This is the diary of a French city girl, hired as "local correspondent" by a tiny, rural, country newspaper in the South of France. Yachts' lovers, exit here. Country-life addicts, follow me... Creative common: old-fashioned full copyright
Wedding anouncements and obituaries are sacred pillars in the rural press. I have been encouraged to mention, in my weekly listing, who are the grandparents and the great-grandparents of the babies of the week. Otherwise, who would know in the district that the grocer's great-niece has given birth, since she married a guy from town, with a "foreign" name?Each week, I do the rounds of the tiny registry offices to collect birth and death news. During summer, saturdays are hectic, running from town halls to... [Lire la suite]
Georgette, the local correspondent for a neighbouring village, calls. She must attend a family wedding this week-end and will not be around for the annual Petanque marathon, an important event by local standards. No problem. I'll moonlight for her. The marathon is about playing non-stop petanque from 9 AM to 9 PM, under the sun. We are in the midst of a serious heatwave. Thirty high-level petanque teams have enrolled and are coming by bus from far away towns in the greater south-eastern part of France. At noon, I do a... [Lire la suite]
That's what the sign post says. Translation: Do you fancy fattening a goose for Christmas, in the quiet and privacy of your home ? We sell them trained (to be force-fed).
We are having a heat-wave. I had to retreat indoors with my laptop. Am writing my country articles for the paper with full wiew on the hot and bothered cat. Small pleasures in a country reporter's life.
The conflict zone(I cannot be more specific, otherwise, I will get in trouble...) This is my first large scale report. The editor-in-chief in person called me in to entrust this "investigation piece" to me. A great classic of the contemporary country life: a sewage purification plant. I drive to a secluded hollow in the woods, where the opponents await me. In fact, the "action group" they just set up is made up of just one family, theirs. The one and only that will soon see a sewers purification plant... [Lire la suite]
Of course, it was the beginning. I was still filled with wonder. But I remember discovering the town square that night, emptied of its carpark to make room for the annual Bastille Day Banquet. Entrusted with the photograph for the following week newspaper, I had a free ticket for a free "authentic" evening in a new country: the French provinces on the 14th of July.It was beautiful! Plane trees, pink twilight that comes with heat waves, the blue-white-red flags decorating the square and the school. A tourist... [Lire la suite]
My little brook in France has no cultural or intellectual life, past or present. For high-flying festivals, drive further south. Local events were mostly invented by hippie refugees in the seventies. Bless them. Without their creativity, summer would be a vast, hot, empty limbo. In this village (above) remains one (1) lavender-grower and one (1) family business of industrial aromas and flavouring. That's more than enough to come up with a "traditional" "Plants and aromas Festival" every year in July. ... [Lire la suite]
The windows of the local "Offices de Tourisme" are my best informers. In one numeric shot, I've stored all coming events. I'll sort and process them at home, on my blue work table by the window, or on the terrace. The local events comitees operate on tiny budgets. A paper poster is their only way to communicate B2C. One has to keep an eye open, always, not to miss a flutering pink flyer stuck on the One-way road sign. I now know how to identify the type of event and its location just by its flyer. If the flyer is... [Lire la suite]
A French 19th century council hall. During the summer, I "cover" a score of villages and small towns. A local correspondent has to sit through the town council meetings. I like it. In those small rural communes, the elected officials have known each other since first grade. They drop home after their day work to take off their overall, shower and put a proper tee shirt, like city people. One understands very quickly, without subtext, who is conservative or liberal, who takes care of the landowners' interests or tries... [Lire la suite]