Pique-nique de Quartiers

Last night was the annual area picnic. Bordeaux has two special evenings when you're encouraged to hold a street party. The Fête des Voisins (Festival of Neighbours) is in June, the Area Picnic takes place in September.

We discussed what would be the best approach to the area picnics and we decided that rather than the whole church going to the area picnic nearest to the church, we'd use the occasion to go to the nearest area picnic to our home. In our case that was just up the street, just by the tram stop. The picnic was scheduled to begin at 7, so just after 7, armed with baguette, cheese, tomatoes, Pringles, rosé pamplemousse and some fizzy water, we headed up the street.

We weren't sure what the protocol was. In France communal meals can have various descriptions - repas tiré du sac (meal pulled from a bag - sounds almost magical), repas canadien, repas partagé, pique-nique ensemble. pique-nique partagé. You can't really know what is meant by what, except that partagé means you'll bring a dish, a dessert, an apéro or whatever, and you'll share it all, like an American pot-luck.

Anyway our local area picnic was organised by one of our neighbours and was focused on the residents of three small streets. They did the fête des voisins 10 year ago and the lady decided that it was about time to do it again. You register your pique-nique on the town hall web site and they provide you with flyers, an official organiser's badge, some tables and lots of chairs.

It was a splendid evening. People's ages ranged from a couple of months up to over 70. Recipes were shared. There was lots of home-made food including pizza, quiche, rice, salmon, ham, saucisson, home-grown tomatoes, olive cake, chocolate cake. I went to bed too full and had very odd dreams.

Before going home we told folk that next year either we would organise something for our towers, or we would join them again.


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