Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sommières

Along the Vidourle river and before reaching the Roman Bridge, Sommières offers already a lot of charm !  We parked the car and started walking reaching the Clock Tower.

The power of nature.


La Tour de l'Horloge. Here we can start our visit...



Inside. There is a little passage on the right side of this photo where you reach a square (La place des Docteurs-Dax). Very nice square ! There a market on the square every Wednesday evening during the summer.

We had to crush ourselves against the shops to let the train pass...

The little shops in Sommières are lovely. This one had lots of old style chairs - pricey and stunning. And references to the "taureau" or toro bravo are everywhere. Remember, we are here very near the small Camargue.


Isn't that da-da-da-darling ?  

El toro bravo again...

Trompe l'oeil.

Again, references to Jean Jaurès...

Kids' fave flavor: stroumpf (blue ice cream). Notice the kids are wearing different clothes here. That is because we liked Sommières so much we decided to visit it for a second time. My son found in a toy shop in Sommières something he wanted to have for a long time: a couple of medieval knights to play with.

Completely by chance, while strolling around Sommières we discovered a way to a tower. There was a dubious poster pointing to an entrance. Behind some ruins there was a lady selling tickets to "spectacles de magie et demonstrations de l'art de la fauconnerie". I asked her what for "magic shows it would be" and she informed with "a magician"(duh !) . Then I asked whether there would be demonstration of haws and she informed they wouldn't fly over. "Non ? Pas de vol ? " I asked again. She replied: "Mais non, there is no space here for that". Puzzled, I decided to buy tickets anyway. Don't ask me why.
The "spectacle de magie" was just a series of boring tricks with cards, boards and rocks presented by a guy in a dark hall that was the entrance to the tower. It was basically for a French audience, therefore French spoken. My kids enjoyed it anyway. Later on he announced that a girl would be teaching the kids basic skills with a bow and arrows.

This girl looked like a twin sister of Nastassia Kinski in her young years. She is the daughter of the fauconnière who was patiently waiting for us in the patio and the man who had done some magic tricks.

Below, I am not so sure why this guy was salking around with this mask.
It adds to the mistery of a medieval setting...
Here is the fauconniere. She was patiently waiting for the kids who now were with her husband and her daughter Aurore learning how to walk on a string.

She lectured the audience about the history of the art of falconry, its origins, legends, traditions, myths, tools and misunderstandings about the birds. Fascinating.

It was quite a long lecturing - in French. My kids and hubby were bored to death. I made some mental notes to verify certains facts later on on Internet. This is fascinating for me but shocking to realize that the French really do not give a damn to learning English.
She also talked a lot about de l'ANFA (the French falconry association) and she offers "stages" and workshops to those wishing to learn more about the practice of falconry. I asked my son whether he was interested in learning about it back in Holland. He said "no" - but he would like to practice how to use a bow and arrow, ha!
 
La fauconnière is really passionate about her mètier. Yes, this is her hobby, her passion and her profession - she practices it for a living. Maybe with subsides from the French government ? Anyway, if you are looking for something more espectacular and want to see the birds flying ad catching preys then I recommend you to verify beforehand whether this is going to be the case. I highly recommend the show on Castle Les Milandes (Dordogne), where Josephine Baker lived. There is a lot of participation of the public and the French spoken is super basic with now and then some sentences in English.

 
More about falconry visit HERE.
 
And I finish this post with a photo of my favorite bird: Bijou.
And she is also Brazilian - you have come a long way, baby !

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