Fiona Alderman: Blogging from Rural France -The Chateau

le chateau

Le Chateau

Things are slowly happening here in Salignac, even with the continued lockdown and curfew. Another month has gone by and with Spring arriving after a long winter, there is a little bit of hope at the end of the tunnel. Our beautiful Chateau is being cleaned and like the blossoms of Springtime, it is coming alive again after a very long sleep. Even the tall crane which has been standing erect for a few years has been folded down which improves the skyline. The French owners have been very busy for 10 years now, restoring and putting in place a building that dates back to the 12th Century and the Hundred Years War. It changed hands from the French to the English and emerged in ruins. It was rebuilt in the 15th Century and took part in the Wars of Religion. By 1586 the Duke of Mayenne took over the castle and built a garrison beside it. By the time we arrived in 2000 there had been the Count of Salignac still living within it and it was open to visitors. The roof was in a dangerous state though and the chateau was closed after his death.

Monsieur and Madame Starkmann, with their family and grandchildren, hope to reopen it for visitors in June, depending on many factors and restrictions. One year on since Covid-19 and it has been difficult for so many people and their livelihoods. However it would be great to see it open again and an attraction for the tourists  who might be able to travel this year. I have already been asked if I would help with English translation and as a guide at the Chateau. How wonderful!

Patrick Dupond

patrick dupond

(Photograph: Fusion (IMA)” by annie.dalbera is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Yes, a true star of the French dance world, has died at just 61,  after allegedly contracting a devastating illness.

Born in Paris and with a burning desire to dance from an early age, winning an International ballet competition at only 18yrs old Patrick Dupond was the first French dancer to win the  prized gold medal.

He was already a young dancer at the Paris Opera, progressing quickly through the ranks and an Etoile ie Star at just 21. He danced all the principal roles in Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and also works by choreographers such as Alwin Nikolais, Maurice Bejart, Roland Petit and the English choreographer Kenneth MacMillan. A star, dancing with International companies, American Ballet Theatre  and Alvin Ailey then forming his own company, Dupond and his Stars, with hugely talented dancers such as Sylvie Guillem and Laurent Hilaire – former members of Paris Opera.

The Director of the Paris Opera was by then, in the early 1980’s, directed by the famous Rudolf Nureyev, a strong personality and there were probably rivalries between them. By 1990 Dupond became the youngest ever Director of the Paris Opera and would introduce innovative ideas and new choreographies.

Later on he would be known for his appearance on Danse Avec Les Stars, the French equivalent of Strictly Come Dancing. On the jury, he was always fair and encouraging plus being very amusing. I loved to watch him on the tv. I have been catching up on his fabulous career on YouTube, an “electric” dancer who still captivates the stage and the screen. A complete one off, the “enfant terrible ” a term of endearment which the French use.

Local Elections

local elections

This last month has been busy with campaigning for the re election of the Mayor. Tense times.

With three lists and many people in each that I know, I would find it difficult to choose which one to vote for. However, I don’t have to make that choice because we can’t vote. Because of Brexit we are eradicated from the electoral list. I was told this at the Mairie recently and was a bit shocked? After being here for 20 years too.We are now treated as foreigners.

Back to the campaign, there was one day of voting the 21st April and another the following Sunday.

Very close between all parties. There is a lot of bickering and rivalry between certain members and it has caused a real rift between people. I read all their manifestos and in each there are good things and a forward progression for us all here in Salignac. Which is surely what it must be about?

Shall wait until next month to tell you the results.
Keep safe and well

Fifi’s stories from rural France. March 2021.
Salignac Foundation. Short courses in dance and film. Perhaps resuming this summer.

Launch of The Ship Yard Project
At Home Artist's Talk: GOMA

This section: Fiona Alderman blogging from The Salignac Foundation France, Pat's Home Page Blog

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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