It’s Heatin’ Up in Saint-Rémy

A summer “sweater” sporting a little birdie (on the left) adorns the ancient plane tree by the carousel.

Thick sweaters and summer in Provence? Mais oui, a surprising combo! Yet, the beginning of June, colorful knits appeared all around Saint-Rémy—on trees! Called “tricotags,” these bright works of yarn art are part of a program called G-Graines. The first edition of this state-funded, biennial project to support artistic and cultural activities promotes the theme, “trees in the city.”

A whimsical caterpillar is featured on this wrap–on the right side.

Inventive and striking, the cheerful coverings bring grins to all. But they also shine a spotlight on the important role trees play in modern day Saint-Rémy, as well as history. During past centuries, a variety of species were planted. Today, imposing plane trees and gnarly olive trees are synonymous with the area. Some of les arbres were famously featured in the masterpieces created by a former Saint-Rémy resident, Vincent Van Gogh, who lived for a while at the monastery, Saint-Paul-de-Mausole. I like to believe the Dutch artistic genius would have applauded the spirit and ingenuity of the tree “sweaters.”

On the giant panel announcing the G-Graines project, each square, forming the foliage of the tree, shows a tree drawn by a local student.

No warm wraps were visible, however, during another hot summer event, the Fête Nationale. On 14 July, a band, crooners, and a scantily-dressed dance troupe came to town to celebrate the nation’s big day.

Hot pink outfits for a hot summer’s night.

Crowds gathered early for the festive event, eager to be out and about after an extended, difficult period. Kids danced in front of the bandstand, and waiters hustled to keep up with the demands of thirsty customers, creating a most welcome carefree, happy ambience.

Dancers strut their stuff during the 14 July concert.

Happy Summer and stay cool!

Bises, Gayle


The Birdwatcher’s Wife is approaching completion! The manuscript is with the editor right now–for the final proofread. And the cover is nearly done. It features an original watercolor of a pair of avocets. I hope you’ll love it like I do.

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