Thursday, March 29, 2007

Polnareff Concert

Aveyron does have a lot of cultural opportunities, but it wasn't on the list for Michel Polnareff's concert tour. That didn't stop my family from crossing snowy mountain passes on a school night last week to see him play in the Zénith concert hall in Clermont-Ferrand -- a two-hour drive from our house.

If you're interested, I've done a major post on it next door at And So Forth.

But you may not be. Most of our friends were underwhelmed by our decision to go. It's all a matter of taste...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco...

(Click on photo to enlarge) least it was fooling around, in a way. The French Foreign Legion was in Rodez last week, carrying out a military exercise entitled "Etex 2007." Their highly visible presence caused consternation to some, and intrigued many.

The scenario was to liberate Rodez from a possible takeover by "rebel forces." I'm not quite sure who those rebel forces might be in Aveyron, but obviously someone somewhere believes you can never be too careful.

Life during wartime...???

(Photos courtesy of photographer par excellence Thomas Smith-Vaniz. Check out his Postcards from the Aveyron.)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

On the way to school, I saw....

(Click on photo to enlarge -- it's worth it!)

Ken of Living the Life in St. Aignan just blogged about a list of reasons "Why we travel to France" that he had found on a forum.

Some aspects of France will never make the list. But doesn't this photo still have a certain je-ne-sais-quoi?

(Photo taken in the Corrèze department by Thierry Jouanneteau.)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Culture is Alive and Well in Aveyron

It is de bon ton for newcomers to Rodez, especially those arriving from big cities, to relentlessly criticize the lack of cultural offerings in the area. "There's nothing to do," they complain. "There's just no culture."

What do I say to these people? "YOU ARE WRONG!" Or as a friend of mine put it: "If there isn't much to do, I don't know why I can't find the time to do even a quarter of it."

Sure, if you want to listen to jazz every night or go to the opera all year, Rodez may be a disappointment. But if you're open-minded about what you see and flexible with dates, you will find plenty to do in and around Rodez. Many pop and rock stars make their way to Aveyron. In the fall, my daughters and I saw Corneille at ACA in Onet-le Château, and last year we were bowled over by Cali at Rodez's "Amphithéâtre." We were even able to catch Renaud a few years back.

Saturday we went to see a fun yet emotional show by Pierre Perret (lower left above) celebrating the 50th anniversary of his singing career. And we can't wait to see Le Quatuor (lower right above) for the second time in two years.

In the meantime, the cinema selection is apparently better than in Albi -- at least that's what I've heard, comments are welcome! -- and as you can see from the poster-covered door above left, at any given time, there are numerous and varied events to go to. We miss out on so much...

One final word: going out in Rodez is also easy: no parking problems, no traffic jams, no unspoken dress codes. Just come as you are, and have a great time!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Rodez Hospital, the New

If you've been following my series about the closing of the old Combarel hospital in Rodez, you may be wondering what the new hospital looks like. I may still have been wondering myself if my daughter hadn't had a surprise appendectomy performed there in early January.

Photos weren't the first thing on our minds during her four-day stay, but my husband and I did manage to take a few. Above you can see l'hôpital du XXIme siècle, as it has been called in the press, by night-- this could be the only such photo on Internet at the moment, so make sure to take a close look!

Below is the view FROM the new hospital site -- the old hospital was located just below the cathedral on the right:

A lengthy walkway leads to the hospital entrance, giving people something to complain about -- how quickly they forget that it was practically impossible to park anywhere near the old site!

Once inside, you know you're not in Kansas anymore:

Those who find the new site "cold," though, should spend some time in the new "family rooms" -- lounges where family members weary of spending hours in the actual hospital rooms can take a break, read a magazine, or play games. I spent a few hours there correcting papers while my daughter was resting and found the atmosphere most relaxing:

Old or new, funky or ultra-modern, downtown or in the new Bourran business area, one thing hasn't changed: the kindness and skills of the Rodez hospital staff. I thank them for all of the support they've given our family during a few difficult times, and wish them luck as they adjust to their new surroundings.