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NewsletterAugust 2010

What is it?

It’s a Séchoir à maïs (corn dryer) in the Bresse-Bourgogne region of France. I’m sure you can find these in other regions but the Bresse-Bourgogne is the only place I’ve seen a Séchoir à maïs like this.
I have another riddle – do you know your breed of cow? It’s a video I made of five different breeds of cows. Can you name them?

(More) American Culture in the French Alps

There are a lot of things I thought I’d see in France. An old west main street (with the Bonanza theme playing in the background) and a Bluegrass Festival aren’t two of them. But that’s what I saw within a week.
The nearby village of Evires had a Country & Western Fair – Evires City on July 24th and 25th. Evers City had it all, fort, saloon, Main Street, train, activities for children, covered wagon, Indian village, windmill and hacienda. There was even a newspaper, The Evires City Epitaph. And it was free! Even the food and drink wasn’t expensive.
La Roche Bluegrass Festival just finished with its 40 concerts – all free. I was able to attend each day. This year the festival went from Thursday to Sunday with a ‘Festival OFF’ (jam sessions in local cafes and bars) on Wednesday and Friday. Not only was there great music but there were lots of other things to do: learn to square dance or play Bluegrass. There was even a play area for children and a climbing wall.
You can see photos and videos.

Another One

I found another raw milk vending machine. This one is in Tournus (Burgundy). Like the others I’ve found the milk was good and of course fresh. The milk we bought was from the morning milking.

Juillettistes or Aoûtiens

This is the time of year that France gets divided into two groups - Juillettistes or Aoûtiens. Juillettiste are those that go on vacation in juillet - July and Aoûtiens are those that go on vacation in août – August. The French have 5 weeks of paid vacation a year, many have more. Most people don’t take their 5 weeks all at once. Many take three to four weeks in the summer and it seems, all in one month - July or August.
This can lead to some cities being short of open shops in residential neighborhoods. There is no reason to be open if your most of customers are on vacation!
Juillettistes and Aoûtiens often find themselves on the road at the same time, one coming back, the other going to vacation. This leads to what the French call the chassé-croisé – the crisscrossing of Juillettistes and Aoûtiens. It means that often the worst day in France for traffic is the last Saturday in July. This day is just about always rated Black, meaning heavy traffic by Bison Futé. The French government web site for traffic in France.

This month’s Newsletter is brought to you by:

Les Rossignols: Is a beautiful old Quercy farmhouse built around 1840, near Assier, in the Lot, Midi-Pyrenees. Close to Figeac, the famous medieval riverside market town, there is much to do and see. Three bed and breakfast rooms are available, from a romantic double room with private roof terrace, to a family room for four. The top floor can be rented as a suite of two bedrooms to sleep six, with spa bathroom and sitting room. Close to the wonderful tourist sites of Rocamadour, St. Cirq-Lapopie, the prehistoric caves of Peche Merle, the Dordorgne, Lot and Célé river valleys there is plenty to do. Walk, explore or watch the wonderful birds and wild life, whichever way you can be sure of a fabulous holiday and warm welcome.

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