Culture et Patrimoine, Bonjour!

8, 9, 10 juillet 2013: Work Life

I am officially a stagiaire (intern) at Culture et Patrimoine, the office that runs Les Promenades Musicales de Pays d’Auge (year 19!), a music festival that is holding 16 concerts this summer between 14 juil. and 19 août! I say ‘official’ because my name (and position) is printed (!!) in the little brochures that contain all the details about the festival and the ticket reservation forms. Haha… it’s not that much to be excited about, really, but it’s nice to be recognized as part of the little équipe (team), which consists of about 7-8 people maximum (big meetings and concert days), with usually just 2-3 people in the office at a time.

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The door to the bureau (office)! It has just one main room and two small rooms.

The office work I do is not particularly interesting to talk about, because that’s just what it is—office work. The main thing I get to do is take care of all the ticket reservations that come by mail (with check!) only, as the team is not big enough to support telephone reservations*, and as probably 99% of our auditeurs are elderly, snail mail is much more accessible than a web site (though that also exists, apparently… I have yet to see it).

*I’m kind of glad of this, because I am still terrified of answering the phone… which seems silly, but really, people don’t talk clearly at all over the telephone, and they also can’t tell straight off that I’m a foreigner who can’t understand them very well, which helps a lot when I meet people in person, because they automatically speak plus doucement, ‘gently’, and also realize by the blank look on my face when I have no idea what’s happening—anyway one goal by the end of this internship is to be able to take phone calls.. haha.. even without reservations, the telephone rings off the hook all day long!

I’ll try not to bore you with the details, but something fun about this job is that I get to read a lot of French names, of people and of the places where they live. A lot of residences here are these gorgeous country manors/mansions, or manoirs, built anywhere between the 15th and 19th century, and they have their own fancy names and gardens and rolling hill-farm-estates, just like in all of Jane Austen’s novels (Netherfield Park is let at last!). And even if one doesn’t live in a giant manor-house with hundreds of acres of farmland, one lives in some part of an old château (castle) or a beautiful wooden (or brick) cottage, miles away from anyone else, surrounded by apple trees and cows (ok I think you get the picture, maybe.. but you have to see it to believe it! :P).

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This is the view from my employer’s house (left), which is actually a colombier, which is an old dovecote that belongs to Jean-François and the lands of his château (you can see part of it here; it has a moat and everything)–kind of a bizarre structure to live in, but pretty cozy nonetheless, and a great view, apparemment!

Anyway, a couple of fun place names I came across: la Rue de 3 Croissants (yup, a street named 3 Croissants—I imagine the 3 little pigs would have lived there if they were French); la Château de Solitude à Haute Rocque—literally, the Castle of Solitude at High Rock… if that’s not a name straight out of les contes de fées (fairy tales), I don’t know what is! It sounds exactly like the castle that the Beast of Beauty and the Beast lives in (and oh, hey! They actually were in France! At least, according to the Disney movie.. :P).

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