mercredi 24 décembre 2008

The Pyrenees

These photos were taken on 21Dec2008.

The Pyrenees

The highest peak that you see it the Pic du Midi.

Pic du Midi

Another view of Pic du Midi

The village that you see in this photo is Rejaumont, France.

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jeudi 27 novembre 2008

Montbrun Bocage Automne Foire Part V

The main thing that draws people to one of these fairs is the fact that they always do a brocante, or vide-greniers (village wide flea market) in conjunction with their fair. You see some interesting things, sometimes a bargain, but most of the time overpriced.

Clark is looking for bargains. When I took the photo I did not even realize that he was in it. I was trying to get a photo that would give people an idea about the character of the village.

More of the vendors at the fair. This is the front of the church in Montbrun Bocage. The village and the church dates back to the end of the 1200's.

Still more of the vendors. The only thing we purchased was a block of beeswax from one of the vendors. As I said in an earlier post the village is one of my favorites in this part of France.

Not every street was filled with vendors. This is one of the most interesting buildings in the village. Not sure what the building was originally, but it has been restored.

Montbrun Bocage Automne Foire Part IV

When I started this series of post on the Montbrun Bocage Foire, I should have started with this picture and explained more about the fair. This weekend event draws many people from this part of France. It has the reputation of being one of the best fairs as far as the quality and variety of the merchandise for sale. When we arrived we were directed to a parking lot that had been created in a meadow just outside of the village. Getting out of the car, this was the first image we saw.

I have posted other photos of this ruined Chateau on another post. I am not sure how to make a link to it, but it was the 3Avril post. This is looking at the Chateau from the other side of the village. I will post more photos of the village in the next post, as I have found it to be one of my favorite places to visit in the area.

This man was performing on the steps of the church. So many of these artist travel from village to village to perform in the small events and they always bring a smile to my face. The doors to the church are behind him and the balloon sculpt er appears to be coming out of the church.

This was a samba group that was getting ready to perform. It seemed as if they were waiting for all of the members to arrive. We wanted to hear them so we waited around the area, and sure enough when another two people arrived they were ready for their performance. If you look at the sign on the chair it is advertising the special that is being served in the outdoor restaurant.

The group was worth waiting for. This is where the different groups would assemble before marching (walking) through the village streets performing.

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mardi 25 novembre 2008

Montbrun Bocage Automne Foire Part III

These are some more of the creations that were on display at the fair.

The man that was doing this sclupture was using wooden boxes that the produce is shipped to the small shops in. You can see some of them in the front of the sculpture.

Again one of the movable art pieces. This was carves out of the trunk of a large tree and then the iron wheels were added.

The stone sculptures at work. There were several different groups of stone masons working on various pieces in the area. Most of them were doing benches and smaller sculptures.
Another one of the metal sculptures. Again this was made from found objects.
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Montbrun Bocage Automne Foire Part II

As you read in the previous post this is the annual fall foire at Montbrun Bocage. They also do a fair in the spring, but we have not attended it.

After we had visited the Wall Street Bocage that was in the first post, as we walked down the street we heard a noise from behind us and this was what it was. Although you get the impression that the child sitting on the toilet seat is pedaling the machine, all that is happening there is that the bicycle is only splashing water on everyone from the bathtub. The man in the yellow raincoat is actually pushing the art piece. The children are determining what direction the thing will go.

This is a close up of the machine. They have used the wheels from a farm machine and mounted the bathtub on them. The stovepipe on the back of the toilet is there only for it's creative value.

This was some of the artwork in the same area. Everything on display in this area was hand crafted and many of the art pieces were made with found objects.

It took a bit for me to figure this one out. I think it is supposed to be some type of flying fish.
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lundi 24 novembre 2008

Montbrun Bocage Automne Foire Part I

This last Sunday we took another one of our weekend trips. One of the big advantages of living here in southwest France is the fact that you can drive less than one hour, and you are in another part of France that is so different from where you live.

As we arrived at the fair this was the first seller that we noticed. Of course the sign pulled us into the building. Once inside the building there was only a toilet stool. Otherwise a place to flush your money. The man with his back to us was dressed as a Wall Street broker.

Within five minutes this woman showed up and agreed to be photographed only if we promised to go the the salle des fête where she was entertaining. As with all of the people involved in the event, we found it to be a real treat to visit the salle and see the fair from that point. I will post more from that area of the fair on another post.

When we arrived at the salle des fête she was clearing tables and entertaining the crowd. As with most of the weekend fairs that are held all over France, everyone was enjoying the show and the food.

