LE REPUBLICAIN “Weekly newspaper Uzes and Gard”
The market of Uzès is considered among the most beautiful outdoor markets in France!
When traveling, it is always so very wonderful when your innkeepers become your friends. This was the case in both Paris and Uzes for us.
In Paris, we stayed in the 15th, a short walk from Georges Brassens Park. Our host Gildas is a brilliant photographer (he would modestly say “non”) and world-traveler (recent trips to Iran, India.) In the evenings, after walking miles across Paris, it was tres groovy to sit with Gildas at the table and talk bout all sorts of things – France, the USA, Macron et Trump, Paris metro tips, climate change, music, films, photography, life. We were instant friends and hope to keep in touch via Facebook.
In Uzes, we stayed with Yannick, her son Jean-Phillipe, along with their three dogs: Juan, Tataeille, and Merika. Last evening, Yannick shared a delicious bottle of vin de St. Joseph with us and we talked and laughed for a few hours. Using the modest French I remember from my lessons at St. Peter School, I somehow communicated to our friends that prior to climate change, the lobsters in Maine grew to the size of a Shetland ponies (I exaggerated a bit.) They said, “Mon Dieu” and I said “Oui!”
This morning, there is a cool breeze in the air.
I often forget whether or not I visited a famous monument, but I never forget the people I share laughter with.
Gypsy jazz ala Django in Uzès
It was so cool to run into this gypsy jazz quartet performing at Place aux Herbes, in Uzès last July. In this video recorded from my iPhone, the Uzès guys (never caught their name so let’s call them The Uzèsniacs ) are masterfully strumming “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” in that beautiful jazz manouche style.
Apologies -my cell battery sadly dies in the middle of a great guitar solo. Mert!
“I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” is an American jazz standard attributed to the Tin Pan Alley team of Jimmy McHugh (music) and Dorothy Fields (lyrics) in 1928. Fats Waller and Una Mae Carlisle recorded my favorite version of the song, and there are jazz scholars who maintain that it was actually Waller who wrote the song and sold it to McHugh and Fields for $500. Mert, encore!
The song “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” is also famously featured in the classic screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby (1938) with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. The Uzèsniacs probably learned the song from this wonderful 1936 version from Django Reinhardt et le Quintette du Hot Club de France ( listen below)
“Manhã de Carnaval,” the lovely theme song from the classic 1960 film “Black Orpheus,” seemed to follow us around France for three weeks, first hearing it played from a saxophone echoing through a busy Paris Metro station, and later sung beautifully by Vakia Stavrou at an outdoor concert we found in Uzes, and finally sailing through the open air of the Avignon train station, as we began our journey home (the Avignon station features a piano that travelers can play while waiting for a train – good idea, non?)
Ms. Stavrou’s concert began with “Manhã de Carnaval,” but she added chansons in French, Greek, Portuguese fados, and a few jazz standards sung in English. Singing under a tree in an open field, if she was concerned about the wild electrical storm in the sky above, she never showed it. The flashes of lightning through blue-slate sky over Uzes, made it all feel like being in Maxfield Parish’s “Daybreak.”
“Manhã de Carnaval” isn’t French in origin, but a Brazilian bossa nova written by Luis Bonfa. The film “Black Orpheus” was directed by Paris’ Marcel Camus, who won the Academy Award in 1960 for Best Foreign Film.
The upper video clip is from the film with subtitles. Below is a great cover by Paul Desmond, who played sax with Dave Brubeck. Earlier in the week, we stayed at a villa owned by Brubeck’s son.