Fiona Alderman’s Blog: Francoise Hardy

Francoise Hardhy 1969 Joost Evers : Anefo, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons '
This beautiful person has now slipped away from us. A long time favourite of everyone I think, she was very ill with several cancers over many years. She wanted the right to die peacefully and as painlessly as possible. Her son Thomas Dutronc was there at the end and said poignantly “maman est partie ” Three words to say his adored mother had died.
She had battled for the right to have Euthanasia, but here in France it is still illegal. She even requested to be heard by President Macron but I think she was turned down.
A shy girl whose first song “Tous les garcons et les filles de mon age ” made her an instant hit in the 60’s. Walking alone, beside the banks of the Seine in Paris, she was a beauty without any artifice. Her first boyfriend at that time was the well known photographer Jean – Marie Perier, who found his muse in her. They remained life long friends, even after they split up. She was part of the group of singers called Ye- Ye, that were popular then. They included Sheila, Sylvie Vartan, Johnny Halliday, France Gall, Serge Gainsbourg , Claude Francois and Jacques Dutronc , that Francoise would eventually marry.
Her slim silhouette made her a fashion delight, and many French couturiers such as Courreges, Paco Rabanes and Yves St Laurent loved her unique look. Almost androgenous.
With an unhappy childhood and difficult background, she was modestly unaware of her beauty and of her writing talent. She wrote for others as well as herself, sad songs mostly, but very eloquent even at a very young age. An actress too appearing in the film Grand Prix, as the girlfriend of one of the drivers, she exuded a quiet class. She apparently didn’t like the spotlight in films and did few, and even on stage she was still uneasy, giving it up entirely in the late 60’s.
Her life revolved around the two men in her life, Jacques and her son Thomas, even stopping her career for him when he was a small child. Both she and Jacques were fiercely independent people and even although they married, they didn’t always live together. Jacques in his beautiful residence high in the hills of Corsica, with numerous cats roaming around and often Francoise was alone in her apartment in Paris. She wrote for numerous stars of French music and collaborated with them with her own Production company which was unusual at that time.
She was also an astrologist and writer which she accomplished later on in life. Francoise has left a little emptiness in our hearts.The song ” Puisque vous partez en voyage “(on YouTube) sung by herself and Jacques Dutronc perfectly sums up the love and affection they shared together.

The Calm Before The Storm

The Calm Before The Storm

Literally, this month with both the awful weather and also the political scene here. We are going to the polls again in Salignac, the fourth time in four years . There was apparently an “administrative” fault in the recent election and worrying backbiting between certain members of the local council.
For the moment, the Mairie is being managed by three independent Government delegates who will run it until the elections, probably in September.  There is no Mayor in Salignac until then.  Very strange. Until then a lot of the annual Fetes have been cancelled which makes the village very uneasy and very quiet. The weather hasn’t helped with it being sometimes quite cold . Most unusual for the beginning of July. Even the local Tuesday market has very few stalls this season.
The tourist board has reopened in their extended premises which has made a difference to the village. It didn’t look open though and I had to ask about it in the Mairie. I wanted to see if I could have a little exhibition of some photos of Barry. Typical French bureaucracy at it’s finest. Not possible, even though the walls are just waiting for some publicity. I am equally waiting for a reply at the Gare Robert Doisneau to have an exhibition there. They are still waiting for their new member of staff to arrive who manages these things. When I asked when he/she might be expected, I was told ” on ne sais pas, mais……normalement ?”.  We don’t know, but usually, normally. Meaning, no one knows.
However, one good thing or two is happening I hope for the village. A new doctor and a gynaecologist.  Both very much needed in this area. Rural France I love it !!

Looking Back

looking back
We have a local newspaper called L’Essor Sarladais which has just announced it’s 80th year of publication. I read it every Friday, either I buy it in the morning at L’Epicier, or I can read it later at the Cafe with a cool glass of wine.
Jean Claude Roudelle first started it in Proissans, near Sarlat, in October of 1944. A native of these parts, he wanted a journal that showed the news about Sarlat and its surrounding villages. Everyone waited for this every Friday . At this stage even the radio wasn’t available so the news was important.
I was sitting reading it one day when someone I knew came over to join me. A Portuguese man who has lived here for many years, he said he had some old copies he had kept from 1987 to 1991. They were in his car, so off he went to get them for me. He allowed me to keep them for a while and thought I would enjoy reading them at my leisure. Looking through them I tried to compare them to those of today. Firstly, the overall look hasn’t changed a great deal. 15 pages then, 24 today but the photographs have vastly improved. Obviously in black and white before, now in colour but they are still not of great quality.  We used to laugh at the committee meetings and local events that were photographed so badly. Stiff and formal .
There are separate sections for each village and I was interested to read of a trip to Bavaria by coach that was being organized by Les Amis de Voyages in Salignac for a week in the Tyrol. This was in April 1991.The visit would comprise of the 4 Chateaux of Louis 2, two days in Munich and one in Innsbruck. The return journey would encompass the Brenner Pass, and the Frejus Tunnel.A meeting was organized with local Bavarian women’s groups and also a farming enterprise. All this would cost 3,800 francs. Per person, the equivalent now of about 500 Pounds Sterling.This included the hotel of 2/3 stars , double room with a bath or shower, or a single room with an extra charge.
Looking at this week’s paper again I noticed an article about the former owner of the Essor, as it is fondly called. He keeps an eye on the news here and has a yearly subscription. No longer living in the area and retired, he likes to comes back regularly to see family and friends from those early days. He wants to keep the link to his childhood and the happy memories here.
1st July 2024. Fifi’s stories from rural France.
Fiona Alderman: France Profonde

This section: Fiona Alderman blogging from The Salignac Foundation France

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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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