Saturday, April 9, 2011

April 09, 2011: Grenoble - Lilacs, Early Pâques in Meylan, Drinks with Friends

At the market this morning there was something new for sale - lilacs. Branches of lilacs of all colours, cut and bundled for sale. I don't know that I've ever seen lilacs cut for sale in Toronto, but here they are definitely a popular item.

Today was an early Easter (Pâques) in Meylan. Open House had organized a "treasure hunt" for all the families that had children, and Anne had invited me and Mark to come along with her and Naola. It was being held on the grounds of a lovely old religious school in Meylan, one of the older villages that have been incorporated into the suburbs of Grenoble.

We went early and helped hide the eggs - possibly the most fun in the day. It was challenging - the garden was large but also fairly formal in that French kind of way - lots of open lawn with regularly spaced trees. So really you could only hide eggs at the base of every single tree - putting them in the middle of the no-man's land of grass would have been truly unfair. But once the kids caught on to the fact that they were at the base of trees it would just be a race from one tree to the next - not really a hunt at all. We tried to be clever, finding other hiding spots when possible. There were a number of good holes in the old stone wall, although any kids squeamish about skittering lizards would have failed to collect those eggs, since the lizards were dashing about everywhere in the hot sun.

While colouring with the kids I learned that Easter Eggs are not delivered by a bunny in France - they are brought by flying bells returning from a trip to Rome for the Pope's blessing! After being silenced in homage to Christ's death, the bells ring out to celebrate his resurrection on Sunday, and the children then start their egg hunt.

In the evening I went for drinks with friends - it's practically like I'm back home in Toronto. In fact I'm more social than I would be in Toronto - it's easy when the bar is just a five-minute walk from our apartment. Dominique and her husband were meeting up with a group of people, some of whom I'd already met through Open House. The highlight of the evening was a bachelor party, in which the incipient groom had to dress in women's lingerie and make-up and request a Euro per kiss from all the ladies at our table. I had to reward him with a Euro - he was working hard for it!

A purple cart for purple lilacs

Toddlers were given a head start in the Easter Egg hunt

Intently checking every tree...

A victim of the sunshine :(

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