In this article, we uncover some ways to enjoy cinema, museums or even the wilderness from the comfort of our home. For free!
The current Covid19 crisis has put our travel plans and dreams to an abrupt halt. While almost half of the world’s population is confined at home, it shouldn’t prevent us from getting our culture and exploration fix. There should be something for France lovers of all stripes in this (far from exhaustive) list. Follow the guide!
If you want a break from Netflix, or are looking for older classics or rare gems, Open Culture has 1,150 movies available covering all genres, from films noirs and documentaries to Westerns and comedies. Most are in English, but some are French or have French subtitles if you want to practice. Here are my top picks:
Cyrano De Bergerac – Free – Michael Gordon’s tale (1950) based on the classic French tale, which remains my favorite piece of French literature.
J’attendrai Le Suivant – Free – A French film nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Short Film in 2002. Short and shocking!
Home – Free – French environmentalist, photographer and film-maker Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s film that will make you look at our planet in a new way. (2009)
Technology is a marvelous thing. Many museums now offer virtual tours that not only allow us to look at the art, but also very often provide extensive comments and explanations by the curator.
Le Louvre features virtual tours (in French only) of its Egyptian collection or the petite gallerie. If you prefer a lighter visit, without all the commentary, you could still admire the art and make up your own mind about the motive behind it – that’s the best fun at a museum anyway.
Now, let’s take a look at some smaller museums that you’ll be able to visit (not virtually this time) when you next come to the South of France.
Marseille’s Mucem offers an extremely well done tour of “Jean Dubuffet – A Barbarian in Europe” exhibition, available both in French and English. It unveils the work of Dubuffet, an early 20th century French artist, inventor of the so-called “rough art”.
The Musée Fabre in Montpellier displays Occidental artworks, paintings, sculptures, drawings and art objects from the 14th – 21st century. While it doesn’t offer 3D virtual tour capabilities, all collections can be enjoyed in a media gallery, in French and English. Follow these “trails” to discover the collections categorized by themes, from Animals to Monsters, or more appropriately for the region, Wine.
Closer to Mazamet in Castres is our very own Goya museum, centered on Spanish art and of course, the work of painter and printmaker Fernando Goya. The online collection, albeit extensive, is only available in French.
Another local and guests’ favorite is the Toulouse-Lautrec museum in Albi. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, a.k.a The Master of Posters had a prolific career and a tortuous life. The exhaustive online collection features his work on posters, paintings and lithographs.
Did you like what you saw in these two museums? Read our blog posts and discover Castres and Albi in more detail.
Podcasts and Radio
Tarn Tourisme offers a brilliant podcast series called ‘Le Petit Espanté’ (meaning astonished, flabbergasted in Occitan dialect). Available in French on Soundcloud or on their website, this episode focuses on Mazamet’s pride and joy: La Passerelle. You could also watch this video showing how the Passerelle was built for a more visual experience.
One of the podcasts I used to religiously follow back when we were living in Sydney is SBS French – SBS en Français. It’s available on Spotify, Google Podcast or on their website. Following French news from Down Under on the way to work was a fun and convenient way to stay in touch with home. If your French, like Janice’s, is not up to scratch yet, you could try this BBC series that uses news clips for language learning. Get ready before your next holiday in France!
That’s it for now. Although, maybe we should offer a virtual visit of La Villa, what do you think? In the meantime, make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for glimpses into what is happening in Mazamet and at La Villa.
#stayhomesavelives #SeeItNow #ExperienceItLater