Dispatches From France: Street Art in the South

Contributor post by Deborah Beau of Kickcan & Conkers


Bonjour tout le monde ! A short, hopefully inspirational, post today to give you an idea of the local atmosphere here in the South of France.

Schools have only just broken up for summer vacation but the partying is already well underway! 
We live on the edge of the Camargue in an area known as La Vaunage. Life is slow here, but once a year, occasionally twice (for les vendanges / grape-picking), the traditional fête votive (village festivities) takes place, and even the sleepiest of hamlets comes to life.


If you've ever read my blog or been to the Camargue area on holiday, you will know that this is bull-breeding country, that's bull with a capital B; bull ranches, horses and herdsmen are part of the landscape, along with the flamingoes that live temporarily in the salt marshes by the sea.

I can't say that I have fully embraced the local Camarguaise culture yet, but I do appreciate the street art at this time of the year.

Most of the villages are decorated with colourful street banners that have either been handpainted by school children or local artists.  These few pictures were taken in Aigues-Vives, for example.

Les Empègues (stencils) are another type of street art specific to the region. The first stencils appeared at the beginning of the 20th Century and were painted on the houses of young men who were old enough to do their military service. Although this is no longer compulsary in France, each house gets a new stencil during the annual village festivities, celebrating youth (V. L. J. - Vive La Jeunesse / Long Live The Youth!) and local Camargue culture.

Inspired by the Mediterranean sun, the local festivities and all this street art, I'll be taking my children to see a couple of topical Picasso exhibitions in Nîmes this Summer including "Picasso, sous le soleil de Françoise, Nîmes et les toros".

I'll let you know what I think!

Deborah Beau's links:

Jan Halvarson

1 comment:

Kim Baise said...

such beautiful, colorful photos from the south of france!! i especially love the picnic table setting next to the bull pen w log fencing.the colorful flags and stencils are also wonderful. it's so nice to wake up w a cup of coffee and travel to another part of the world so very different from where i live. thank you for sharing, deborah