IntrepidWoman's Journey

Marco Polo was here and so am I . . .

Posted on: July 23, 2010

July 23rd

D & L spent two days watching the Tour de France and staying in Lourdes where the healing waters are to be found that attract tourists from all over the world. The tour was pretty exciting for them as they have watched it every year at home and followed Lance Armstrong’s many wins.

There is so much to tell, that I hardly know where to begin. We live near the water and have tried a different cafe almost every night, having wondrous culinary experiences. Last night there was a huge production on the river about the history of Agde and ‘awesome’, my much over-used word, does not cover how impressive it was. There was a full re-enactment with boats, fighting, music, singing and dancing, fireworks, etc. and the story was being told in French of course. It did not matter that we did not understand the words. The story was obvious and the drama was exciting. It lasted a couple of hours and even some rain did not dampen the spirits of the actors. I took so many photos but they likely will only mean something to me as this is one of those ‘you had to be there’  events.

The markets are wonderful – an abundance of fresh fruits and breads, clothing, purses, etc.. The weather is sublime – temperatures over 30 degrees every day. My hair is bleached right out and I give up trying to curl it. I look like Heidi of the Alps most days or like a stray puppy, but do not care. We shower morning and evening and it feels so good! My hair is unmanageable and immaterial.

Walking through the narrow streets is fascinating as there are so many interesting little shops to experience. The  kids’ park by the trompe l’oeil painting on the buildings is where Jack likes to go at least once a day. I like to sit and watch the dynamics of the locals. Young women gather to smoke and visit while their children play, teenage girls group together, black hair piled high and dressed in skin-tight black pants with white, tight tank tops that go down to their knees. Grandmothers sit in dresses, adorned with jewelry and rule the family from their benches. The young women frequently yell very loudly at the men or at their children and do get their attention! After a noisy exchange, everyone goes back to their business at hand.

I must learn French when I get home because I plan to come back to France. I want to tour the French countryside by train. It is not expensive and it is so beautiful.

Tomorrow we are going by train to Montpellier, a larger city, to shop of course. I have bought some beautiful scarves and several little things for Wee Michael and Miss Laura.

There was a local flea market on the promenade on Wednesday that I would have loved to plunk down a few dollars for items, but how to get them home? I will go next Wed. as Jack was not well this time. I remember doing a ‘Christmas in France’ program at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre and talking about the little clay figures of local people in the towns like the baker and the mayor. These were made for people to purchase and put out like we do the crèche with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. I think they were called santons. Anyway, there was a basket of little santons on a flea market table. I want to get some to bring back to talk about French Christmases as a museum program, as a lot of French settled in the Okotoks area in the early 1900s.

I must go shopping now.  Our landlord, David from London, is meeting us for dinner later tonight. That should be fun. He is most interesting – has a couple of places here and was a wine lecturer before retiring; he now has a gift shop with his wife in London. He is renovating his other place here and staying for the summer. I love to hear his English accent in the middle of all the vibrant French.

This is definitely a different world from Canada! I am glad to have had the opportunity to come here!


1 Response to "Marco Polo was here and so am I . . ."

Ahhh Jan This so reminds me of myself when I had that wonderful 2 months living in a small mountianside village not far from Montellimar (you may gave gone through there on the train). Like you, my mind had me returning and living in a little french village. I even looked up rentals for at least a month after my return to Calgary. I still dream of returning to that idyllic place. I am so happy for you…these are the times that will fill our memories while we sit and watch the big blue Alberta sky. My search for a home in Cochrane continues. Not exactly the charming French village of mydreams but it is full of friendly folk with lots going on and wonderful walking trails. Call me at 403 248 4824…we must get together before I leave for Mexico on October 1.

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