Aix-en-Provence was not painted by Cézanne
We already mentioned the honouring of Cézanne this year and suggested to visit Aix-en-Provence, the city he lived most of the time. That is a fact that can not be denied. However, it's giving to much honour to the village of Aix, they claim some ten miles further in the village of Gardanne. In his days, Cézanne wasn't honoured in Aix, a city he never painted. So, in Gardanne they're proud to announce their town is the only town painted by Cézanne. until the end of may, English speaking guides will show you the place he lived for 15 months.
Posted by Peter at 07:00 AM [1 reaction]
New attraction park in Montbéliard
Montbéliard is not really a tourist trap. In fact it's ownly known for being the roots of the Peugeot car factory. So there is, of course, a Peugeot Museum in the neughbour city of Sochaux.
However, these days that's not enough to attract lots of people. That's why they made a plan for a new leisure park at the borders of the Doubs. Starting in 2008, they aim to show 300.000 people a year the wonders of technics and biology. For those who can't wait, there will be a preview on the spot this summer, from july 14th till july 16th.
Posted by Peter at 07:00 AM [What do you think?]
A unique monument, threatened by the government
Thirty years after being discovered, scientists have found a two stories building under the present Palace of Justice was an important Hebrew school, built in the year 1100 AC. It’s the only building from that time in Europe that still remembers to Jewish presence in this part of the world. Rouen, described by Victor Hugo like city with some 100 church bells, must have been like a Jew kingdom in these days. So it came to no surprise, the building was nominated World Cultural heritage at Unesco, and a book was issued.
However, there is a problem. According to Libération and France 3, you can hardly get into the monument. Even worse, due to the concrete floors of the Palace of Justice, ventilation is impossible. So, water can’t escape and the unique monument is in state of fast decline. Evil tongues even suggest the government has no concern at all... But, there is hope. The Palace of Justice is supposed to move somewhere else anyway by 2010.
Posted by Peter at 07:52 AM [3 reactions]
Good news for map fans
Some of us can't get enough of maps. For those of them who love France: Google maps has extended its database with lots of French road maps. If my calculation isn't wrong, you may even zoom in to 1:3300. Now, since this level gives only roads without any further details, this huge zoom doesn't make much sense.
But please do click the link to the hybrid mode. This will project maps on satellite views. It doesn't show details; you won't find nude French women in their backyards. but it's enough to give an impression of the landscape...
Posted by Peter at 07:22 AM [What do you think?]
War on the flea-market
The French love to stroll around on flea-markets. No wonder there are supposed to be 50.000 of them every year. It's impossible to list them all, but vide-greniers.org has nearly 23.000 flea-markets in its database.
However, it's war on the flea-market. Professional traders are tired of thhe competition of non-tax-paying private traders, who claim only to sell their own rubbish, but are seen in every corner of the country, every weekend again.
According to Le Figaro, the French government wants tyo support them. A new law forbids private traders to sell anything outside their own district.
Now the people who organize flea-markets are angry. They're scared their flea-markets will not survive the new law. According to them, flea-markets are the last social events in many small villages.
Posted by Peter at 07:43 AM [6 reactions]
Searching the dahu
Visiting a national park, you surely want to see animals you haven't already seen in the zoo. Well, may be your kids will see them in the Vanoise Parc in the Savoie area. Guides will take them to search for the dahu. A dahu is a nearly extincted mammal , somewhere between a goat, a dog and a weazle. The animal mostly lives in the mountains. For that reason, one sides legs are shorter then the other sides. There are two species, one with short legs on the right side, the other has shofrter legs on the left side. The dahu lives in the Alps, but also in the Pyrenees. most remarkable there's also a species that finds its home near the beach of Beauduc in thee Camargue.
there is some fighting about the scientific names. even more strange is the fact there are hardly any photographs, only differing drawings
123Savoie helps out: the dahu is a legendary animal, that never really existed. No surprise dahu-specialists even tell how to hunt the animal. They know: the French like to hunt anyway, even if the animal doesn't exist.
