Showing posts from June, 2018

A Meeting of Cousins

Gabriela Merlinsky and I -- Paulette Lee (née Merlin) -- are second cousins.  We share the same great-grandfather.  We connected through Facebook, as another first cousin of mine and his wife had recently made a trip to Argentina and knowing they had relatives there, looked them up and met some. Of course, we all shared the information. It turns out that while Gabriela is Argentinian and lives in Buenos Aires (married for 30 years, two children, husband is a professor of vocational education) her academic work -- she's a university sociology professor -- brings her to Tours, France about once a year for collaboration on a project concerning environmental social issues in Latin America. So, we made a plan to meet, since Tours is less than two hours from me by car, but I took the train -- very easy and inexpensive -- which was a little more than 2 hours.  She met me at the train station -- identifiable by her purple scarf -- and we went for lunch and a walk aroun

Vallée des Peintres, Part I: Valley of the Sedelle

One of the things that excited me about being in Argenton-sur-Creuse, is that it is at the northern top of an almost 50-km long, serpentine route that follows the Creuse River and its "confluants" (the smaller Creuse and the Sedelle)  through "the Berry"  and "the Limousin" (the traditional and cultural names for the provinces).  This has become known as the "Valley of the Painters."  It's also known as George Sand country, as the 19th century writer, intellectual and Chopin's mistress (yes, she took a man's name) lived in and made this area famous by inviting impressionist painters to visit her first at her home in Nohant , and then at her country cottage in Gargillesse (very close to me) . This "Valée des Peintres" gave birth to painting "en plein air" (outdoors), aided by the newly installed train line from Paris and the development of metal paint tubes and folding easels.  The spectacular ruins of the med