1. Quel hoopla! peut-être un jour… ah, yes, maybe someday we'll to take in the fête votive. What a refreshing idea, a town party that isn't tainted with political overtones, commercial trash, or cheapjack jingoism — can't think of an even close similar effort here in the New World… alas, more's the pity.

    Its long forgotten origins and an occasional nasty wind notwithstanding, the fête votive still sounds like a hoot — laissez-nous avoir du plaisir! (translation, let's rock!).


  2. Mike,
    It was a hoot! You and Betsy would both have fun and subjects for your watercolors are plentiful, too! Merci for your note.
    All the best,

  3. Wow – it brings back such wonder-filled memories of our evening at the Fête Votive in 2008. Sadly, we missed the fireworks – perhaps there didn't have them or we were sound asleep! But we loved watching the dancing – people of all ages on the floor with the live band playing their requests!

    Were the ChiChi funnel cakes made from chickpea flour? In Tuscany, there are Cecina (like a pancake), and in Sicily Ceci Cakes(a fried pastry), both similarly pronounced to ChiChi. One has to wonder….

    And now, the difference between boules and pétanques? Inquiring minds want/need to know…

    As promised, I will be posting the recipe for fennel-tomato soup with pastis on Wednesday – keep an eye out at http://www.cocoaandlavender.blogspot.com!

    A bientôt! And thanks fro taking us all back to Lourmarin!


  4. Hi David,

    Well, it seems we simply must return next year to sample the chichi cakes….although what type of flour is used really sounds like a question for you and Doreen and http://www.cocoaandlavender.blogspot.com !!!

    The boules and pétanque question….

    First, let me make a correction to my article: A French friend wrote to say that latter game is not written in the plural form (as I did in the piece above).

    Second, to your question (which inspired more conversation with the same French friend and a little research as well): pétanque is a form of boules that has departed from the original game in two main ways: the piste (or runway down which the boule is launched) is shorter and the player is confined to one spot when he or she launches the boule into play. The word, pétanque, comes from the Provençal expression "a pes tanca," meaning to keep one's feet together or anchored (when putting the boule into play). Thus, rather than taking a few steps before launching the boule, the player stands inside a circle as he or she sends the ball into play. This version of boules was created in 1907 in La Ciotat, a small town on the Mediterranean coast near Marseille. As the story goes, a well-known and well-liked former boules champion, Jules LeNoir, was no longer able to take the necessary steps down the piste to launch the ball–the reasons cited range from rheumatism to an accident that paralyzed him from the waist down–and so, a new version was created in order to include this popular man.

    Pétanque's popularity is rapidly growing, especially among the fashionable young in France and elsewhere. A recent article in The Guardian has this story: http://tinyurl.com/22klfe8

    Now, I am off to your blog to see about fennel-tomato soup with Pastis!


  5. The last evening of two dreamlike weeks in Lourmarin a couple summers ago was the opening night of the fete votive. How charming to recall through your essay the pleasant experiences: seeing the dinner zig-zagging up the tilted main street, walking about among the colorful lights under the plane trees overlooking the chateau beyond the soccer fields, and drifting off to sleep to the tune of distant music and voices. – Mark

  6. Hi Mark,

    Your lovely comment recalling the details of a scene from the fete votive sums it all up so well–dreamlike.

    Thanks so much for your note.


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