HEATHERMATTHEW

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Le Gîte

 View from the living room window

View from the living room window

Its Monday morning and the weekly market has set up radiating out from the centre of town near the church, filling the streets with a colourful array of awnings, food stalls, textiles, music and dogs.

We negotiated our way through the narrow streets filled with chatter and laughter hauling our backpacks and accumulated other possessions up the two flights of stairs to our new home at Le Gîte, an apartment provided for the duration of my residency.

The first thing you do in any French house is throw open the shutters to look at the view. Superb! In front of us the bell tower of the two central churches, behind the mountains and river. It is so hot in summer that all window shutters are closed up during the day to keep the houses cool, often giving the impression that the streets are deserted and houses abandoned. Like anywhere in the Mediterranean, the streets are alive with people in the mornings and the evenings. The middle of the day is for the main meal often eaten under the trees or in shady restaurants.

Walking through the streets gives a sense of the daily life of a town. There is a très chic laundrette, where a seamstress creates garments, does alterations and conducts her business alongside the industrial washing and drying machines. There are numerous small bars, where men sit outside smoke, drink and watch the world go by. There is a small supermarket at the end of town where all the vegetables and fruit are put in paper bags and everyone brings their own shopping bag or basket. Numerous pottery and artisan shops as well as a health food shop and other delights yet to be discovered. No chocolaterie though. C’est dommage!

Best of all are the numerous fountains in the town. There is one called la fontaine d'amour (the fountain of love). It has the best, clearest spring water where everyone takes their bottles to fill up. So many sounds to record; water, birdsong, cicadas and church bells. I’d better get started.

 Market stalls fill the streets

Market stalls fill the streets

This project was assisted by a grant from Create NSW, an agency of the New South WalesGovernment. The NSW Artists' Grant is administered by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA).

 

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