Wednesday, July 1, 2009
In this photo that I took in Valence yesterday, only the two gendarmes are real. All the others are painted people. On the first-floor balcony, you can recognize Napoléon Bonaparte [1769-1821] who, in 1791, was the first lieutenant of the 4th cavalry regiment in Valence. In the upper left-hand window, you have the future king Louis XI [1423-1483] who founded the university of Valence. In the upper right-hand corner, we have the pope Pius VI [1719-1799] who, after having been chased from Rome, died in Valence.
In the ground-floor window, Jacques Pic [1932-1992] was the founder of a celebrated restaurant in Valence, run now by his daughter Anne-Sophie Pic, who is the only female chef in France with three stars in the Guide Michelin. Anne-Sophie will be turning 40 on Sunday, 12 July.
The drowsy capital of the Drôme appeared to be empty yesterday. Maybe it was the heat that was keeping people off the streets.
Since I had time on my hands while awaiting the replacement of my windscreen, I sat down for a beer at a sidewalk café just opposite the old train station in the center of the city, and watched the rare people and vehicles passing by. At times, doing nothing can become a serious preoccupation. I was happy to feel that my laziness was in perfect harmony with the spirit of the city.
Walking back to pick up my automobile, I was delighted to come across this intersection planted with bamboo, which was an unexpected oasis in the hot city.