Introducing Atelier M.

Some of you may have noticed that a new menu button has appeared at the top of the page.

For a while now it has been clearly necessary to modernise myself and get all my projects and artwork digitised and on-line . If there has been a certain level of silence for a while it is because I have been sweating away with an uphill battle to do exactly that.

All architects in France have an online ‘book’ as a graphic representation of their work, so without any further delay I am presenting mine.

Last night at at a little after midnight  – or was that this morning in the early hours…whichever, I was tired when I finally hit – GO LIVE.



Please take a look! Click on the name!

Au Nom de la Rose – Atelier d’art floral à Rouen.

Version Français – click ici

It was indecent, the number of bags I was carrying. People were staring – women particularly, and should I ever win a million, I should like to carry this many flowers home with me every day. But then if I was so abundantly overwhelmed with roses every day maybe it wouldn’t be so delicious, so perfumed or so heavenly. Don’t let my husband read this lest he get the wrong idea – an abundance of roses everyday is the direct route to my heart – but this isn’t carte blanche for investing in a rose farm in equatorial Africa – at least not yet!

We spotted the notice tucked between the glorious display of roses.

…cours d’art floral!

This is absolutely my favorite flower shop and usually as I pass I take a peek at this little round table. If I am lucky, they have bouquets of  ‘Roses du Jardin’,usually about five blooms that they consider past their prime, charmingly arranged, but which often last longer than a week.

But today there was no skulking about the edges, wishing and hoping; I entered ‘Au nom de la Rose’ with the assurance of a habitual customer. I was going to participate in the Atelier d’Art Floral…absolument gratuit!

The first shop ‘Au Nom de la Rose’ was opened in Paris in the 6ième arrondissement in 1991, the store being supplied by its own rose bushes in Provence. Now there are are about 80 boutiques worldwide and their roses are grown in Provence and Brittany, and on the equator. The roses from France are notable for their smaller blooms, whilst those from the equatorial regions, profiting from increased sunshine and humidity are substantially larger. The amazing scent of the blousy tea-roses assailed us the minute we stepped across the threshold; and the quantity and variety of blooms were stunning.

The equatorial blooms are now sourced from African run rose farms.

First we select our choice of blooms from large buckets. We then watch as the stems are cleaned and de-thorned.

Once done we are shown how to start laying the roses and feuillage (greenery) stem by stem in a rotating spiral.

The boys have finished before the girls!

The youngest seems to have found a natural talent..

“‘Ee’ is better” says the proprieteur proprietorially, reverting to a foreign language to disguise his comment. Unfortunately he chooses English.

“I heard that” squeaks the older one indignantly.

After a bit of raffia know-how for the boys,

We are shown our next arrangement.

We are instructed not to force submerge the ‘mousse’, shown how to cut and place the stems and head off to select a pot.

It’s time for the girls raffia training!

But the afternoon doesn’t end until we try some other rose products, Rose perfumed tea, Syrop de Rose, and Gelée de Rose. The Rose Tea is subtly fragrant, whilst the Rose Syrop (cordial) which is recommended diluted with water or added to Kir(now there’s a thought) and the Rose Gelée on brioche remind one of Arabian Nights and Turkish Delight.

It’s time to pack up, and we discover what happens to all those petals we discarded earlier..

as we liberally sprinkle them over our bags..

These aren’t any old shopping bags, they’re rose filled, rose scented, rose adorned shopping bags!

We splashed out a little so that we could have a rose perfumed apartment every day of the year…

even on our impecunious days!

I wonder if one could have too many bags of flowers?

My mantle-piece doesn’t seem to think so…

and nor do I!

Inauguration of the Crèche de Noel

Version Francais

This is the christmas term of our third year in France. Month on month our children have immersed themselves into the language and culture of our local french landscape and where their education is concerned I have no worries.

Ecole and College St Dominique has an extraordinary level of attention to detail, and  time-tested organisation which keeps the parents firmly in touch with their childrens’ progress and with the teaching and pastoral team. History starts at the ‘prehistory’ and works its way systematically towards the present day, mathematical challenge is rigorous and the methodical testing at each stage easily surpasses that of UK schools without the need to stop progress for revision in class time. Reassuringly, French pupils actually are taught grammar, a skill that has been sadly neglected in the standard English school. Parents are encouraged to participate within the school environment, anything from participating in ‘catéchèse’ (religeous studies), to reading out loud to children at lunch time in a wide variety of languages (from spanish to russian) or participating in various fétes over the length of the year.

If I had to highlight the one major difference between French and English school, it would be in the realm of creativity and sport. Whilst english schools have a burgeoning emphasis on art, technology and woodwork, on teamsports such as rugby, cricket and hockey; for France these play a significantly lesser roll. This is not to say that art and technology and sport do not play a role in french education, but that it is essential for french families to offer a supplement.

Being passionately absorbed in creative arts myself, the odd niggles of doubt as to whether my children were being “drawn out” where creativity and imagination were concerned were never far away. Imagine my delight therefore when my son in quatrième (age 13) began to talk about one of the parent’s mission to create an entirely new ‘vision’ when it came to this years “Crèche de Noel”

For those who have already visited my post A trip about Rouen they will be quick to note that the students of quatrième B, under the inspired eye of Madame Corruble have created a perfect model of the ‘Gros Horloge’ and it’s surrounding buildings with the archway of the clock tower representational of the lowly stable.

The model, entirely fabricated from modelling card, with multi-coloured tissue paper to form the stained glass windows is the scene for the clay figures crafted by some students from troisième.

On friday 25th November, the crèche was inaugurated by the local priest in the presence of friends, parents and pupils of St Do, and illuminated for the first time.

Congratulations to Madame Corruble and the élèves of 4ième B for their painstaking attention to detail and their celebration of the architecture of Rouen with this beautiful Crèche; I feel inspired for my own preparations for christmas and confident that whilst creative art is not high on any french school time-table – Here in Rouen, St Dominique can claim first prize for inspiration and creative vision.

Merry christmas!

You may also like to read this:

A trip about Rouen