Sunday, July 30, 2017

Dreaming of France -- Uncorked

Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
In the midst of my moving preparation, I found the time to read a relatively short memoir about a Canadian man who moved to Saint Paul de Vence to work in IT. The book is called Uncorked: My Year in Provence Studying Pétanque , Discovering Chagall, Drinking Pastis, and Mangling French.  He tells the story of how he fell in love with game of  pétanque and convinced a local man to teach him to play in the dark of night. Eventually, the man embraced him as a partner, and he became one of the locals playing pétanque by the cafe and ignoring tourists.
This was an entertaining book because it addressed a topic that is oftentimes touched upon in books but rarely focused on. Of course, the game wasn't the entire point. The game helped him integrate into the village. And since we are planning to move to France, we always wonder how we'll worm our way into local life. Earl pictures himself sitting on a bench watching pétanque and eventually being allowed to play with the other old men in the village. I think I'd better get him a coach.
Here's the beginning of Chapter 1:
The French word bisou  is used to describe the charming manner in which the French greet one another with a ceremonial kiss on both cheeks. This act should not be mistaken for a sign of real affection or even friendship but rather as a refreshingly warm way of saying hello or goodbye.
As tourists in France, we foreigners have all been witness to these tiny gifts, but rarely do we gain admittance into the tightknit club of the 60 million or so people who exchange them.... Receiving and delivering countless bisous during my year in the magical Cote d'Azur village of Saint-Paul de Vence made me feel a sense of "limited belonging," but when my neighbor, friend, and, most importantly, pétanque coach, Hubert bid me farewell by initiating a bisou, after my last match and last pastis as a local, it gave me pause to reflect on how close I had become to this part of the world, its people, its culture, and the game I fell in love with the minute I first laid eyes on it: pétanque!

 I loaned the book to Earl on Kindle so he can read it too. Hope it doesn't make him fear playing pétanque in France. It's mean to encourage him.
How about you? Have you ever played pétanque or boules as it is called in other parts of France? What about receiving or giving a bisou? Have you experienced that? 
I'd love it if you shared your experience. 
Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave your link below and visit each other's blogs to share your love for France.


Emma at Words And Peace / France Book Tours said...

neat! I love 'jouer aux boules'. I saw recently a championship online, it was so good! By the way, pétanque is the official name. But the familiar name is 'les boules', it's nothing to do with regions. Basically like the official name of this other sport is "table tennis", but the familiar way to call it is ping-pong

Sim Carter said...

We watched the 'old' men playing petanque in Cagnes sur Mer at a small court by the sea. One woman sat watching. Actually she was reading, but she was there!

In Frejus, we saw a larger area with several courts.There was also a billboard announcing an upcoming tournament with pictures of hundreds of people cheering from stadium seats! I knew petanque (I'm still confused over petanque vs boules) was popular, had no idea it was THAT popular though.

Here's my Dreaming of France post

Philippe F. said...

Bonjour Paulita ! Quand vous vivrez dans votre village d' Occitanie ( Uzès ? ), ce sera très facile, pour Earl et vous, de jouer une partie de pétanque : allez sur un terrain de pétanque ( il y en a un c' est sûr ! ) et amenez vos boules de pétanque. Si vous voyez des joueurs , demandez - leurs ( dites " Bonjour " bien sûr ) si ils voudraient " faire une partie " avec vous 2 dès qu' ils auront terminé leur match. Vous pouvez aussi " jouer aux boules " l' un contre l' autre ( 3 boules chacun )si il n' y a personne.// Hello Paulita! When you are settled in your village of Occitanie (Uzès why not ? )it will be very easy , for Earl and you,to play a game of pétanque: go to a pétanque ground ( there is one for sure! ) and bring your pétanque bowls. If there are some players on the ground, ask if ( after saying " bonjour " of course )they would like to play a pétanque game with you two as soon as they finish. If there are no players on the ground, you could play a game one on one ( 3 bowls each in this case ). Don' t be afraid to talk to pétanque players, anybody can play on the ground, it's not a serious game,just for fun and it is free.I wish you the better for your next big move.Un bisou sur les 2 joues pour vous Paulita!

Paulita said...

Francetaste, Interesting. When I learned about the game in French class, we called it boules, but I was under the impression that petanque was a southern France name.
Sim, Yes, we spent some time watching when we were in France too. I'm looking forward to many afternoons at the petanque courts.
Philippe, Thanks for the advice on petanque. I hope we are brave enough to try it, and glad it isn't as serious as the author made it out to be.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I love it that you are daring to move to France. Here we others sit, watching you and enjoying the adventure.

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