Posted by Peter at 07:39 AM [2 reactions]
Gorgious town, high-priced stairs
In the Dutch part of our forum a guest indicated to people visiting Lourdes they should visit Auch too. Now I can imagine why someone should visit Lourdes. Meanwhile, I do advise most people to avoid this overrated tourist trap. But Auch? Never heard of. Auch is away from the highways, away from the mountains, away from tourism, away from everything.
Turns out Auch is a medieval city on the top of a hill, with narrow, steep streets and a huge cathedral. Next to the cathedral is the museum of the Jacobins with a surprising collection of Latin-American art. It contains lots of work from Azteeks en other tribes, but also religious works from the 18th century too.
The medieval city is connected to the river Gers by a renaissanse style stairs. Too bad it's in such a bad state it's hard to recognize it's beauty. The French intent to repair the stairs, but they do have a small problem: the operation costs 6.6 million euro (4.6 million British Pounds or 8.2 million US dollars. A fund-raising campaign has been started.
Posted by Peter at 07:59 AM [3 reactions]
New French zoo to honour greek princes
They're working hard in the surroundings of Riom-es-Montagne (Cantal). Only ten days to go before the grand opening of Scénopark Io. Even their website isn't ready yet, although it gives an impression of this brand new zoo.
The zoo ows its name to Io, a beautiful Greek princes wanted by Zeus. To hide her for his wife Hera he changed her into a cow. Hera found out and made Zeus give her the cow...
The name illustrates the fact that this zoo isn't an ordinary zoo. It wants to shiow the relation between men and domesticated animals, from the prehistory till the modern days.
Posted by Peter at 07:55 AM [What do you think?]
I'm not really into arts. Sometimes, I regret. The Festival of Marseille for exemple, seems to be pretty impressing and having high standards.
Now, one thing is for sure, I'm definitely not the one to tell you. So look for the program and judge for your self.
The reason I made this blog? The opportunity to use this beautiful word: Eraritjaritjaka. It's the title of something on the border of classical music and Theatre, made by a German by the name of Heiner Goebbels. Anyone who wants to see, must pronounce the word 'Eraritjaritjaka'. Art? Art! Have fun.
Posted by Peter at 07:58 AM [What do you think?]
A lake without concrete buildings
Suppose, you're a ski resort. That's lonely in summer, so you do something about it. According to best French traditions, you make yourself a plan d'eau, an artificial lake.
Now that's not very remarkable. We didn't even mention that between the mountains of the Haute-Savoie there was only room for a lake of 30 by 50 meters. That's more like a nice swimming pool.
So, you do something about it. You shout from the tops of the mountains you've got a real ecological lake. That you do not throw any chemicals in it. That real water plants do grow in the lake. And, in the Dutch version, that you make sure no concrete buildings are build in your lake. Now, for this kind of badly translated marketing we won't come to Combloux.
Meanwhile, there are reasons to go there as well. First of all the very nice temperature: 26 degrees Celsius, 79 degrees fahrenheit. The fact men may swim in boxershorts. And most of all, the idea to swim with a marvellous view at the Mont-Blanc.
Posted by Peter at 07:26 AM [What do you think?]
Faust and more in Perpignan
Perpignan will be dominated by movies from april 20th to april 27th. This years edition of the traditional Confrontation Movie Festival promises a large choice, nearly all movies being of high quality (being Dutch, I can only be ashamed for Spetters, the only Dutch movie).
If you're afraid the French language in movies is to difficult or to fast, just choose a silent movie. For exemple, 80 year old Faust by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau is considered to be master piece. According to Charlie Chaplin it was the perfect movie. But there are also previews of new movies.
In total, some 60 films from all over the world will be shown.
Posted by Peter at 07:23 AM [What do you think?]
Snow in april...
It happened in april last time in 1949: on tuesday, the Vosges area received 15 centimeters of snow.
However, according to France 3 Broadcasting, a long eastern weekend full of alpine skiing will not be possible. The season is over yet and and there are not enough people to handle lifts.
Meanwhile, if you do visit the region, be carefull and keep in mind many pass roads are still closed.
Posted by Peter at 07:38 AM [What do you think?]
