My workshop at La Cascade arrives in less than two weeks. I’m very excited to share the week with 10 adventurous women! Dan and I took a brief jaunt to Andorra, for a quick little getaway before the workshop.
Andorra is located high in the Pyrenees and is bordered by Spain and France. It’s about a 3 hour drive from us. Beautiful scenery- astounding views of the mountains, speckled with wild flowers and horses and cows grazing high on the hills. The last hour of the drive is a long switch-backed climb up hill. Andorra la Velle- where we stayed- is the highest capital city in Europe! The official language is Catalan and in 2013 it had the highest life expectancy of 81 years!
The main reason we went was for a performance by Cirque du Soleil. I found the event on the internet and it looked so exciting and the tickets ranged from FREE to 18E seats! Amazing- considering how expensive Cirque is in the US. So off we went. I also highly recommend the inexpensive and beautiful hotel we stayed at- Hotel Isard.
This new production is called Stelar. This is the fifth summer that Cirque has had a month long residency high in the Pyrenees Mountains mountains. Taking pics was forbidden at the event so I don’t have any of mine to share. Suffice to say it was awesome- a highlight of the summer.
We’ll take a little side trip from France as I had to make a quick two-day business trip to London where they were setting record heat. I have to admit the weather was miserable as was my hotel – it did not have AC. The hotel itself was cute and they have BIG heaters for winter stays, but just a tiny little fan (which did nothing).
However I did have a few hours to do something fun and chose to go see the Balenciaga exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum- It was WONDERFUL. Go HERE to see some highlights. I’ll share my pictures here too.
During the summer in France (and really all the other seasons too) France makes cultural events available to ALL. Most events are free or very nominal and we have seen the best theater, dance and music here.
We recently had the pleasure of going to see an amazing performance of The Butors. It is one of the best things I have ever seen. A combination of theater ,mime and circus.
We drove about a half an hour to the little village Lautrec where Toulouse Lautrec’s family owned a large manor house. Set up outside the village walls were benches and a ferris wheel type construction.
Soon a strange man wandered on the set, followed by a wild woman and the play started. Delightful, laugh out loud funny, poignant, wonderful music and Oh that Ferris wheel- the courtship that ensued was hysterical. I ask you to enjoy the VIDEO on their website along with my pictures!
I’ve been cooking alot lately as the food here is so seductive. The stalls at the Revel market are filled with fresh fruits and veggies and even the supermarkets inspire me to try new recipes. I also buy a couple French food magazines- not only for the beautiful pictures and relatively easy recipes- but it’s a way for me to learn new French words- like bouillir- to boil- and tranche- slice- and potiron- pumpkin.
Tarts are my thing so far this summer. You can buy prepared crusts that are outstanding! Different ones for sweet tarts, savory tarts, pizzas, puff pastry and filo. They are so inexpensive and delicious. You just roll out and place in one of the large French-style tart pans and fill with your imagination.
About three minutes away (by car) is our neighbor village Soreze– a charming medieval village plentiful with photo-ops at every turn. Many of the houses are half- timbered with the second floor protruding over the first floor. One explanation for this was that taxes were based on the square footage of the ground floor- hence more space was gotten by building the upper floors “out”.
The cultural center in Soreze is the The Abbey-école. This monumental building has a history dating back to 754 AD with the founding of a benedictine abbey. In later years it served as a military boarding school and as a center for education until it closed in 1991
At that time it was transformed into the cultural hub of Soreze. The former stables became individual art and book shops. The former school now houses a lovely hotel and restaurant and most notably- The Dom Robert Tapestry Museum. I cannot speak more highly of this treasure of a museum so close to us!