Life in the Parc naturel regional du Morvan, is rural, unspoilt and completely surrounded by nature and wildlife. A breathtaking landscape of hills, low mountains, forests, lakes and streams with the cleanest air in Europe and untouched by the centuries.
“Our” parc is in the coeur, the heart of Burgundy and one of 48 parc naturel regionals across France. Le parc du Morvan was set up in 1970 and has a strong rural identity that was in danger of being lost. Generations had moved out, abandoing the remote, tough, farming way of life to live in cities and earn a more lucrative living. Many communities were dying, with just a handful of old timers trying to eek out a lonely existence.
A parc is governed by a national federation but it gives power to local communities who understand the beauty of their own environment and also the importance of being able to earn a living from their surroundings. The basic principles focus on protection, improvement and understanding of the environment.
The payoff for living in a regional parc is that the beauty of the area will be maintained and improved, there will be no new motorways, nuclear plants or unsightly developments. So, if you want to paint your shutters, restore, make major improvements or build a new house, there are guidelines to follow issued by the maison du parc.
Sports and leisure activities such as hiking, cycling, canoeing, hunting, shooting and fishing help are promoted. Cultural heritage is highlighted – musuems, exhibitions, village fetes and musical events – all help build a community spirit and promote the parc. Agriculture, heritage, old traditions, nature, and tourism are also supported by the parc boosting the local economy and bringing life to hundreds of small communities across the Morvan.
The regional parc system proves that a rural area can flourish from its own natural and human resources – that can only be a positive thing for the future of the French countryside.
Sunday Best by Willam Wegman
I love perfume…and I save my “best” ones for special occasions…and tonight..I wanted a squirt of my extra extra “best” perfume. I have been hoarding it because I have only a little drop left….well, what a disappointment… it smelt horrible because it had gone off.
Why hadn’t I enjoyed wearing it when I could? Why had I been saving it and saving it?
It reminded me of when we were little we had ordinary biscuits for every day and best biscuits for weekends or when visitors came. Why not have a little treat when you fancy it? Best tablecloths, best china….why??? I suppose in the old days it was to do with being careful with money and making things last. The tradition of having a smart suit or outfit and hat that would be worn once a week to church on a Sunday – your Sunday Best – probably dates back to the Victorians. The Victorians even had a front parlour where they would only sit on a Sunday. Now that is extreme!
When my Grandma died, she had drawers and drawers full of beautiful unused linen, tablecloths and teatowels. So pretty and yet hidden away in drawers – unappreciated.
We had best clothes that we would wear for special occasions or to visit grandparents. Having nice or extra special clothes can make you feel good and shows that you have made an effort.
I suppose my favourite Monsoon maxi sequin skirt and my suede skirt with beading only get an airing on very special occasions…living in a tiny French village means that I will probably only wear those for best now.
But…I am going to change my philosophy…I am going to enjoy using and wearing my things and not save them for some unknown occasion in the future.. unpack those boxes of things that I “might” use one day… and enjoy ….life is for living now.
What do you think?
Kissing in France? La Bise en France…it’s a minefield….when to kiss, who to kiss, where to kiss…and….how many kisses?
It’s just not polite to greet friends or aquaintances with a casual “hiya” or “alright.”
Kisses, Bisous are expected.
Kiss at least once on each cheek when you meet colleagues, friends or neighbours for the first time in a day. You don’t need to kiss your neighbours every time you see them during the day, unless you really want too!
Men shake hands with their male friends but often kiss them too.
I have had to wait for a shop to open up because the manager and all his colleagues were kissing or shaking hands outside with each other. I think it shows manners and courtesy, a lovely old tradition. . When a shift on the supermarket till comes to an end, the cashiers kiss hello and goodbye. Watch the locals when they arrive in their local bar, they probably will kiss everyone hello.
When you visit a French family don’t forget to kiss the children. You will find young children lining up, waiting pateintly for you to kiss them. Even teenagers will come forward ready to kiss hello.
Kissing aquaintances should not involve hugging or grabbing. Lean in to kiss right cheek first and keep your arms by your sides.
If it’s someone like your Bank Manager, don’t kiss…simply offer a handshake.
Each region and even each town seems to have a different rule on the number of kisses. The number of kisses can range from a straightforward 2, a confusing 3 which can leave you hanging, or even a massive 4!
Watch this funny clip – it might help you to pucker up! .