France highlights

I recently spent two weeks in France, partly in Paris and partly in a town of 800 in the Poitou-Charentes region.

Paris has been written about so extensively elsewhere that I could hardly add more insight, so it will suffice to say that I enjoyed it immensely, and that the only surprise was that the Parisians themselves were not more fashionable (Londoners are still the street fashion champions, in my opinion.) Here is a photo taken from the {{popup mk_ferriswheel.jpg accordion 400×300}}Ferris wheel near the Tuileries gardens, as part of my attempt to include Ferris wheels as content on this blog as often as possible.

As for the art festival in the tiny town of Chizé, my week there passed in a dream-like way, where it felt as though we had been airdropped in to participate in some kind of Survivor-like arrangement, and that surely camera crews would pop up at any moment to register our resilience in the face of changing schedules, failing tech, idiosyncratic shop hours, precarious availability of fresh vegetables, and tolerance of {{popup accordion.jpg accordion 400×300}}constant accordion music.

Certainly the life of this festival was provided by a group called “Arts et Toits”, who were basically hippie squatters that {{popup artsettoits.jpg former boulangerie 400×300}}took over a building in the centre of town. Their antics were consistently entertaining, whether it was creating a {{popup ball.jpg giant ball 400×300}}giant ball to obstruct roads in different areas of town, or creating a web of {{popup tapeweb.jpg web 400×300}}packing tape that trapped {{popup tapeweb2.jpg help 400×300}}innocent bystanders. Come to think of it, a lot of their tricks relied on obstructing pathways. They also made crepes and ran a bar, and for this their presence was also much appreciated.

I was at my happiest when sitting next to a {{popup mk_wired.jpg wired 400×300}}big pile of cables that happened to have The Internet running through them, photographic hippie antics, or getting to know the people in town for the festival.

The hardest part was getting out of town, since no bus or train goes there. Eventually two ladies in matching hats driving a big van agreed to drive to Niort, the closest town that has a rail station, and I was soon enroute to Paris.