Monday, September 21, 2009

Des journées européenes du patrimoine

Everyone waits for the third weekend in September. There are discussions about where one will go. The streets fill on that Saturday and Sunday. The event? Many (I know, I was going to say "all", but as we know there are always exceptions!) of the public buildings are open free or at reduced cost to enter. On Friday night we talked with Amy and Matt's friend at dinner. Serge listed so many places to visit that it will take us the next couple of years.

Saturday morning we "had" to go to the market, if for no other reason than to have coffee and a treat. Yes, we visited Savarin and here are those delicacies. YUM!

That afternoon we visited the duchy in the neighboring village of Uzés. It played an important role in France. It is the first duchy and still is the residence of the Duke, who we happened to talk with upon entering. This duke was very important in the time of the kings. He was the one who announced, "The king is dead, long live the king." That is an important role. The most important member of the family to me was Anne du Mortenmart who was the first woman in France to get a driver's license and was later fined for speeding at 15 kilometers per hour. (Now how did they record that speed?)

The hike, no climb, no tortuous accent to the top of the tower was rewarded by an amazing view of the city. What fun it was to see from the sky places we had only known from the ground. The decent was again an adventure as two people could not pass each other on the stairs without one stepping into one of the three outlets on the way up or down.

Saturday evening a symphony concert was held at La Maison de la Pierre, house of stone, in our village. The Avignon symphony, conducted by American, Jonathon Schiffman, was wonderful and there was standing room only.

Sunday found us on the way to Orange. It is about 45 minutes north of us and an early Roman city. The Romans must have "roamed" this entire area as our village has the quarries for the Pont du Gard built in 19 AD and Orange has the most amazing theater, Théâtre Antique d'Orange built in the first centuryAD. How? I'll never know. The stage is immense. Plays were preformed using masks for different characters. One actor may play up to five roles in a play. Hand gestures were very important and the fold of the clothes meant different things. The actors were from the very lowest class, however, everyone attended these spectacles. Today, the theater is still used, especially for the opera season. I can't wait to go.

The entrance fee to each of these disappeared for the weekend.

Last week I read that this will be happening in the US next Saturday lead by the Smithsonian Magazine. Check this website for information on your town. There are a lot of free entries to amazing places and parks. Museum Day and National Public Lands Day

If you are in Europe the third weekend of September, remember to celebrate by visiting one of these or hundreds of other attractions.

Á bientôt,

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