Thursday, 4 October 2007
Are the French passionate ?
I think the English have been conned for many years believing that our Gallic brothers over the Channel possess more passion and fire than ourselves.
It is true that a Frenchman is passionate about his digestive system and the wellbeing of his liver. Food and wine play an important and intricate part in his daily life and such matters are given high consideration. A Camembert is not the same as a Coulommier, even though they look similar, Oysters from Arcachon are to be distinguished from Oysters from Leucate, Limoux Cremante is not Krug from Bollinger and so on and so forth. As to whether a Frenchman makes a better lover I couldn't comment although there is still time !!
One area which never ceases to amaze me though is the French's lack of passion or concern in safeguarding their heritage and the natural beauty of the countryside. Sadly one only has to drive through the prettiest of villages to encounter ugly sprawling developments and a rash of germoline boxes that with thought and sensibility could have blended in with the existing architecture. Villages with a Mayor who possesses foresight are sadly few and far between.
The picture above is no longer, for only a few days ago the monstrous yellow diggers appeared for the new lotissment. Sited beautifully with far reaching views of the Pyrenees and vines this plot will be a blot on the previously unspoilt landscape for years to come. A landscape that has remained untouched and thus still retaining its natural beauty since Medieval times. A old stone wall runs the length of the field and set between the stone is a iron cross to remind all of the journey of Calbaire, Christ's last steps to his crucifixion. Every Palm Sunday someone places a blessed branch onto the cross.
A site to be preserved one would think, with passion even. Apparently not. Indifference, resignation and apathy abound. The word 'progress' is muttered, backs are turned away with a deep sigh.
And to argue in a reasoned and logical way is pointless. To explain that this village is a jewel in the crown of the Aude is fruitless.
A nation that places a glass pyramid in front of their greatest national asset, the Louvre, that has been the subject of debate for over 20 years could answer the question as to why they are single-handedly destroying their own heritage.
That's if they understood the passion behind the question in the first place.