The meals were being served in the open air, and although it threatened rain all day, it did not dampen the spirits of the crowd.

This is the only website that I was able to find for the town. I will be posting more photos later this week.

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mercredi 29 octobre 2008

Views of the Pyrenees

As I was leaving the house this morning, I noticed that the Pyrenees were in full view and went back to pick up my camera. By the time I was to a point where I could get a good view, the haze was starting to set in over the mountains. The above photo is of the church in the small village of Saman which is about 15km from where we live. The commune has a population of around 200 people.

This is the view to the southeast from the point where I took the photo of the village. There is some snow in the Pyrenees, but in another two months, we hope the mountains will be covered with snow. The trees in the foreground are plantan, or plane trees. These are the same trees that line many of the roads in France. Many times you will have them on both sides of the road, and you feel as if you are driving into a tunnel when the branches meet above you.

This is a photo just to the right of the above photo. Normally you would be able to see the mountains peaks behind these mountains that are across the border in Spain.

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dimanche 21 septembre 2008

More Fete en Fleurs

This is the float that was put together by the over 60 club in our town. As you can see everyone has to be creative in trying to make a tractor not look like a tractor.

This float was put together by the association for donating blood. They have blood drives here every two months and the nursing staff comes from Toulouse.
This is the float for the rugby club. This area of France is where most of the rugby players are from that play on the French Rugby Team. They start teaching the children rugby when they are six years old. The classes are open to both boys and girls.

The sapeurs (first medical responders) and pompiers (firemen and women) put together this float. The people that are involved with this organization are all volunteers. I can not say enough about all of the work these people do. Many times they are involved in very dangerous operations, especially when it comes to the fires. The number 18 that is on the side of the float is the 911 number here in France.
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samedi 20 septembre 2008

Fete en Fleurs

The annual Fete en Fleurs was held in L'Isle-en-Dodon on the weekend of 13-14 September of this year. The above photo is of the members of the Patanage (Roller skating) Association in our town. We assembled the carcass for the float starting on 6 Sept, and continuing through the week until it was ready to have the flowers glued on on 12 September.

The white boxes contain the flowers which are grown here in France in Loire Valley. They are shipped on the Friday before the fete to our town and then delivered to the various sites where they will be glued on the floats. This year there were ten floats in the parade and two bands. There is a carnival that sets up in the town for the weekend. On Friday night there is a dance that is the beginning of the fete. Saturday evening the rugby club has a barbecue for the fete. Following the meal there is a show presented on a stage by the mairie (town hall). This years show was a spectacular with orchestra, singers and dancers. After the first three numbers, it started raining and they had to stop the performance, so everyone was disappointed.

The above photo is the completed float. This year the float was the first in the parade, and the winners of the competition for Miss Fete en Fleurs were on the float.

This is the float as we were beginning the parade with the young ladies who won the competition on the float.

On Sunday evening after the parade there was another concert. The show lasted until two o'clock in the morning. On Monday there was a jazz combo that played at lunch time in one of the plaza here in the town. Monday evening there was a fireworks display with music at the lake, and after that a dance that again lasted until the early hours of the morning.
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mardi 29 juillet 2008

Another Day in the Country

Today we took our Gite guest to ride in canoes down one of the local small rivers about four miles from our place.

These photos were taken along the side of the Gesse river as we were waiting for the canoes to pass. Trouble was, the river was flowing faster than expected and when we arrived, the canoes had already passed.
Wheat is one of the crops grown in the area, the harvest has been going on for the last three weeks and after they cut the wheat the straw is put into these bales. They are about six feet high when they are placed on the flat side, so many of the farmers will put them up as wind breaks in the winter, or even use them as a temporary fence.

After we arrived at the landing area for the canoes we had a picnic with our guests along the side of the river. These sunflowers were growing next to where we had the picnic. Most of the seeds are used as sunflower oil, as the French are not big into eating sunflower seeds as a general rule.
I was trying to get a photo of a bee that was on this sunflower, but by the time I got the shot ready he was gone.
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mercredi 28 mai 2008

Another weekend trip.

The first weekend in May we decided to go to Montsegur. Montsegur is one of the chateaus that the Cathar religion had retreated to in the 1200's when the Catholic church, and the King of France was trying to unify the southern part of the country with the north.

As you can see by the photos although there is somewhat of a stairway to the top, at times you were almost in a crawl position to get to the top.

Clark about half way up.

Where is everyone?

The view from the top. One of the amazing things about the place was trying to figure out how they were able to get the wood beams that were used in the construction up this mountain. Would loved to have been there on a clear day, as the views were spectacular.

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