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.

*

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

 

...

 

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.

*

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

Montolieu et salon du livre ancien

...
Salon du livre ancien

It is always a delight to spend the day in Montolieu. La village du livre , The village of books, is small with a population of less than one thousand. Yet, this beautiful village nestled in the  Montaigne Noir is home to twenty bookshops, a massive compound where paper-making, book-making and other related crafts are taught and celebrated. Naturally, being France, artists are to be found at nearly every corner. However, that is another post. Wandering from bookshop to bookshop is not without consequences. One finds that they end up making trips back to the car with each load of books that were just not able to pass up. There is always the museum of book and paper making and the old compound that still makes and teaches the arts of book and paper making. There are also workshops and classes available for writers which bring visitors from different countries. While the majority of the books are in French, there is truly something for everyone.  I head for the poetry sections and always manage to expand my collection of French poets.

livres, livres...
livres, livres…

The Montolieu foyer was turned over to various collectors who had books to sell. This is over and above the twenty bookshops scattered around this charming village.

...
et plus de livres

... ...                       ...     ...

Vending machines for organic produce!

IMG_0119

Fresh organic produce available 24/7
Fresh organic produce available 24/7
Fresh from local gardens
Fresh from local gardens
A variety awaits you!
A variety awaits you!

Something I have not encountered before is the automated produce system. Everything was fresh, local and organic! Just down the road is a bookshop/restaurant which is organic and where Yvonne and I were served an excellent lunch. It happens to be the same shop where we had the amazing chestnut cakes on a previous visit. If you would like to see more check out these previous posts:   https://foundinfrance.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/montolieu/ and https://foundinfrance.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/michel-braibant-museum-conservatory-of-book-arts-crafts/ Regardless of when you visit Montolieu, you will leave enchanted! Bisous, Léa

Le Moulin à Papier: Part III

Continued from Part II

Sieve
Sieve

The Dutch pile has been filled with the previously smashed paste inside the millstone grinder.

Dutch pile produces a very thick past that must be diluted in a tank. The resulting product will be 1 – 3 percent paste concentrate and 97 – 99 percent paste solution. A sieve is used to separate the fibres. A sieve is used to separate the fibres from the water. Each sieve is crafted by professionals and are imported from England. The tightened brass wires keep them parallel to each other with thick embossed seams.  The sieve consists of a thin plain metal canvas to create a vellum paper. The paper-maker attaches a wire to the canvas. The wire’s pattern gives the pieces of information on the paper’s size and who created it ( eagle, bell…). The removable frame cover fits the sieve and gives the paper shape and thickness. There are frames to form special papers, envelopes and other shapes.  The marks are called watermarks.

Sheets drying on the ropes
Sheets drying on the ropes

With the paste diluted, the fibres are mixed with a stick then the sieve is quickly plunged into the tank. As the water begins to drain off the sheet of paper is formed. The sheet is laid on a piece of woollen felt. One hundred sheets is called a ‘porse’. The more the past is diluted the thinner the page will be. Increase the paste for thickness.

When the sheets are piled without the felt it creates cardboard.

Drying: The sheets are lifted with a wooden stick and hung on ropes. The thicker the sheet of paper the longer the drying time. The other factor is the weather. It can vary from a few hours in the summer to several days in the winter. The sheets are lifted with a stick and brushed onto plain warm boards or on brick walls warmed by the fire in Japan. In

Drying garments, pages and other creative projects
Drying garments, pages and other creative projects

Brousses inspiration is taken from the Japanese method. The paper is laid on a synthetic material and then compressed and hung on the dryer. When the drying is complete, the pages are unstuck. The paper is flatter and smoother. If a coarse-grained paper is desired the sheet is layed on a coarser grained felt.

Once the paper has dried it has the consistency of blotting paper and must be waterproofed. The gluing is a process of applying a coating of gelatine. However, the process has changed and currently the gelatine is added to the paper-paste.

Smoothing: Pages require smoothing once they come out of the dryer. They are not smooth or flat. Today they are compressed within a few hours on the hydraulic compressor.

Coloured paper: A coloured paper is made from cotton cloths. White paper is made with lightened cellulose. Brown pages are created from plants or animal dung.

One of the dresses worn at the Paper Lovers Night!
One of the dresses worn at the Paper Lovers Night!

