is softer on the column whose diameter is reduced. This causes the rock cap to lose its foundation until it eventually collapses as a while or in sections. In the site’s maze you can see and comprehend the importance of the protective rock cap. Whenever the rock cap has disappeared, the columns will soon collapse.

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The hoodoos or “chimney rocks” develop more slowly than the gullied sides of the site due to their vertical height: in fact, a drop of water dripping down the side of the hoodoo is carried away by its own weight. It takes with it a grain of sand or a flake of clay and the repetition of this is the action that carves the famous “organ pipes.”   DSCN1231

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In addition to the existing formation by water erosion, the site reveals a more ancient history. There are five major steps: – The mountain range we know as the Pyrénées was formed approximately 45 million years ago. At that time, the fold extended as far as the Languedoc and Provence. – Approximately 30 million years ago the eastern part of the chain broke  and collapsed. The Mediteranean as we now know it first appeared. – Than 5.8 – 5.3 million years ago, the Mediteranean was dried out as a result of an obstruction at the straits of Gibralter which was a result of plate movement. With the waters of the Atlantic unable to enter, the water level fell over 1500 meters. – Since plate mobility is constantly changing this situation lasted a short time. In the Pliocene the tectonics allowed for another shift and there was a marine invasion. Perhaps one could picture the terrain looking like the deserts of Africa.  The wildlife present were the as they are in current Africa landscapes. There were Hippopotamuses, elephants, monkeys and of course rodents and the hipparion or small horse. It was a turning point in the earth’s evolutionary climate.  Hot climate became drier and the Mediterranean climate began. – The rock cap which covers the columns at the site are composed of rubble resulting from the first quaternary (1.8 million years ago) colds. The cold was consistent with the fracturing in the rocks due to frost. At the foot of icy summits, landscapes are covered with windswept tundra and arid steppes. Only the sheltered locations hosted any softwood, birch and juniper forests. Animals were of the same kinds found in other parts of Northern Europe: wild horses, reindeer, antelopes, bison, saigas, wolves, bears, lynxes, otters, the Artic foxes, and ermines.  Some original animals: herbivores such as woolly rhinoceros, mammoth, auroch, herbivores, and carnivores such as cave hyenas, cave lions and cave bears. This action was in the site’s long history before the time of the flowing waters. With the climatic changes reminding the interglacial phases, the last phase (erosion) of this landscapes life  is begun. Sand which has been in transit on its way to the sea has been trapped for five million years and will eventually be washed away by rainstorms. This landscape is a heritage and it has travelled through time. While its history may seem ordinary it is in fact the natural mechanisms that have created this most unusual site. It is acknowledged that there are comparable, yet different, sites on the banks of Serre-Ponçon lake (Hautes Alpes), Cappadoce in Turkey and also in Bryce Canyon in North America. The fact is, each drop of water will have a causal effect on this beautiful site.  See it now!   Bisous, Léa

And the result is in…

LA CHATTE NOIR
LA CHATTE NOIRE

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Several weeks ago, I asked for your help in finding a name for my business. There were several wonderful submissions. With the help of some very special trusted friends, and a few of the feline variety, the struggle has come to an end. However, that was not before spending hours trying out the suggestions, a few of my own and variations of them all. On 10 June as I drove away from the lovely beach village of Leucate after my weekly French class, a title popped into my head. There has been some criticism as the famous Black Cat painted by the late Henri Toulouse Latrec was Le Chat Noir. Yes, I do love that cat. However, I am a female and what I write, publish, paint, photograph… is with a feminine perspective and I desire that the name reflect that. Ergo, I present to you for the first time, LA CHATTE NOIRE PRESSE.

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LA CHATTE NOIRE PRESSE can also be found on my LinkedIn page.

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My sincere thanks to all who participated and all who lent their support. Thank you to my friend Natalje who hashed it out with me last night and gave me valuable feedback and aided me in realising this is what I had been searching for.

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Bisous et calins,

Léa

Café

L'Amandier
L’Amandier

 

Main room
Main room

In France, café culture dates back centuries. They have always been a gathering place for the intellectuals where they frequently engaged in philosophical debates. The Avant Guarde would come to display their work and artists and writers were often exchange ideas and/or to drown their sorrows. From the French Revolution to the French Resistance, the freedom fighters would congregate at cafés to formulate their plan of action. In Paris you may still have a drink at such places as Les Deux Magots where such figures as Picasso and Hemingway were known to frequent to Les Deux Garçons in Aix-en-Provence which was a favorite of Cézanne.

Co-owner Luic behind the bar before the crowds
Co-owner Loic behind the bar before the crowds

 

Smaller back room
Smaller back room

 

Luic is at your service!
Loic is at your service!
Seating across the road just above the River Berre
Seating across the road just above the River Berre

 

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The crowds begin to arrive
The crowds begin to arrive

 

The mayor arrives early for the café launching
The mayor arrives early for the café launching

 

Co-owner Audrey with Rolande
Co-owner Audrey with Rolande

Café culture still thrives in France. Not just the trendy cafés of Paris but everywhere in France. Even many of the smallest villages have their own cafés. The locals still gather to have a café, glass of wine or beer with family, friends and neighbours. The tourists flock to the cafés to absorb the atmosphere, quench their thirst and often for information. Many cafés serve meals or sandwiches. There is almost always both indoor and outdoor seating.

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Our village café closed on 15 June 2013 and re-opened last weekend, 7 June 2014 with new owners. As you can see in the photos, Loic and Audrey along with their three children are a welcome addition to the community. They have plans to introduce a small menu of homemade fare soon. We look forward to getting to know them better and the multitude of cyclists, backpackers and others visiting our village will be assured of a welcoming respite, a refreshing beverage and friendly locals.

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Bisous,

Léa

Bienvenue! A good time was had by all.
Bienvenue! A good time was had by all.

Contest! Help name…

As some of you know, I have been writing/publishing two blogs for the past two and a half years: http://foundinfrance@wordpress.com and http://poetryphotosandmusingsohmy.wordpress.com

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What most of you are not aware of, I have previously published two collections of poetry and have two more in the works (early stages). In addition, I have recently begun my first novel.

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At this time, I would like to find a fitting name for my business. So far, a few ideas have come up:

*Lavender Press  

*Press de Tournesol/Sunflower Press

*Corbières (something) Press or (something) Corbières Press

The Corbières is the heart of the wine region where I live and where my heart found a home. Did I mention I love our local red wines? If you follow Found in France, or visit, you will have seen a number of posts from this region with photos. It should reflect the area, the work or both. The selected name will relate to the work I do and my love of France and/or my location.

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While I have no prize to offer at this time, my dear friend Christine reminds me, “if people only want to offer suggestions if there is a prize then I say those offerings aren’t worthy!” It will earn my gratitude and mention on the blogs and can include the link to your own blog.

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For real inspiration, visit Christine at:    http://journeyintopoetry.wordpress.com  and Carly Jay at: http://bruisesyoucantouch.com

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Bisous, Léa