Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chez Paris/Brook at Pezenas, Languedoc

We came to Pezenas to see if Margot Paris and Chuck Brook really are enjoying their life in France as much as they claimed to. They are! And for good reason. As their friends know, they sold their large home in North Vancouver and bought a property in Pezenas in the south of France, and rented a small Yaletown apartment.

Pezenas is much larger than I expected. It is a very substantial, historic town with many buildings dating back to medieval times. Indeed, those that don't seem to be the exception.
I gather it was once home to Moliere, at least I hope so since there are signs of his presence all over town!
I was surprised to learn that there was once a 14th century Jewish ghetto
 The Paris/Brook residence is only 350 years old, so by local standards it's a newbie. It's also quite unusual in that it seems very urban from the street, but looks out over a very large garden. If you wonder why it's so green, it's because it does occasionally rain. Indeed, it rained for a few hours the day we left.

The ground floor apartment has large elegant rooms with high ceilings, but if you're thinking of going and staying with them, the guest accommodations are simply awful.
We arrived as Margot was completing a piece for a local/international art symposium. Margot may be known as a community organizer/fundraiser/political campaigner/architect/creative lady in Vancouver, but in France she's a professional visual artist.

Chuck is a bum, living a much more leisurely existence. He is not operating Brook/Pooni from Languedoc. He's barely operating at all. He rides his bike, exercises, studies wine,and shops. He does keep in touch with what's happening in Vancouver, but primarily out of academic interest. He really doesn't care.

He does enjoy food.
We had a wonderful time visiting the Saturday market, chatting to the merchants in our broken French, and comparing the quality of cheeses and oysters.  Chuck bought enough food to feed a large household. But then, he had to, since they always seem to have house guests and visitors coming over for dinner.
LLater in the day we heard some music coming from the street and discovered a very bizarre local custom happening outside our door!I can't explain these pictures, and neither can Chuck.

On Saturday night we went to an art show in nearby Roujon at which Margot's work, and that of the artists who had come from around Europe went on sale.  The gallery is owned by Gary Macdonald who is responsible for introducing Margot and Chuck to the South of France. Unlike Chuck, he is still working, and manages an international firm from this small French town.
Gary entertained the guests on vocals as they arrived.

A detail of Margot's completed work, inspired by nearby landscapes and the midi canal.

Chuck and Margot are causing many of us to reconsider how we want to live our final decades. Do we want to continue the lives we enjoy where we now live, or start brand new lives in an entirely different place?

While I don't think I'm quite ready to pack up, there's no doubt that it is a very attractive option. Just go and visit Margot and Chuck in Pezenas. If their bedrooms are taken, as they are likely to be, they will happily recommend some charming nearby B&B accommodation!


Margot Paris said...

Ah Michael - you and Sally are splendid guests - despite the 'awful' guest room, it is yours anytime. Love Margot & Chuck

Margot Paris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jim moodie said...

hey Cuck and Margot - sounds like you guys made a very good decision even if you do get bothered by your old collegues from the colonies dropping in!
cheers - jim and doria