Castelsarrasin, 81, 13 April

Our first visit of the season allowed a group of eighteen alumni, family and friends to enjoy two museums and partake in an agreeable lunch in between. Both museum visits had excellent guides who brought to life for us fin-de-siècle French culture and the art of the table from mediaeval times onwards.

The Espace Fermin Bouisset museum evokes the magical period when new forms of art – including Bouisset’s advertising art – flourished. We saw how effectively he advertised each brand through the eyes and therefore the back of a child, often with just the brand name as the message – a technique which lasted successfully for many decades. Our guide expertly highlighted the cultural and social changes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Our guide at the Abbey of Belleperche dramatised the culinary pleasures and habits of the mediaeval aristocracy, with many insights into the evolution of table protocol, manners (see below) and tableware. The seigneur consumed food which came from as close to God as possible – the unfortunate high-flyers of their day. Forks were banned for their devilish connection, but soon practicality won the day.

Our thanks are due to both Marion and Nigel for organising the visit, and to Nigel for coping with late arrivals caused by the dreadful weather, market and road-works at the Bouisset Museum door.

Author: jpousswfrance


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