Thursday 27 July 2023

The oriental garden at Maulevrier

We have been to this garden once before, and decided at the time that it was worth re-visiting.   We went to see it again on Wednesday, a one-night trip, back today.  It was once part of the grounds of a local château, now a hotel, where we stayed overnight.   

The planners have been creative in the use of the various slopes, and a water feature has been created by damming the small river that runs through the park.   Much of the colour is provided by azaleas and rhododendrons, so at this time of year the interest is in the forms of the trees and leaf colour.   Almost every vista offers something of interest: leaf shapes and colours, topiary, or just the natural shapes of the trees and bushes. 

We were lucky with the weather.  There was a light drizzle as we were leaving, but it seemed like we had the only rainless few hours in a wet week.  As an aside, the river did look like it could use a bit of rain.

It's hard to do justice to the park in just a few pics, but here's an idea.   The chateau you can see is the hotel where we stayed overnight.

A surprise!  Who should we bump into but Marie-Claude, our old French teacher, who eased us into the language during our first years here.   She was on a a holiday touring trip with her husband.  We chatted, swapped news and wished each other well.

Tuesday 25 July 2023

Lake Pavin

The Auvergne is a volcanic, mountainous area, with steep-sided valleys and rocky peaks.  It includes the ski resort of  Super Besse.   The streams at the bottom of the valleys have a tendency to get dammed up, giving rise to deep lakes, and we went to see one: Lake Pavin.   It has a visitor centre with restaurant and bar (natch) and a track around the lake that you can walk. 

We had Wednesday afternoon off on our accordion course, so we went to see it and walked around it.

Saturday 22 July 2023

Accordéon course

I've just been on an accordion course down in the Auvergne.   Great fun; the first francophone music course I've been on.  Saw my first street sign written in Occitan.   I'm told that there are no remaining people who use it as their mother tongue, but it is sometimes taught and studied.   The sign means "The residents of Picherande (miengué) are pleased to welcome you".     You can just about see the similarity with "Les miengués se font plaisir de vous recevoir".

There were 6 students, with abilities running from Pascal who is a demon player who has been playing since his youth, to Laurent who is almost a  complete beginner.   A good time was had by all, and my team won the pétanque.   What's not to like?

Decent shallots

 Not a bad harvest this year.

Big ones (left) for eating, small ones (right) for planting.

Wednesday 12 July 2023

Bien cuit

One of the McDonald's in Laval, since last week.   The other one is OK.   Story is that burning cars nearby set it on fire, but I didn't notice scorched tarmac nearby.   Not that I looked especially hard, to be honest.

Sunday 2 July 2023

The vernissage

The throbbing metropolis of St Pierre sur Erve holds an art exhibition every year.   It's part of the activities associated with being a Petite Cité de Caractère.   This year there were 45 different artists exhibiting, most of the works were outside in people's gardens or attached to walls, though some were indoors in the bistrot or other publicly-accessible areas.

The inauguration of the exhibition is known as the vernissage, I have no idea why, it means varnishing, but it seems to be the term.   It was yesterday, and lots of people came to see.   There was the exhibition itself, the bar was open, there was live music, and a meal served in the evening (90 places).  A good time was had by all.

Here's a few random snaps:

Even the tarpaulin on the church roof hosted soem pictures, and I liked the quaint idea of a series of road maps of villages to pass through to get from St Pierre sur Erve to a village in Corsica.

My favourite was the pterodactyls flying up the river.

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