MIAM

MIAM

Friday, 14 October 2016

Five on Friday - French Connections


Crikey I've had a hectic time of it lately, I've crossed the channel twice in the space of two weeks, driven halfway down France and back, worked four twelve hour shifts and attended a concert in between ..phew!


After purchasing my holiday home in France HERE, I needed to close it up before winter.  Essentially a caravan, it would be too chilly to use in colder months and must be prepared for winter. (Being a novice at this malarkey, I'm not au fait with all the proper terms yet but if anyone knows them....do speak up.)
Anyway, I digress, I took a stuffed car on the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen and benefited from a few hours shut eye in a cosy cabin.
 
 After a five hour drive I arrived exhausted at my new place, but before I could relax I had to unpack the car and organize the van.  An invitation to share an apero and nibbles with some neighbours whose acquaintance I'd made in the summer, was gratefully accepted and I soon learned all the important stuff...like the opening hours of the village bar.  The next day following my appointment at the insurance office, I zoomed around SuperU and returned 'home' to further explore the local village.

St Christophe du Ligneron is not the prettiest village in France, especially on a grey day in late September but with two boulangeries, a convenience store, tabac, pharmacie and resto... it suits me.   One thing I've noticed about small French villages is that they often have huge churches.
It makes you wonder how often the pews are filled these days?

All too soon I found myself back across the channel and looking forward to events of the following week....


*****



....the long awaited Jean-Michel Jarre concert!
The godfather of electronic music has entertained me on and off over the last four decades so when the chance arose to go and see him at Brighton I jumped at it.  The queue outside the venue snaked along the seafront but once doors were opened we were soon inside and remarking upon the dreadful soulless place that the Brighton Centre is!

There was no publicity of current or forthcoming events anywhere to be seen, no artwork.... just yards and yards of concrete and brick, it reminded me somewhat of the National Theatre on London's South Bank.
However the gig was fabulous and the visual effects were AMAZING!  The two hour show consisted mostly of JMJ's new album Electronica, alongside a couple of tracks from Oxygene & Equinoxe.  After the concert, instead of hanging around the stage door (oh yeah, for him I would!) I hurried home as hours later I'd be travelling across the channel once more.

*****

A weekend break in Lille had been arranged a few months back with a colleague. D had commented that she wanted to go but her husband wasn't keen, I jokingly replied that I'd go with her, she took me up on it and so we found ourselves at Ebbsfleet boarding the Eurostar.

 
  It was my first time on the cross-channel train and I expected it to stop before the entrance to the tunnel but we sped on through and the next stop was Calais. My experience of it was very efficient, door to door in two hours, most impressive.

*****

 Lille was lovely!  We took a tourist bus around the city checking out the sights en route which included Old Lille with it's stunning 16th and 17th century Flemish architecture, the birthplace of De Gaulle and the Palais des Beaux Arts, which houses the works of Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya and Toulouse-Lautrec and in France is second in size to the Louvre.

 The old stock exchange




The patisserie was to die for!



  Later in the trip we walked miles around the old city and for a taste of authentic Lille, visited the Marché de Wazemmes. This huge market located in an ethnically mixed working class area of the city sells just about anything you can think of.  D bought several items for her family and I spent the grand sum of €6 on a book about the history of the 2CV and a pair of orange opaque tights.


 





*****

Walking back to our hotel through the wonderful Gare de Lille Flandres


I happened upon this poster advertising Higelin's latest album.
 

Jacques Higelin was the first French artist that I discovered, in 1978.  Back then I was given a tape of his album Alertez Les Bébés and played it non-stop, I recently revisited it and found that I still love it just as much as I did in the 70's, here's my favourite track.  Enjoy.

Linking with Amy's Five on Friday 

28 comments:

  1. How wonderful to have your very own holiday home, idyllic lazy summers spring to mind.

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  2. I bet you can't wait for the winter to be over so you can start visiting your holiday home!

