Sunday, September 30, 2007

A tale of two racisms

I just came across this article from the Gulf Times. I'm sure the same material is floating around elsewhere on Internet.

You said it, brother! "Insidious racism in France..." is an excellent way of putting it.

My daughters have spent hours at school studying American slavery, Rosa Parks and the March on Washington. Laudable topics all, but the French school curriculum somehow doesn't devote much time to the current racial situation in the USA. And I do feel the USA has progressed enormously in racial equality in the past 40 years.

Has France? And, for that matter, where is the subject of "racism in France" in the school curriculum? I must have missed it while I was helping my kids recite the key dates in the American civil rights movement...

Sometimes it's time to look in your own backyard...n'est-ce pas?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Aveyron in the Press

Or just an excuse to repost -- approximately one year later -- one of my favorite photos of the Millau viaduct!

This article, all the way from New Zealand, has a pretty cool photo of it too...

(Photo courtesy of Thierry Jouanneteau.)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Fascinating Find

Last week I went to the annual Salon de la Carte Postale in Rodez. I didn't get into pawing through thousands of old postcards -- although I can see why people do. But I did purchase a number of fascinating documents that provide intriguing glimpses into Aveyron over the last decades.

As a food blogger, how could I resist this issue of La France à Table from 1971, featuring the Aveyron department? I had never seen a copy of this magazine, but it seems to be quite a collectors' item.

I tried to find some information about the magazine: its history, how long it was published, how popular it was. But my (quick, I admit) Internet search only came up with numerous efforts to sell back issues...

As so often when I am confronted with printed vestiges of the past, I felt strange and nostalgic reading the magazine's black and white pages. The issue was printed three years after Mai '68, but it appeared so old-fashioned that, had I opened a random page, I would have guessed it was from the forties.

Another intriguing observation: ALL of the ads were for a certain type of product.

Can you guess what?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Every Day's like an Open Door!

The weather has been so absolutely glorious the past few weeks that I have felt like singing on my way to work...

That rhythm of town
Starts calling me down
It's like a message from high above
Oh, oh, oh
Pulling me out to the smiles and the streets that I love
Good morning Bourran
Every day's like an open door!

Okay, this all probably sounds quite silly. But like Baltimore, (now if you haven't seen Hairspray, you must, but in English) Bourran, or the New Rodez, is much maligned. In fact, it seems to be quite fashionable to criticize our little La Défense:

"C'est une horreur!"
"Ils l'ont raté!"
"Moi, je n'y mets jamais les pieds!"

But Bourran is growing. And it is growing on me.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

My Own Front Yard

I really need to get out and about more over the weekends, and this is one of my resolutions for the new school year. Sometimes I feel like life in Aveyron is passing me by.

I did go to an event in Rodez this morning, but yesterday I reveled in our beautiful weather and enjoyed one whole day at home.

Can you blame me?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Aveyron in the Press

I'm finally back in France and on my own computer after 7 weeks in the USA and a much-needed break from blogging.

It may still take me a few days to absorb the fact that I'm in Aveyron again, so for the moment I'll content myself with sharing a few references to my home département from the media.

I always get a little thrill when I see articles about Aveyron in the French press, and I invariably buy the magazine. The summer issue of vmf (Vieilles Maisons Françaises) presents a 14-part feature about homes and architecture in Le Rouergue, which is the former region of France that corresponds to the current département de l'Aveyron. I plan to savor it page by page.

My cup runneth over in French and English, because Ken of Living the Life in Saint-Aignan was kind enough to send me a link to "Introducing Aveyron", recently published in Travel and Leisure.

I am of course terribly jealous of the person who wrote it, and I must say she did an excellent job of portraying the area. Here's a little extract:

"Can so much of it be a secret—even from the French? Almost forgotten for centuries, this sparsely populated département in the south of France stretches over a wildly varied landscape of medieval villages, adventurous terrain, and fairy tale– worthy hotels."

(Marcelle Clements)

Ms. Clements also justifies the title of my blog quite nicely:

"This is la France profonde, the heartland, which Parisians seldom visit and cannot fathom, where there is some of the world's most stunning, geologically diverse countryside—much of it unspoiled."

I couldn't have said it better. I certainly haven't yet. But maybe someday I will.