Last Saturday we went to a small village close by that has a yearly Street Music Festival called L’autan en Fanfare. Fanfares are large brass bands and the ones we have seen in France are outstanding. Great musicianship but with a wack-a-doodle sense of humor. There’s weird costumes and antics and yet the music is highly professional.
This festival took place in a sweet hilltop village called Saint Felix Lauragais. We didn’t quite understand what the poster and flyer described but decided to take a chance on it.
When we got to the village a competition of sorts was taking place between two bands. There was a master of ceremonies giving each band a challenge and then the two bands would “compete” for the BEST via audience applause.
For instance, one band was given the task to create a tune and song about cassoulet (one of the famous regional dishes here) and the other band to make a tune/song about Roquefort cheese. Each band (there were about 15-20 members in each) conferred for about a minute and then started playing and singing. It was a hoot. Then the audience clapped to pick a winner.
Another challenge was to play lying on the ground. Another challenge- fill the trumpets and trombones with water and play! What?!? Weird, funny and everyone joyful.
After these challenges, the bands played for real and we saw about 4 of them before the heavens opened up with a huge downpour.
Even tho our time in Lyon was short- we packed alot in and also left things to do in the future. I loved Lyon and want to get back there.
A few more highlights:
These bright colored cheeses have been showing up at markets- here in Lyon and also in our local market in Revel. I’ve tried the bright green and the red ones. The green is a gouda with Basil. The red, I don’t remember- but it was delish! And I haven’t had the pleasure of the turquoise yet!
The new museum Musee des Confluences in Lyon is a wonder. I can’t recommend it highly enough. The architecture is a marvel and the exhibits thought provoking and marvelous. It’s hard to explain it so look at the link and I’ll also let you know we spent 5 hours there and enjoyed every minute!
Here is a “lighted dress” from the Museum.
On Monday night we found a jazz club at the top of an interesting stairway. The club is called La Clef de Voute and is a delight. It’s free tho you can purchase drinks and even small appetizers if you wish. We did the cheese plate and a bottle of red wine.
The workshops will be arriving soon at La Cascade so we decided to go away for a few days to Lyon. Lyon considers itself the gastronomic capital of France and with good reason. But first things first!
First, it is a beautiful large city with lots of energy. Many people liken it to Paris and some say they enjoy it more. Besides the new city, there are two “old towns” which are so charming. We stayed on the peninsula-called Le Presqu’ile- so convenient to all the places we wanted to go. This peninsula is created by the Saone River and the Rhone River converging at the southern tip of the peninsula.
There is the ancient Roman area 2000 years old with an existing Amphitheater and Odeon on the west side and the ancient medieval side on the north side of the peninsula. Both within metro or walking distance.
One of the first things we did Sunday market was go to the Sunday outdoor food market. Beautiful food and beautifully displayed. This market and the Paul Bocuse Food Hall (the inside market) are the main places where the chefs shop. This was the first time I have seen endive as it grows on a stalk!
Next up was a trip to the Textile Museum of Lyon. By the 18th century, silk production was the main industry of Lyon: 28,000 people were registered as silkworkers in 1788. Today there are still several silk artisans making incredible silk fabrics and wearables.
We had a beautiful dinner that night. Dan had a fantastic seafood extravaganza and I had a beautiful salad with frites and Mousse au chocolate!
After a rather long trip- our flight was cancelled the day before we left – we arrived in our beloved village. We took the bus from the Toulouse airport to Revel- a town about 5 min from our village- and our lovely neighbor picked us up.
It’s a lovey feeling to see the first glimpse of our street here. The fronts of the houses face the street and the back of the houses face the river Sor. Many of these houses were copper studios- ateliers du cuivre. Durfort has been making copperware since the Middle Ages and still produces today. The museum in our village has beautiful pieces from the middle ages on. The waterway down the middle of the street was used to quench the hot copper and other processes. Today we use it to chill wine!!!
A short post today as I am slowly settling in and getting the studio at La Cascade all organized and ready for the summer.
Can’t wait to share it all with those that are joining us this year!
Even tho it’s going to be 90 degrees this week, it feels like fall has arrived. The sunflowers fields are brown and ready to harvest. I get asked a lot from the La Cascade workshops participants what the endless sunflower fields are harvested for. The best that I have found out is seeds, sunflower oil (used extensively here like we use canola) and then finally, animal feed.
The fields are glorious while they last- usually from mid July til the end of August.
Most of the summer people have left the village but there is still much fun to be had. And many workshops still to come this fall at La Cascade.
Last weekend was the first annual Country Western Days here in the village. Strange but true! The Red Riders dance club came for two days and danced ceaselessly from 4 PM Sat til 1 AM (with live music at night (great) and all day Sunday. This group specialized in line dancing and was so amazing it made me want to join them next year. It’s a little disconcerting at first to hear country music sung with a French accent and also to see the sea of cowboy hats and boots. But ya gotta admire their passion for the genre.