Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Markets in Southern France

From the small villages to the big cities, Market Days are big events in the south of France. We didn't get to many, but the offerings were diverse - from produce to poultry, from old books to organ meats and cheeses, from frilly tutus to sweet-smelling soaps and macaroons, from sausages of every description to octopus and other delicacies from the sea to panties, dresses and everything in between, you could probably find it at one market or another. Some markets were indoors, some out. Some were expensive and some were bargain basement. After purchasing peaches at a drive-by market on a highway, I later learned that the flat variety was the sweetest - like sugar in your mouth.
The sight of fish piled high and looking at me with dead eyes was at first startling, but I soon got over that after seeing whole hogs and chickens with heads poking out from under their breasts. These were, after all, things we don't see in the typical sanitized grocery stores in the US. Flies lighting on sausages and otherwise delicious looking pastries were off-putting. It was good for the diet. We only bought washable produce from that market. If it hadn't been for flies, I might have bought some of those colorful macaroons that France is known for. The only place I saw them was at an outdoor market near Narbonne.

Here are some photos.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Elmo!!!!! and Do You Think My Tractor's Sexy?

Elmo!!!!! Or Where's Jace?

Jace's favorite character is Elmo. This Christmas everyone remembered. It was like an Elmo Shower! He is not unhappy about it.

It was a beautiful day. Jamma (now called Meemaw by little Jace-man, making me feel old, ha!) and Pappy were babysitting. Pappy took his little man outside. A tractor ride seemed like a good idea.

Start at the top of the hill, under close supervision by a doting grandfather.
Roll down - what a thrill! Do you think my tractor's sexy?

Well, he ran it off the road, but at least he didn't hit anything. Learning to steer hasn't come into play yet.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Joan of Arc, Martyr and Heroine of France

I read an article in Louisville's Courier Journal this morning that reminded me I have a folder of photos from my French vacation of statues of Joan of Arc. The article told of celebrations around the world for her birthday, January 6th. It also said that the birthday was mythical (the date, not the woman) because birth records of peasants were not kept, and especially not of women peasants.

That Ste. Jeanne is revered throughout France is unarguable. Almost every church we visited had a statue honoring her. I took the photo above on a major boulevard in Toulouse. It doesn't do credit to the beautiful silvery sculpture. There is a beautiful golden statue of St. Joan in Paris, but I didn't get to Paris on this trip.

This statue is in a church in Cordes sur Ciel.

This statue against a yellow wall is in a small church in Villaries, a village near Gargas where we stayed.

This statue is in the ancient cathedral in Carcassonne.

This one is in Cathedrale Ste. Marie in Auch.

Joan of Arc dressed like a man with her hair cut short as a form of protection, allowing her passage through battlefields where her gender would have made her a victim. She was only 19 when England sentenced her to death, and her remains were burned. She would have been 600 years old. Though she died young, the legend of her bravery and faith lives on.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Doors and Windows in southern France

There were beautiful doors and windows on every street in France. I posted a blog about the hand doorknockers and the lettres slots earlier - I love them!
Here are some more doors and doorways from various cities and villages, most of which I snapped as we walked along the rues and avenues.

In Cordes sur Ciel - a village in the clouds.
Also in Cordes sur Ciel.
Another in Cordes sur Ciel.
Yet another in Cordes sur Ciel.

Another from Cordes sur Ciel. (Maybe I used opportunities to photograph doorways in this uphill bastide - chartered in 1222 - to catch my breath from all the climbing, but it was one of my favorite villages, and interesting doorways were everywhere.)

This one is in Albi - home of Toulouse Lautrec museum.

I think this one is in Auch. You can't tell from this photo, but the green door is one of a pair that closes this alcove off from the main shopping street we were on. I'm glad it was open so we could see the pretty little flower-bedecked stairway inside.

One in Toulouse.

A doorway near Basilica St. Sernin Cathedral in Toulouse. I love the floral and wrought-iron trim.

Another in Toulouse. Isn't it sweet?

Another door near Basilica St. Sernin in Toulouse. (French pronunciation is a very soft eliding S in second syllable...two-looze. In my mind I can hear the French people saying it. I wish I had recorded it to add here.)

Number 55. It's in Toulouse.

A graffiti embellished door in Toulouse near colleges. Toulouse is, I think, the second largest city in France after Paris. Lots of varied big city sights there.

In Toulouse.

This one is in Toulouse.

On a side road in Toulouse.


In Toulouse.

I think these Geraniums were in Moissac because I remember taking a photo of geraniums in a window over a narrow street there...but these may actually be in Toulouse. Toulouse has lots of wrought-iron trimmed windows and also lots of flower boxes.

Green doors. These were in a small village, the name of which escapes me, not too far from where we stayed 1/2 hour or so outside of Toulouse.

Number 11 - in Foix, near Niaux, in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains.

In Montauban.
In Carcassonne.

In Carcassonne.

I know I took many other photos of doorways during my travels. Some may be in other blog posts since my return from there in late August. Seeing all of these makes me want to return.

I have market day photos to post, probably next week. Then I'll have to travel somewhere again. I think that will finish my three weeks in France. : ( I love to travel, to see especially how other people live, which is why I prefer self-travel to packaged tours. I'm sure I miss a lot that tour guides can relay, but I'm not a history buff, so much of that is too much information for my fact-confusing brain. Memories are my souvenirs, and the photos remind me of them.