Thursday, 7 August 2014
Le Petit Grain, Yakafaucon, Bordeaux and other Cafes and Bars
In Bordeaux we discovered Le Petit Grain a little membership cafe which has grown out of the neighbours need for a non commercial place to meet each other, cook meals together, hold meetings, run workshops, a nice place to hang out…
It was originally started by the neighbours and run by the neighbours. Now it has two part time staff who look after the administrative things and the community comes in to help with the cafe and keeps it alive.
While we were there many things were going on: cookery classes, a childrens puppet theatre club, concerts, meetings of the gardening group, petanque….
Le Petit Grain is a great example of a ‘cafe associative’ of which there are many here in France.
We were welcomed warmly and we had a great time in Bordeaux. Marie from the cafe even gave us the key to her mums flat which was empty at the moment and we stayed there for nearly three weeks.
So we visited the cafe frequently with our bikes (Bordeaux is a very bicycle and pedestrian friendly city) and there was always something going on. There is even a group who is trying to create an alternative twinning with Bristol.
We spent an afternoon in the cafe, making our first poster with the childrens art material and played our show on a hot evening to a colourful audience of adults and children, on the square outside the cafe.
Here is a link to the association Yakafaucon, which is the neighbourhood association which runs the cafe. http://www.yakafaucon.com/
“Small is beautiful” thinks Sylvia, while she is posing outside the cafe one last time before it’s time to say bye bye.
We fell in love with the idea of a cafe associative and we hope to visit many more. Here’s a facebook page where some of them gather… https://www.facebook.com/Barsassociatifsdefrance
Les bars associatifs sont souvent super sympa, lieux de socialisation et de convivialité appréciés mais peu connus et peu fédérés.
And then in St.Nazaire Manuel told us about a cafe in Augan, Le Champ Commun which is a co-op cafe bar, epicerie and brewery all at the same time. What a place!
The epicerie is the best shop we’ve found in France. It has everything you would ever need, the prices are great and it is open on Monday and even Sunday mornings – Wow!
We stayed in the rooms above the bar for a couple of nights for exchange of doing our show.
It’s a beautiful, lovely place with very friendly people. http://www.lechampcommun.fr/
“This reminds me of Sesame Street” says Kevin “…these are the people in your neighbourhood….” and these are the people that are changing the world, making it a better place to live in, little by little.
Le Champ Commune carries the label ‘Cafe de Pays’ which puts little cafes that sell local produce like this one under one wing. We picked up a flyer with all the Cafe de Pays in Britanny and got in touch with all the ones on our route to see if we could play at them.
Alors, we visited Le Contretemps in Moncontour where we met Patrice, the proprietor, Julies Cousin and rugby buddy with Alain from the Camping Minihy and then we met Gaston who invited us to stay with him and his wife Colette and baby Charlie Olga and lo and behold we where immediately part of one big family and made a date to return for the Tuesday Bio Marche to play our show.
And Gaston runs a D.I.Y bicycle repair workshop next doors to Le Contre Temps every Tuesday during the market. And the council of Moncontour is working on getting Moncontour onto the V8 one of the cycle routes of Europe. Couldn’t be better!
We returned for the market and because every Tuesday it is another association who organises the entertainment for the evening we performed outside the Theiere Verte, a small teashop run by an english couple and earned ourselves a hotdog a beer and some cake
It wasn’t far to the next Cafe de Pays, only 20km to Ploeuc-sur-Lie where we played at Le Mariala.
There was a wonderful atmosphere in town, we did a little tour with the music playing to announce our show, chatted to many local residents and met the local reporter and a couple of dogs…
Merci Le Mariala for your generosity and the yummy yummy pizza!
If you are in France and see a cafe with one of these signs, don’t think twice, go straight in and enjoy!
Now that we have acquired a taste for little cafes, we know how to find them everywhere, associative or not, Cafe de Pays or not.
Next we played at La Creperie Bosmeleac at the beautiful Camping Bosmeleac, a hidden jewel somewhere in the middle of Brittany at the top of le rigole d’Hilvern. We stayed here last year for one night and liked it so much that we knew we wanted to come and play here.
Isabelle and Ronan who run the Creperie and look after the camping municipal, greeted us warmly. We played to a group of teenagers who came dressed up as bearded ladies! How did they know!? But we still managed to out-stupid them and earned ourselves cider and galettes and crepes.
And then a quick blat down the Blavet to Lorient and the amazing Bar Hop Hop Hop. This is more like an english pub and Eric brews his own beer, called Hop and cooks amazing fishpie.
We performed outside the bar, audience on the pavement us half in the parking space, half on the road and it was really really good fun! We met irish Bretons that aren’t really irish and they was prepairing for an Intergalactic Festival.
Here is Sylvia having a Hop, after drinking a Hop at the Hop Hop Hop.
In Concarneau we didn’t play at the Cafe Portrait de Famille because they already had a band playing. Their friend who saw us in Lorient told them about us and so they were very gutted that we couldn’t play and gave us a free drink to compensate their loss.
And finally for this blog to get us up to date, we played outside the bar La Descente de Marins in Lesconil last Monday.
We are now heading for Brest and hopefully we’ll have some more beautiful, independent cafes to play at.