Saturday, 25 September 2010


The Avignon festival was originally of drama, but these days it takes in dance and the visual arts. This year, the lucky artist was the Majorcan, Miquel Barceló. An artist of prodigious energy, he recently covered 300m2 of a chapel in the cathedral in Majorca with a terracotta mural. He was also commissioned to cover the interior dome of the United Nations building in Geneva with an immense mural.

The first you see of him is outside the Palace of the Popes. I was curious how the good folk of Avignon react to an elephant balanced on its trunk. While obviously a photo opportunity for tourists, it seems a place where young locals choose to meet. & I was delighted to find that the elephant has become a sort of patron deity of the local break-dance community.

Ban des Vendanges 2010

Ban=proclamation, as in 'bans of marriage'. Vendanges: an event of unimaginable significance, the harvest of grapes for wine. At the 'ban' the grapes are ceremonially pressed and the juice shared out. Then, of even greater significance, there's a free tasting of Cotes du Rhone wine for an hour. Free, but you are expected to buy a tasting glass, €2, tastefully engraved, and it feels polite to suggest some interest in the wine that is being poured into your glass. Just pretending to read the label on the bottle is sufficient. & there are stalls with great local food too. A real big picnic. & if you feel you are wandering around a little unsteadily... don't be alarmed, it's not you, it's everyone else.


Simba said...

The question is: Do they dance on the bridge?

We learnt this song in my French classes ages ago: "Sur le pont D'Avignon//On y danse, on y danse//Sur le pont D'Avignon//On y danse tous en rond//" etc..


Tangocommuter said...

You can if you want! The bridge is still there, and people dance on it for fun and photos.

The French sing the song too. Legend has it that originally the song was 'Sous le pont' - under the bridge, as under the arches was a place for all kinds of merriment.