Summertime, and the living is busy…

Summer is on the way, and in Saint-Chinian that means that there will be lots going on!!  We started with the festival Jazz au Cloitre last Wednesday and there are three more concerts: tonight, tomorrow and Sunday!

Hot on the heels of Jazz au Cloitre is the Fete de la Musique, which is a Europe-wide event, taking place on June 21.  I wrote about the Fete de la Musique back in 2014 – you can find the article here.

Throughout July and August, there are lots of things going on in Saint-Chinian: night markets are held each Tuesday evening…

… open-air cinema screenings are programmed for Wednesdays…

… there are free concerts in the cloister gardens each Thursday, and on Fridays there are circus shows, also in the cloister gardens!

The Bastille Day celebrations are always worth a visit to France!  In Saint-Chinian the party is held over two days – on July 13 and 14, with big fireworks on July 14, followed by a concert on the main square.

A week after Bastille day, on July 21, the main square in Saint-Chinian will be filled with rows of stalls for the annual Fete du Cru, the winemakers’ festival, where you can taste all kinds of Saint-Chinian wines!

The Festival MusiSc takes place this year from July 22 to 28 – you can find the full programme here.

For wine lovers, the cooperative winery in Saint-Chinian will be unveiling a new painting on the walls of one of the wine tanks in the winery on July 26.  I’ve written about the Art en Cave project here.  A special cuvee, with a reproduction of the new painting on the bottle label will also be available that day!

On August 22, there’s more music with a concert by the Sinfonietta Bardou in the parish church of Saint-Chinian.  A programme can be found via this link.

If you are tempted to visit any of these events in Saint-Chinian, do let me know!  And if you are planning a holiday to the area, please have a look at www.midihideaways.com .

I hope you’ll understand that I’ll be hard pressed to write blog posts with so much going on.  So I’ll be taking a little break for the summer months, and I will be back with more stories in the fall.  In the meantime, I’ll be taking many photographs and will gather new material for new posts!!

I hope you’ll have a great summer too!

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Summer nights …

… are perfect for spending at a concert or a show in the open air.  I recently visited a few such events and want to share two with you.  The first was a show called “Off”, which was performed in the village of Causses-et-Veyran.  Last year, that village hosted another spectacle, which I wrote about here.

This year’s offering was a mixture of mime and acrobatics, and it was incredibly touching.  But before I get started on the show, I have to tell you a little about the food.  I’d gone to Causses-et-Veyran with friends and we had left ourselves plenty of time for a bite or two to eat.  Tables and chairs had been set up under the trees, the tables decked out with brightly coloured paper table cloths.  There were three stands: La Carriole Gourmande was selling savoury tarts and quiches, the stand next door was offering grilled duck & fries, and the Caravane cafe had all kinds of drinks, with or without caffeine.

We went for quiches from the Carriole Gourmande, followed by pain perdu (French toast or eggy bread) with caramelised apples.   The children also had a crepe, and the adults shared a couple of the yummy looking chocolate cakes – they tasted as good as they looked :).

As night fell, more and more spectators began to assemble, ready to take their seats.  The stage was very simply set:  a trampoline, an upturned plastic dustbin, and what looked like a metal locker, lying on its side.

When the seats began to fill up, the atmosphere took on something very special, something that felt so much like summer!

P1110777The show “Off” was inspired by the book “The man who mistook his wife for a hat” by Oliver Sacks.  The personalities on stage all have one thing in common:  they all need to express themselves through speaking, but none of them is able to do so.  Instead, they communicate their frustrations and emotions through physical expression and movement.

The show was very intense, thought-provoking and touching.  I took a video of some of it for you (e-mail subscribers, please visit the blog website to watch the video):

The still pictures from the evening are unfortunately not all that great, because of the low light levels and the capabilities of my camera, but I hope they will give you a little flavour.

At the end of the show, the five actors were very warmly applauded;  they looked exhausted, but ever so happy, and they had every reason to be.

P1110816P.S.  in case you are wondering, the “golden” effect on the trampoline is achieved with….. corn flakes!!

Summer wouldn’t be summer for me without a visit to Chateau de Mus, near Murviel les Beziers, for one of their concert evenings.  The concerts are part of the Festival Les Nuits de la Terrasse et del Catet, which was taking place for the 14th time this year.

Chateau de Mus is a very romantic location,  and there has been a stronghold on the site since at least 800 BC.  The current Chateau was built in 1848, in the Renaissance style, and it is surrounded by a mature park with ancient cedar and pine trees.

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The beautiful facade of the Chateau is a perfect backdrop for a concert stage, and the park is absolutely perfect for a picnic!

Tables and chairs had been dotted about the park, a little away from the seating area in front of the stage.  I had arranged to meet a number of friends, and everyone brought something to share and eat.

We got there quite early, so “bagged” a great table – as you can see, it got quite busy later on!

For those who had not brought their own picnics, there were a variety of food stalls  to choose from.  We managed very well without the stalls, and in the course of the evening we ate our way pretty much through everything we had brought :).  Sorry, no food pictures this time, it all got a little out of hand 😀 !

The concert that evening was in two parts:  first up was Harold Lopez Nussa on piano and keyboard with his Trio of musicians:

 

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This performance was followed, after a brief interval, by the Shai Maestro Trio:

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The evening was perfect, the music very good, the food and company fantastic!!  What more could one ask for?