Sunday, February 9, 2014

In Banyuls we learn sad truth regarding elusive artist

Every time we visit the French village of Banyuls, we visit the galleries by the marina. Each time we peer through the window of a gallery owned by a Scot from Edinburgh, admire the prints and decide to come back on the weekend, when the shop is open. We decided to make the drive today.

The trip up the coast road was really beautiful with the bright yellow mimosas in full colour. The hillside was covered with yellow broom and purple rosemary. We even saw someone foraging successfully for wild asparagus.

Since we were in France, it was important to have lunch before two, when everyone stops serving right on the dot if not before. We stopped at the Sebastien Winery, where we both had huge salads. Mine was a lovely green salad with fresh shrimps. Seamus' was more exotic with squid, small crevettes, thinly sliced local cheese, sobrassada, which is ground pork, paprika, salt and spices and tapenade toasts. Since we were so good having salad, we rewarded ourselves by sharing a tasty grand marnier soufflé and finished off with a robust espresso.

Now it was time to visit the elusive gallery. It looked open with lights on, but of course the door was locked. Seamus called the phone number and left a message. Then a lady dressed in a tartan-looking coat came along. This looked promising. She was the wife of the artist who, it transpired, was "Mort." Oh dear! But not to worry, she was continuing to run the gallery since his quick demise a year ago. This was a bit sad, since we were hoping to meet him. It was a pleasure to view the prints of local scenes in the gallery. We eventually chose two to put in our spare room.

While they were being framed, we went for a walk around the town. Banyuls never ceases to amaze me. Almost every time we come here we visit something different. Today we walked along the promenade, then into the town and climbed up and up some well worn steps. Here we looked back on picturesque narrow laneways. We continued along stone covered streets looking into the backyards of old mansions with pink camellias in full bloom and orange and lemon trees that needed to be picked.

Finally, back at the gallery we admired our framed prints. What good choices we made. It was time to return home after yet another lovely trip to Banyuls.

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