Thomas, Kyla and I were fortunate enough to be invited to France in May because Dancing With The Wheel had just been published in that country for the first time and Claire Jozan-Meisel, director of Luna Femina arranged for us to speak and build medicine wheels both in the Paris area and in Southern France. We arrived in Paris and spent a few days decompressing from the flight, meeting Claire and her husband Philippe, seeing a few sights and having our first tastes of the wonderful French bread, cheese and other food. Then we took a high speed train to Avignon. You don’t realize the train is going 200 mph until it passes regular trains which just look like a blur. You can walk on the train without any problem.
We were met in Avignon by documentary film-maker and professional photographer David Paquin. We took a brief tour of Avignon then headed to his home near Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt. He and his wife Veronique have a magical part of the earth there. The live in a French country house and have built a bed and breakfast in the studio of the artist who used to care for this land. Part of the building was set into the earth. This is where we stayed, held a workshop and built a medicine wheel to be a permanent part of the land. When we and the three dozen participants finished they wheel, there appeared a blue ring around the sun. It was a magical end to a wonderful ceremonial day.
Prior to the workshop David took us and Claire to see some of his favorite natural spots in Southern France. They were awe inspiring and we prayerfully gathered rocks from some of them for the wheel. We twice visited Roussillon, a picturesque town of ochre cliffs and houses painted with these ochres. We also visited two pottery studios and brought back ochres for our own pottery. Once we visited Sault to experience an organic lavender farm and natural oil processing facility where David’s daughter works. What a treat for our eyes and noses. And the whole time there was a treat for our taste buds since Veronique is a wonderful natural French provincial cook who made salads with vegetables from their gardens.
We all loved our time in Southern France. It is easy to understand why so many impressionist painters worked there. The light is just incredible, and there is a pervasive sense of peace. It was a little sad to leave and travel back to Paris but who can be sad for long in Paris?
Paris is a beautiful city full of priceless art and architecture. It is impossible to see much in a week. But we did see the usual high points: Mona Lisa and the pyramid at the Louvre, the D'Orsay museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saint Chapelle, the Seine, the Champs Elysee and a number of lovely bistros. We spent a day at Monet's house and that was beautiful, and had a nice cafe. It always comes back to food in France because it's so good.
We met some wonderful people at the workshops I presented about Clan Mothers and the Medicine Wheel. We built a Wheel in the Fountainbleu forest outside of Paris on land in the care of NaNouk and her family using cobblestones as Wheel as other stones. It gave a very Celtic feeling to the Wheel which seemed appropriate in that land. NaNouk took a wonderful picture of sunset over the Wheel and if any of you have it please post it on my Facebook author page so other people can see.
We adopted both Claire and Philippe as heart brother and sister and look forward to seeing them again on one side or the other of the pond. We are all so grateful for the wonderful opportunity we had to work with the people and land of France.