In July and August the population of our region swells several times, thanks to holidaymakers and second homers. The French tourist industry is complaining that numbers are down this year but we haven’t seen much evidence of that. The markets are still heaving and finding a parking space in the village is like doing an assault course. And plenty of entertainment is on offer, including art fairs and exhibitions of various types.
Parisot International Art Festival
Le Festival d’Art International de Parisot (FAIP) has been an annual event since 2006, held over a weekend in early-mid August. Forty-five artists, mostly from the region, but of varying nationalities, display their works in locations around the village, including people’s houses. The exhibitors include painters, sculptors, jewellery makers, ceramicists and photographers.
This year, at each of the locations, old photographs had been posted up, showing how the location looked, say, 100 years ago, to whom it belonged then and what its function was. We were amazed at how many shops and cafés Parisot supported at that time. Yet further evidence of the effects of rural depopulation and the growth of car ownership.
The festival was under new management this year and they have put a lot of effort into publicity and new initiatives. A tombola offered the opportunity to win works of art donated by the artists. As usual, I didn’t win anything but in some ways this might have been a blessing. I am not a fan of all the art that was on display.
Also, some of the prices are beyond the reach of most people’s pockets, so I wonder how worthwhile it is for the artists. It must be desperately tedious sitting there while people look at your work and then wordlessly pass on. So I make a point of addressing at least a ‘Bonjour’ to them and sometimes engaging them in conversation. However, this event helps to bring alive a tiny village in la France profonde.
Here are some of my favourite pieces.
Caylus Marché des Potiers
This is also an annual event, traditionally held on 15th August, which is Assumption Day and one of the biggest public holidays of the year in France. This year, because it has become such a large and popular event, the marché spanned the 14th-15th August.
I didn’t count the number of exhibitors but there must have been around 100, squeezed into the market place and under the halle. Their work ranged from practical saleables, such as coffee cups, jugs, and tableware, to more ambitious and abstract works of art. The punters were out in force on 15th August, when we went, and seemed to be buying, too.
A Japanese gentleman, who had the Salle de Conseil in the Mairie all to himself, exhibited a five-piece work supposedly representing his native Japan. The price? €27,000. The SF remarked that it was the sort of thing municipalités might purchase to grace their civic buildings. No wonder our local taxes keep going up.
I could have bought many items but I kept my purse firmly shut. After all, we did a vide-greniers (jumble sale) only at the end of May and got rid of those sorts of impulse purchases. However, I have always loved large pots and these are some I would have bought if I had the money and the space.
My favourite has to be this oil jar, probably several hundred years old, on display amongst some other ancient pottery: just showing that humankind has always been moved to make even functional items things of beauty.
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