Large sheets: The special sheets, 3.4 meters long by 2.2 meters wide were specially crafted here at Brousses. Six to eight people are required to handle the special sieve. There is also a special tank that is assembled for when it is required.

The dresses were created by the visual artist, Catherine Cappeau, and worn every 14th August for a special musical event, Paper Lovers’ Night or in French Nuit des Papyvores.

Bisous,

Léa

All in a stunning setting! Make a day of it.
All in a stunning setting! Make a day of it.

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

Ici, Alleurs, A coté

Ici, Alleurs, A coté
Ici, Alleurs, A coté

While still in Montolieu and having toured the Conservatory of Book Arts & Crafts, we were in serious need of refreshments and then there are books to be discovered. We were  in luck as just across from the museum was a charming tea shop/bookstore. On this particular day, the books were to wait as we indulged in the tea and delicious cakes. The cakes to choose from on that day were chocolate or chestnut. The small tea cakes had been baked in a rose shaped mold, were moist and delicious. While I am a chocoholic, I choose the chestnut one and it was amazing. Nathalie is a gracious host and as we left we met one of the resident cats. After all, what is a bookstore without a cat or two in residence?Montolieu has much to offer. There are numerous shops, cafés, museums, courses on paper and book making and don’t forget all those bookstores! While admittedly most books are in French, there are numerous other languages represented as well as collectibles. If you are into books, reading or writing, there is something here for you. If not, it is a beautiful place to stroll and have a picnic.

Besides having the books and tea shop, like many shops in the village there is a good selection of regional products available. When you visit Montolieu, stop in and meet Nathalie and Stéphane. If you care to view more photos of Montolieu, stop by the earlier post on the village and bookshops posted on 12 December, 2011.

Bisous,

Livres, books, livres, books...
Livres, books, livres, books…

Léa

Flowers & Cakes!
Flowers & Cakes!

...

Tea room side of the shop
Tea room side of the shop – Nathalie and Yvonne
Ready?
Ready?
Special blends on offer
Special blends on offer
View from the bridge across the road
View from the bridge across the road
A great place for a picnic!
A great place for a picnic!

Retour/Return

A note: Convalescence is a contrary state. While we may improve, it can take a lot longer to return to many of the things we long to accomplish. Such is the case with this blog. It has been neglected since my surgery and while I continue to improve, I have not been able to explore and record as I would like. Thank you for bearing with me. Today, I had the good fortune of my subject coming to me, more or less. Our local Pompiers (fire-fighters) sponsored today’s vide grenier. Since I have previously posted on a vide grenier, I focus today on the poet and Ambassador to Republique de Montmartre, Linda Bastide.

***

Bisous,

Léa

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 …

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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…

IMG_7458
Linda in Durban Corbieres 20/05/2013

Bisous,

Léa

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!

Trèbes

 

...
Trèbes – center of the old villlage and eglise

I have a soft-spot in my heart for this village. When first visiting France, I met a woman from Leeds, England named Yvonne. We shared a room at the hostel in Carcassonne and spent time exploring the city and looking at properties. She bought one of the houses we looked at as a vacation home. When we parted, we stayed in touch through email and snail mail. She made me promise to let her know when I would return. When my house in California finally sold, I grabbed my Carte d’ Sejour and headed back to France. Yvonne met me and gave me a key to her house to stay while house-hunting for my own home. Her place was located in the heart of the old village with its door directly across from the église. Each day, I took walks along the beautiful Canal du Midi (another post in the future).

The day started out grey but the sun had other plans as you can see from some of the photos.

Just off the main road (old center of town) you can find the art gallery of English artist, Kathleen Burlumi. Kathleen teaches painting and drawing and give lectures (in french and english) on the work of her late husband, David Burlumi.

Bisous,

Léa

 

...
One of the bedrooms in the house Yvonne was to buy, photo taken that day we first saw it.                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The kitchen with much work to be done                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canal du midi
Canal du midi view                                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...
Art gallery – Kathleen Burlumi   Artist                          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mairie
Mairie                                                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...
One of many spots to sit with a book or…                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canal du midi
Canal du midi                                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

River Trèbes
River Trèbes                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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L’église                                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday market
Sunday market                                                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday market - Cha
Sunday market – Charcuterie                                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seafood Restaurant along Canal du midi
Seafood Restaurant along Canal du midi