Diving in Espalion
OK, it's a nice, picturesque village. Espalionhas everything a post card maywish for. Cute renaissance castle on a rock at the banks of the Lot river, a tiny bridges that must have seen centuries pass, a romantic city gate, everything. It's a good village to stroll around for some hours. We're not really surprised to find a regional museum in a restaurated church. We are surprised however, to find another museum in this museum, the diving museum (Musée du Scaphandre). Diving? Over here? The Lot isn't that deep and the sea is 100 miles away.
But in 1864, by pure coïncience, two residents of Espalion invented the diving suite with oxygen equipment. So, that's why. the local tourist office is proud to mention all great names from the diving world have already visited the museum.
Posted by Peter at 06:59 AM [What do you think?]
A blog a day, it's madness
In fact it's madness: every day a new blog. Why? Just because ablog that isn't often updated isn't a real blog. So the blogger hurries on. Let's forget the rest of all daily stress, ok?
It's time to back off, time for a retreat. One special place for a retreat are the buddhist hermitages in the Auvergne. Over here, you will learn how to obtain a state of enlightment where suffering is something from the past.
Now this may be a difficult target. Good thing you may also have a retreat in lots of these catholic abbeys. In exchange for a small amount of money, they will be happy to give hospitaly.Doing so, they obey the rule of Saint Benedict: Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ,
for He is going to say,
"I came as a guest, and you received Me".
Posted by Peter at 07:39 AM [What do you think?]
A good day for sports fans
It's a great day for sports fans tomorrow. In Paris, no less then 35.000 people will start for the 30th annual marathon. They wil run from the Bois de Boulogne in the west along the Seine to the Bois de Vincennes in the west and then go back west to the Avenue Foche. The run starts at 08.45 CET.
For cyclo fans, the party is a bit more up north. Tomorrow , it's the day of the notorious classical race Paris-Roubaix. A race over about 162 miles. Paved roads make 33 miles. Forecasts made friday evening by Meteo France predict sun, clouds and ... rain. this should be marvellous television.
Posted by Peter at 07:54 AM [2 reactions]
Yet another castle: Villandry
I didn't notice the chateau de Villandry until yet. I may have overlooked it just because it's smaller then Chambord. In fact, Villandry is build in the 16th century after the model of Chambord. The man who builded Chambord wanted a house for himself...
Nowadays, Villandry is especially famous for its gardens. They will be at best on July 7th and 8th. They will be in the light of a thousand and one torches. Both evenings come to an end with fireworks.
Posted by Peter at 07:50 AM [2 reactions]
Bridges of stupid women
Enough bridges in France, but this one is special: the railroad bridge over the Sioule.
Though nothing compared to the Bridge of Millau, this bridge is huge too. More then 400 meters long, 132 meters above the Sioule. You can't miss it. For the largest part of last century, it was the highest railroad bridge in Europe.
But it is a small bridge made of stones by the same name that makes this bridge very special. This older bridge is to find nearly below the railroad bridge. It is said that long ago, two elder, unmarried women lived here. They noticed travvelers sometimes could not cross the river. When they died, they left wills saying all their money and belongings should be used to build a bridge.
So the bridge was build, but it was called the Pont des Fades: the bridge of the stupid women.
Posted by Peter at 07:38 AM [What do you think?]
Forgotten Vauban this year, be sure to remember next year
Oops, we nearly forgot the anniversary of the day of death of marshal Vauban, last Thursday. That's no problem, as long as we remember there's nearly a year left till next years anniversary. March 30, 2007, will be the start of the Vauban Year, to commemorate his 300th day of death. Last thursday, the Vauban community announced the nationwide program.
Vauban was not only a brave soldier, but also the military architect of sun king Louis XIV. everywhere in the country he builded citadels. The French knew: a city defended by Vauban is a safe city; a city attacked by Vauban is lost.
Apart from that, Vauban had great knowledge of nature. For that reason, the visitors center in the Morvan National park carries his name. In lost moments, Vauban also wrote philosophical books.
The Vauban year will be celibrated in many places. Two of them will certainly be special: the museum of military history in the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris and Vaubans castle, the chateau de Bazoches in the Burgundy area.
Posted by Peter at 07:50 AM [3 reactions]