Especially if you’re in France! May starts with a Bank Holiday and there are several more to follow. On May 1st there is the celebration of not only Labour Day (La Fête du Travail) but also La Fête du Muguet. This translates as Lily of the Valley Day.
I have written about these celebrations before!
The next Bank Holiday takes place on the 8th May and is to commemorate the end of World War II in France. It is known as ‘La Fête de la Victoire’ and is celebrated with parades and religious ceremonies. Traditionally, the French president lays a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and lights the flame at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. I was quite surprised that our local supermarket had a ‘special’ opening on that day.
The final Bank Holiday is on the 25th May; Ascension Day which falls on a Thursday. As a result, many people take a day of their annual leave on the Friday to be able to take a four-day weekend. This is known as a ‘pont’ or a bridge. It is quite usual to hear the phrase ‘faire le pont’.
And, then there’s Eurovision! No Bank Holiday for this, of course, but all part of the May madness. I did watch it when we were here last year as I wanted to see what it would be like without Graham Norton. This year I managed to
avoid miss the contest somehow. I must admit that I do like the French entry which came twelfth. It’s by a singer called Alma and the title is ‘Requiem’ . This video of the song is worth watching for the background shots of Paris:
Are you a Eurovision fan? I’d love to know…
Not necessarily three items that one might expect to see in the same phrase! All will become clear…
I have written before about the organisation AVF which welcomes new arrivals to France; all nationalities and all ages.
Last month we were invited to attend the AVF welcome meeting in Castelnaudary. We didn’t know what to expect but it turned out to be a really fun gathering. A welcome speech was given by the mayor (not too long…!) and was followed by a delightful musical interlude. This was provided by a local orchestra made up – mainly – by local school children. I couldn’t help noticing that all the pieces they played were English, including the Beatles and Adele!
After the music, all newcomers were presented with a gift bag containing a Castelnaudary mug, among other items. A very nice touch, I thought.
And the clown? Well, there were people of all ages, including children, and the clown provided entertainment while everyone was waiting for the main event to start. His speciality was making models out of balloons and he made some of the older guests some amazing hats. If only I’d taken some pictures…
The evening finished with a most welcome apéritif and general mingling! Those of us who were new to Castelnaudary had a badge to wear, so that other long term residents would make a point of welcoming us which they certainly did.
I was so pleased to see several people that we knew already, including some of my English conversation students. It really made us feel part of the community, especially now that we are on ‘kissing terms’ when we meet up with them!
In fact, I wrote a previous blog post about kissing -or not – when greeting people in France:
What do you think?
Fireworks in Castenaudary to celebrate the quatorze juillet…We won’t be watching them today but we may be next year as we are in the process of buying a house there.Watch this space!
But what are the 14th July celebrations all about? What is Bastille day?
Here is a tongue-in-cheek video clip that might clarify the reasons for the celebrations!
In terms of what is happening in the UK and the world, in general, this week has not got better.
However, if there is one thing guaranteed to cheer me up, it is music. I have a very eclectic taste and my sons keep me up to date with some of the more recent trends.
I found myself watching Glastonbury highlights (still on my bucket list to actually get to the festival) when I came across ‘Christine and the Queens’. This is the stage name for the French singer songwriter: Héloïse Letissier. Her work combines music, performance, art videos, drawings and photography and I find her performance mesmerising.
Unfortunately, I missed her recent appearance on the Graham Norton show but here’s the link:
I think she’s amazing and so are the dancing and choreography!
What do you think?
I’m not a massive Eurovision fan; some years I have watched the contest and others I haven’t. I’ve even held the occasional Eurovision party! However, I thought it would be interesting to watch Eurovision while in France to get a different perspective on the contest.
Marianne James and Stéphane Bern were the French commentators. I’m sure they’re very good in their own way but I did miss the commentary of Graham Norton…
France’s 2016 Eurovision entry was sung by Amir, a 31-year-old Franco-Israeli singer. He achieved a respectable sixth place in the musical extravaganza. His song ‘J’ai cherché’ contained lyrics in both French and English, and I rather enjoyed it.
I won’t comment on the disappointing results of the U.K. However, I did feel sorry for the chirpy duo: Joe and Jake or Jim and Jon or …. I don’t think that their song or performance merited the 24 out of 26 position. But I do have to ask: when did Australia become part of Europe? I must confess to being rather a light weight when it came to watching the whole of the contest. I must have fallen asleep at some point because Australia were in the lead when I dropped off but when I eventually woke up, Ukraine had been crowned winners!!
Just in case you didn’t see the French entry, here’s your chance:
Are you a Eurovision fan? What did you think of the French entry? I’d love to know your thoughts.
The definition of an ear worm reads as follows: ‘a catchy song or tune that runs continually through someone’s mind.’
I have a new French ear worm: “La Tribu de Dana”. It is a 1998 song recorded by the French hip hop band Manau. It was, apparently,a huge success.
Having listened to the song far too many times for my own good, I thought I would share this tune:
If you would like to sing along (!) here is a clip with the lyrics:
Strangely, while listening to this song, I was reminded of something I’d heard in the dim and distant past: Alan Stivell’s “Tri Martolod”.
Is it just me or does anyone else find this music mesmerising? Or can you suggest another French song that is an ear worm?
And just in case you want to find out more:
Are you a fan of Woody Allen films? I loved Annie Hall, Blue Jasmine and Midnight in Paris but there are others that I haven’t enjoyed so much.
Woody Allen won a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award for Midnight in Paris but for me it’s all about the location as it’s a wonderful homage to Paris.
This clip says it all… And the accompanying music is beautiful.
Have you seen this film? What did you think? I’d love to know!