Lunch at l'Auberge de l'Abbaye

Susan Morgan

On Saturday, 25th November, we met at l'Auberge de l'Abbaye, Le Port Saint Maur, for a pleasant lunch in a room overlooking the Loire.

Alice Loiseau was, unfortunately, unable to be with us, and her talk about her visit to the Globe theatre in London, was read by Susan Darby. Alice loved As You Like It, and found it much funnier in performance than when read as a text. She also enjoyed Anne Boleyn, and very much liked the performance of Dr. Faustus for its costumes and visual effects.

Her week in London was not just attending performances. We learnt that the course included lectures on the history of the Globe, and of London in Shakespeare's time. Patrick Spottiswood talked about the historical background. There were workshops at the Globe, in movement, in speaking and reciting Shakespearean texts, even swordsmanship. A tour of the backstage, and a discussion with the players about All's Well That Ends Well. Highlights for Alice were the chance to play extracts from Macbeth on the stage of the Globe itself, and a lecture on iambic pentameters by the Head of Text at the Globe. She enjoyed a visit to Dartmouth House, which included a talk by James Bisgood on the music of Shakespeare's time, followed by a delicious dinner.

Overall, Alice felt that she had gained insight on Shakespeare and the London of his time, and had developed teaching material which she could look forward to using herself. The highlights of for Alice were the chance to play extracts from Macbeth on the stage of the Globe itself, and a lecture on iambic pentameters by the Head of Text at the Globe.

Our next speaker was Dr. Lionel Guillemot, whose talk was entitled 'The ups and downs of expatriate communities in France'. He started by tracing the ancient global migrations, reminding us that migration could be thought of as natural to the human race. People migrate for a variety of reasons, in search of work, a better life style, a better climate.

Within Europe, the direction taken by migrants has differed over the centuries. During the nineteen twenties and thirties there was strong migration into France by those from Italy and Spain. In more recent years we have seen migrants travelling from the east and the south to reach western Europe. Considering the migration of the British into France, he thought that it had been greatly influenced by the UK media, with its picture of the good life to be enjoyed by those who took the plunge and bought a house in France. Interesting houses were more readily available, and the lifestyle less hectic than England. Of course, the British were used to the idea of migration to historic colonial areas.

Dr. Guillemot touched upon the importance of the Schengen treaty in opening borders through Europe. He concluded by quoting statistics showing the diversity of people who lived in the area of the Loire valley at the present moment.