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  3. only just found your blog, I'll follow it from now :)

    Some fantastic photos, great to see someone else that is having an adventure abroad

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    1. Thank you Tricky....great name!

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  4. Look at those delicious cakes! Yum! Great to see the sun shining, doesn't it make a difference.

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  5. I'm exhausted (and envious) just reading about all your adventures. I'm going to show my ignorance and ask what is the 2CV? Very curious.

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    1. It is an iconic French car Patsy,they were in production from 1947 until the nineties with very little change to the design.
      There is a photo of a yellow 2CV in my sidebar, I owned two previously and I am very sentimental about them.

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    2. Oh it is that model of Citroen! The Finnish pet name for it is Rättisitikka meaning Rag Citroen :) My first boyfriend had one and also yellow :)

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  6. I'm green with envy! What a lovely thing to look forward to, your own little bolthole away from all the shite going on in the UK!
    Your photos are gorgeous. xxx

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    1. Thanks Vix. There's a lot of shite going on in France too, but in the depths of Vendée without a telly you're oblivious.

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  7. You lead a busy life - I became breathless only reading :) Didn't know Jacques Higelin before - sexy voice. I'm curious too about 2CV - shall look at your side bar!

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  8. Oh my, you've been busy. I've never been to Lille, but judging from your photos, I should really go some time. And I don't even have to cross the channel for it ... xxx

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  9. You have been busy. Lille looks beautiful and how exciting to have your own place in France, even if you have to shut it up for the winter.

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  10. Happy Weekend, after your busy days that I enjoyed reading about :) I have moved at least 15 times...but not from one country to another which I can imagine must be especially challenging.

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  11. What a busy time you've had. A summer caravan in France will be lovely during the summer months. Lille looks like a beautiful and interesting city to explore.

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  12. And breathe Fiona! Cor blimey you've been busy! So exciting about your new pad, can't wait to hear about all the adventures you have ahead. Can't beat a bit of SuperU! Some of them even have washing machines and dryers in the car parks. What a great idea.
    Lille comes as a bit of a surprise, my dad was nearly posted there and I remember it being described as in the industrial north. I don't see that! Xxx

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    1. As with all cities there are poorer areas and there's a lot of post war building. Loads of beggars on the streets around the tourist areas and I noticed the litter, compared to towns further south but maybe that's because I tend to visit more rural places. There's lots to like though. SuperU with dryers in the car park?

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  13. Wonderful! You've been busy.How brill that you have a European bolthole.....a sound option I reckon! You'll have such a great time.
    Love the photos and I know what you mean about he size of churches in small places. That's one lovely busker and some knock out cakes. Have to say, I'm feeling a lot of love for Europe in general lately and mostly wish I were in a Menorcan café reading a book right now!
    And JMJ has still got it!
    xxx

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  14. You must be on your knees after all that! But it's exciting busy, which is the best kind of busy :) Lille sounds great - know my other half's going there for a work thing sometime next year, so might just see if I can join him. Lovely photos of your travels and lovely track xx

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    1. Yes try to go, you'd love it I'm sure.

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  15. My goodness! You've been busy! Lille sounds wonderful and the market -- WOW! I could get lost in all the goodies! Thanks for the armchair travel. Have a great week!

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  16. I think that is called living life to the full! Ooh those cakes, fresh fruit and flowers, wonderful, not to mention the beautiful buildings.

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  17. You've been having so many delightful adventures...each one sounds wonderful!
    Mary Alice

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  18. Hello Fiona! How wonderful to have a holiday home to shore up for the winter! Love it!

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  19. Lille looks lovely. I think I'd enjoy the food!

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  20. Wow Fiona, you have been so busy! Loving your pictures and adventures in France.... Wonderful to have a home there to go to whenever you can! Thanks so much for your sweet comment on my blog, really appreciate it! Have a great weekend, lots of love from Mirjam.

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  21. You must be so tired! Travel really takes it out of you! Your photos are SO evocative!x

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