After a month’s trouble in France let’s hope that the festive period is calm, wherever we live. Here in rural France life carries on as usual and there are lots of Christmas markets and musical events that have been quietly getting underway. In Salignac, the cluster of fairy lights decorating the buildings and little fir trees lining the streets looks magical. There is no, it seems, panic buying or excessive Christmas pressure, just the time to reflect – perhaps on one’s family and loved ones.
For the first time we are having a Marché de Noêl here in Salignac, and it has been the talk of the town! I went to have a look and it was pretty well done. From various craft stalls , local produce like duck and foie gras, wines and champagne to a very busy school stall with hand made cards and tree accessories A horse drawn chariot pulled lots of laughing children through the village which was lovely. It was very busy and it was good to see the big tent in a different way! It was even heated with massive indoor heaters so standing around with an obligatory mulled wine , was very pleasant! Just a pity it was only on for one day, all that work and the next day everything had disappeared. Did I dream it?
This time, I wanted to pay homage to the French Anglo partnership of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg who were together for a tumultuous 12 years. How did they meet? It has to do with the “infamous “ song, “Je t’aime, moi non plus” that was originally made for Serge’s, then lover, Brigitte Bardot. Rumour has it that Brigitte didn’t want to fully publicize their relationship in such a way as is expressed in the song. I remember it and thinking as a youngster how daring it was with all the heavy breathings! He had to find someone else to sing it and he met Jane at a well known nightclub in Paris to discuss the possibilities. As they talked they became more animated, and with the wonderful Gallic charm that he had, he convinced her to do it.Before this however they were due to appear in a film together, the first one in French for the very English Birkin.He made fun of her accent but she could soon retaliate with her own brand of eccentricity. They were a couple for over 12 years and had a daughter, Charlotte, who is a famous singer and actress in her own right now with an international career. Gainsbourg wrote over 550 songs in every type of style from jazz, pop, rock and roll to disco and did soundtracks for nearly 60 films. Highly controversial and right to the end he was shocking people with his often drunken antics and his erotic lyrics. Jane went on to become one of France’s most popular actresses and also a devoted singer of Gainsbourg’s repertoire of songs which have equally influenced today’s musicians and singers.
Even Santa made it to Salignac this year. Swinging around the square offering sweets to young and old, he made a very welcome change. I recognized him but didn’t divulge it, as the children were watching him very closely.Well I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a very good New Year from rural France. Bonne Fêtes!
Fifi’s story from rural France. December 2015.
Film and dance courses in the Dordogne.