10 mars 2015

Chenonceau: Ray Largan: 11 mars 2015

Another of our seasoned travellers, Ray returns to share his love of history and location through his colourful presentation on the lovely chateau of Chenonceau in the Loire valley. 

He promises equally colourful tales of romance and intrigue!

03 février 2015

Deux roues, deux langues: Drew MILLAR: 11 février

Our next talk, on 11 February, is a personal account of a motorbike journey made by Cercle member, Drew Millar.

It was a journey that took him from here to France and on to Morocco.  Drew explains that the trip that had been intended to last a couple of weeks took considerably longer.....

Here's how he puts it himself:

At 8 o’clock on the 20th September 2008 I got onto a very scruffy and clumsily overloaded Yamaha xt600e trail bike and my wife said ‘be serious now – where are you going and how long will you be?’
My perfectly honest reply was ‘I don’t where I’m going but I’ll be at least a fortnight.’

Ruth next saw me nearly two months later, I was a lot slimmer, I spoke confident (if ungrammatical) French and my motorbike had sand from the Sahara in every nook and cranny’

It sounds a fascinating story, in which as well as presenting pictures from along the route, Drew be sharing anecdotes in relation to the French language. 

A bientôt ! Bonne route !

09 janvier 2015

Paris sera toujours Paris

Our annual bal musette to celebrate La fête des rois started in sad and sombre mood.
This was January 7, the day that the offices of #CharlieHebdo in Paris were attacked resulting in several deaths.
Some at our gathering had not heard the news until their arrival, and we're anxious then to hear updates and share thoughts.  What to say? What to do?

The answers to both these questions came from France's own musical tradition of the chanson. A recent purchase and played several times over the previous days was an album recommended by a French friend - Paris by Zaz. Her songs are upbeat interpretations of some of France's best-loved standards.  One composed in 1939 and performed then at a much slower pace by Maurice Chevalier spoke of Parisian resilience at another dark time in the life of the City of Light. It was Paris sera toujours Paris.

One verse seemed entirely appropriate for the occasion and was shared with those present. It goes:

Paris sera toujours Paris ! 
 La plus belle ville du monde
 Malgré l'obscurité profonde
 Son éclat ne peut être assombri
 Paris sera toujours Paris 
 Plus on réduit son éclairage 
 Plus on voit briller son courage
Sa bonne humeur et son esprit
 Paris sera toujours Paris.

Then our large gathering, like so many others in France at present, went quiet for a minute's silence.

Paris sera toujours Paris.