The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Slower Pace

       While reading Joanne DeMaio's guest post , I was reminded that photographs can breathe life into a blog.  If you're in a blogging rut, on the brink of catching cabin fever (and your family is not in the mood to reenact Stephen King's The Shining) include a photograph and let the image inspire...

        After I read it, I thought about all my photos from my last trip to France.  (Don't!  Don't run away!  I do not have three carousels full of slides to show you. I promise!)

         Three times I've gone. Three different love affairs. (Okay, so I am just imagining that I was successful in my stalking, and only in my dreams did I find Johnny Depp. Let me hold onto this fantasy for just another few moments.)  Each trip found me deeper in love with with the countryside and the people.

         What was Paris like?  The only glimpses I've seen of Paris is what can be seen at the airport, before catching a smaller plane and heading to Toulouse or Pau.  Some Many Most would say that it's a crime to travel to a country more than once and bypass such a famous city , that Paris is a city that should not be missed.  What can I say?  The France I love is slow-paced, it's full of rolling hills and gorgeous mountains, it offers food that is meant to be enjoyed as well as warm, funny people.

         In other words, the France I love is the rural France...The France in the midst of fields of sunflowers and hay and vineyards...The France nestled at the base of the Pyrenees Mountains...That's my France.

This is my sister's sister-in-law.
This unassuming vegetable dish was delicious,
but very rustic.
          What keeps me coming back?  I could say the bread. (True!).  I could say the out-of-this-world cheese. (True! So true!)  But what pulls me the most is the people's determination to enjoy life.

           Lunch at home takes two hours. There is freshly-baked bread to cut.  Several times during the meal. There are separate courses---some fresh fruit, then the entree, some salad, and then some cheeses to choose from. 

          Dinner takes three or four hours. The food is eaten leisurely, and whether it is at the noon or the evening meal, conversation and jokes and water and wine flow liberally. 

The Pyrenees Mountains
          Their love of life is evident everywhere. Flowers dripping out of flowerboxes. The tables outside restaurants and cafes, full of people drinking beer and wine as they savor their conversation.  Salad dressings made from scratch for the about-to-be-eaten salad.  Their fondness of open markets and walking places and little specialty shops, instead of huge department stores.

the outside wall of an ordinary home, made
more beautiful with flowers

       So, if you have had snow dumped on you and you're still stuck in the house, savor the slower pace today.  And if you are able to get out and about, try to enjoy the smaller pleasures of life. Celebrate and revel in the little things!   


  1. Oh, Sioux! I am sooo happy that you have been able to travel and see and enjoy such beauty! I don't blame you one bit for bypassing the big cities. Every time I read about how long the French take to have lunch and dinner, I wonder how the heck the have time to work! And if I ate that much, for that many hours, the only thing left to do would be my other favorite thing: Sleep!

  2. Becky--It's actually not large quanities that are eaten. Much more emphasis is placed on the conversation, the laughter, the stories. That's the crazy thing. They love food, but they don't pig out on it like we do.

  3. Hi Sioux, what rich experiences you have had. May many more come your way, both here and abroad. Hope you are enjoying your extra long weekend.

  4. Sioux,
    When I was in college, a woman in her eighties joined us on our Cultural Anthropology class field trip. She said, "I am doing these active things while I am able, because one day I will be laid up due to winter, or illness or frailty and I will continue to travel with my memories and photographs."
    Thank you for the journey!

  5. Thanks. Now I don't just wish I could go to France. I am yearning. Beautiful post, though.


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