Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Gorbio, perché dans une vallée au-dessus de Menton et Roquebrune.

Jilly's pretty little village of Gorbio was a delight to discover.

Nestled not too high, but certainly high enough above the push and shove of Menton, Monaco and Roquebrune, it is a refuge from the Maseratis and Porsches, the high heels and the high rollers.
Here people know each other in the same way they have known since the 14th century.
I already knew Crystelle and that was not such a bad start.

Perched in a pretty little valley above the coastal bustle, there is much to occupy the tourist's curiosity.
The town square with its wonderful old elm tree, planted in 1713 has seen weddings and funerals, celebrations and daily activity.
Jilly has already captivated us, time and time again with her careful insights into daily life, here.

Now, we were seeing the "scene of the crime".
The old man whom she said was quite a "wag" was there and nothing seemed out of place.
Im sure you'll enjoy my newest friends, Les Gorbarins, as I did.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Conduisant vers Gorbio

Driving to Gorbio

The Autoroute to Menton and up the hill to Gorbio was all smooth sailing and as I mentioned yesterday, it was a very hot day in the South of France.

Unbeknown to me, Nathalie had kindly e-mailed Jilly that we were on the road and at what hour we could be expected.
We approached the Route de Gorbio to the sounds of the 'téléphone portable' singing away.
It was Jilly and her final directions.
French girls are just sooooo efficient and well-organized.

In Jilly's street we met Crystelle, 'la factrice' in her yellow La Poste mobile and then, voila, our hostess was at the corner to meet us.

We were now "on" the French Riviera !

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Cette chanson n'est pas encore finie, suite

With all Avignon's beauty resting in its original peace, the girls said goodbye and we quietly slipped below the Pope's pink parking place, au-dessous de son palais.

The silver car soberly made the decisions for itself and took us onto La Provençale, the Autoroute to Menton and Monaco, and as you can see from the bottom shot, France gave us a 34° day.

Jeudi a toujours été le jour le plus chanceux de la semaine !

Cette chanson n'est pas encore finie

The Pont d'Avignon although it has been partially swept away, - in fact several times, certainly swept me away.

Its history and its story are romantic and thrilling and that is what is lovely about France.

A traveller can be thrilled, he can be swept off his feet, not just by the rapidly running Rhône, but by France itself, the people, the country, the culture, the language and the sheer pleasure which he will experience there.

France is so certainly a magnet, a dance of life, and Avignon has just that power, that allure and fascination.

Here are the last photos of such long-lasting memories.
Tomorrow we are heading to the Riviera.

Merci Avignon et merci Nathalie. Ici, en Australie nous te donnerions un boomerang. Un boomerang revient toujours aux pieds de la personne qui le jette.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Ce n'est pas une chanson finie : suite

Ce n'est pas une chanson finie.

Le Pont Saint-Bénézet, Avignon,

«Commencé en 1177, par le pâtre Bénézet, originaire du Vivarais, qui se présenta à l'évêque d'Avignon, comme envoyé par Dieu, pour construire un pont sur le Rhône.
Sa construction payée avec des dons et des quêtes dura huit années.

Il mesurait environ 900 mètres de longueur sur 4 mètres de largeur et se composait de 19 arches légèrement exhaussées en ellipse. Il n'en reste que quatre aujourd'hui, dont une surmontée par la chapelle Saint-Nicolas (patron des Bateliers), on se trouvait le tombeau du fondateur, Saint Bénézet. Une chanson légendaire lui fit acquérir encore plus de renommée.»

The Pont d'Avignon, which is also known as the the Pont Saint-Bénézet, was begun in 1177, by the shepherd, Bénézet, a native of Vivarais, who presented himself to the bishop of Avignon, as having been sent by God, to construct a bridge across the Rhône.
Its construction, paid for by donations and collections, lasted eight years.
It measured about 900 metres in length by 4 metres wide and was made up of 19 arches "lightly raised in ellipse".
Today, only four of the arches remain, one of which is surmounted by the Chapel of St, Nicolas, the patron saint of Boatmen, where you can find the tomb of its founder, St Benezet.
And the legendary song made him acquire even more fame.

Jeudi a toujours été le jour le plus chanceux de la semaine !
Thus, 11th September began with the French sun promising more than an Australian bloke might expect.
The source of love and life jumped out at the day and the happy, lazy city of old Avignon stirred itself as if summer would last for ever.
Pourquoi pas ?

The tourists and the ants swarmed, - partout.
The Rhône rushed about its business and the Camargue was ever thankful.
People formed queues and bought tickets for things.
Not like in the XVe siècle. That was the mission for today.
To return to the 15 century, - if only for the time that a fleeting remembrance may be cherished, nurtured and kept safe.

Nathalie had made our stay a pleasure and today we were to dance.
And what better location than;- sur le pont d'Avignon.

Les Australiens font comm' ça
Et puis encore comm' ça
Sur le pont d'Avignon
L'on y danse tout en rond.

"Ce n'est pas une chanson "finie", ce qui peut expliquer le grand nombre de variantes qui existent.
Ainsi, tous les métiers de l'époque peuvent être repris."

Ce n'est pas une chanson finie.............