Friday, 7 June 2013

Les arènes, la fontaine

The Camino actually runs through the middle of Vauvert, passing the fountain and the bookshop La Librairie Fontaine.

There’s to be a reading in the arena at Nîmes, finalists in the competition for the Prix Hemingway, organized by the publishing house, Au Diable Vauvert. I say I’d like to go and Peggy says she’ll ask a member of the Association who lives in Vauvert, if he can give me a lift.

The mistral is blowing and it is cooler than before – I even have to wear my jacket as I cycle into town along la voie verte. When I get there I chain the vélo to some railings and walk the couple of blocks to the market. I’m so used to cycling now, it feels strange to walk! After buying vegetables, I go up to check out the bookshop, as I've noticed that they have a café littéraire once a month and the next one is in a few days time. I ask the bookshop owner about this, say I’m in residence with Au Diable Vauvert, and it turns out that he is the person Peggy was going to ask to give me a lift to Nîmes! So that’s arranged, and he says they will come and pick me up in the early evening.

By this time it's much warmer and on the way back to the vélo I follow the curve of a hill, lured by sunlight and shadows on a wall, up a street I don’t remember walking up before, the rue des Juifs. These house fronts and shutters, moving patterns of shade on walls, heat and silence, all have a dream like atmosphere.

So we drive to Nîmes, four of us in the car, in the early evening, in the bright sunlight, under the huge blue roof of sky. In the middle of a roundabout approaching the town, a large Cathar cross. 

Les arenes, Nimes, from the outside

I’d never been inside the Nîmes arena before. A great privilege so I thought, to have it all to ourselves, rather than be part of a guided tour. The drinks and nibbles before the readings were very welcome, (especially the Ricard). 

The readings took place in the chiqueros, the boxes on the perimeter of the arena. This surely has to qualify for the most unusual place to have readings. But the chiqueros are so small I felt claustrophobic and after a couple of readings, 15 minutes each, I wandered out into the arena again, watching the sky grow dark and talking to people I’d only just met and who feel like good friends already.

There are so many chapters of life in the Camargue still to be written, many places I visited I have not had time to write up, for life has started to behave a bit like a whirling dervish (though with much less grace) and I've had to focus on the future. I'm going to be away from my computer for a few days but when I get back I hope to have time to write more about this endlessly fascinating place .... and to look at other people's blogs too!


Anonymous said...


Just wondering if you trained in html before you started this blog....thinking of doing so.

dritanje said...

Jackie - you don't need html knowledge to write a blog but I'm sure it's very useful to be able to do it and I've heard it's not difficult!

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Maybe the grace is in the unseen undercurrents! The arena looks awesome and amazingly well built to stand the test of time.

I see that my Starry Universe blog is not updating on your blog list.If you want to correct this you have to re-join as follower.

Happy weekend,

Anonymous said...

I can see you're enjoying...
I'm glad to read you again M!!!
Happy Sunday from S-Pain

dritanje said...

Thanks White, I have such good memories of Spain and hope to get back there later this year,