Sunday, July 31, 2016

Our Lady

Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Paris June 2016
Images, statues and shrines to Our Lady are everywhere in Notre-Dame. After all, it's her cathedral! This shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe was full of color and gilt. It felt vibrant and lively.
Her candles, though, flicker with subtle beauty and subdued hues of blue.

No matter how you see vivid color or muted splendor, you feel blessed by Our Lady's presence here.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

An Outing

My writing group has been intrigued with the Chateau at Cenevieres ever since I began sharing bits of the novel I'm writing which is set at the 13th century Chateau and along the Lot River. Each time I'd offer a chapter for critique, they'd have questions about the Chateau and its history, so Anita, our fearless leader, organized a guided tour for us today. While the Chateau is in my neighborhood, the rest of the group had to drive almost an hour to get there.
Inside the gates
Our tour was conducted by Patrick de Braquilanges, son of the current owners Monsieur and Madame Guy de Braquilanges. The Braquilanges family has owned the Chateau since 1793 when it was sold for the first and only time during its long history.
On the terrace
M. Braquilanges was a wealth of historical information and charmed us with his stories and his knowledge, as well as with the glass of wine he offered at the tour's end!
A Protestant chapel
One of the owners of the Chateau, Antoine Gourdon,  converted to the Protestant faith and built this Calvinist chapel in the early 1600's.

After our tour we drove to Calvignac for a picnic lunch, then visited three of the ExoPlanet Lot art installations there. We finished our outing with the cold drink at La Terrasse Romantique restaurant which overlooks the Lot River valley. Thanks, Mandy, for using your lovely French to persuade the proprietor to seat us! And thanks, Anita, for arranging a great day out! I think we have the best writing group in the world.

Here's a drone's eye view of the Chateau. It couldn't be lovelier...

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cooler Spaces

The afternoon was hot; there wasn't a breath of air moving in the courtyard. It felt good to walk down the steps into the cool caves beneath the Chateau. One cave showcased an exhibit of wood sculptures.
Jade conferring with the sculptor
The other cave was set up for a shadow puppet performance.

We were entertained in the cool darkness by a delightful story of wild animals, a magic tortoise, a talking tree and a bumbling hero who discovers his true love atop a mountain.
Simple, timeless.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Into the Ruins

Our guide for the visit to the Chateau ruins met us at the steps and invited us to follow him back in time. At each stop we were entertained with drama, melodrama and song.

The crowd sat enthralled by the unfolding story of love and violence....
Even if you didn't understand French, it wasn't difficult to tell this young woman wasn't happy with the events of the day.
Don't jump!
You might land on Evelyn's house.
The beloved comes to the rescue.
They fight.
The villain gets his just reward!
And they all lived happily ever after!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Games with a Twist

Let's have a cold beer at the bar to cool off a bit before we try skull bowling. The bowling balls are shrunken heads!
Not sure what kind of kids' game this is, but it looks kind of sinister.
How about a go at knock over the monster?
Two down, three to go!
I've never seen a foosball table quite like this one.
A very creepy looking opponent! Does he resemble Johnny Depp to you?

These kids' games are 'way too scary for me. Let's go look at the Chateau ruins instead.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Open Doors

Yesterday was 'portes ouvertes' or open doors at the Chateau. From this spectator's point of view, it was a smashing success! The doors opened at 3 PM and there was a steady stream of visitors all afternoon and evening. I can't remember a time when I've enjoyed fun and games and music more!
Open doors at the Chateau was this young woman's brilliant idea. Forming an association of 'friends of the Chateau, Jade has set in motion events to restore and preserve Cadrieu's 'castle.' She and her friends did a magnificent job welcoming visitors and entertaining them with both the Chateau of old and today's version of life in the castle.
A stage with sound and lights was set up at one end of the Chateau's courtyard.
The program of events was posted just inside the gates.
Games, tables and the bar were set up at the opposite end of the courtyard. Let's head towards the bar first. Meet me there tomorrow!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Getting Ready

Le Chateau de Cadrieu

Things are buzzing at my neighbor's house! The Chateau will have its first-ever 'open doors' event next Saturday starting at 3 PM. Jade and her friends ( lots of them by the number of vehicles) have been working hard getting things organized. I think there is a lot more work for the week ahead. While I don't know everything that will be on offer, I do know that my singing group has been invited to sing along with another local chorale group. We'll perform a few eastern European songs and then combine with the other group to sing some French renaissance songs. It should be fun, and I'll finally get a peek inside this fascinating old building. Stay tuned for more....