Du haut de la montagne- Contacter l’essentiel

Partir là-haut, c’était aller découvrir le Vercors au pied duquel j’ai passé plusieurs semaines cette année. C’était aussi retrouver des sensations du chemin et recontacter l’essentiel, mon essentiel, avant de me lancer dans une nouvelle aventure professionnelle. 


Pour cela rien de mieux qu’une immersion dans la nature, aucune connexion de nature téléphonique ou informatique;  juste mon sac à dos. CIMG4035 Lire la suite


« J’ai un besoin pressant de me trouver en silence.

Personne à écouter. Personne à qui parler.

Juste l’espace du silence.


Un espace libre mais loin d’être vide.

Il est empli de mon dialogue intérieur incessant.

Tant de de bons moments.

Tant de rencontres. Tant de dépassements.

Tant de logements. Tant de changement en dedans


J’ai besoin d’écouter. J’ai besoin de m’arrêter.

Stop ! Chut !

Juste le silence.


Et lorsqu’enfin s’écoulent quelques heures bénies de répit

Alors la paix m’envahie.

Je sais que je vis. Je découvre qui je suis.

Je sais à peine où va ma vie

Et c’est ainsi que petit à petit je construis.


Sensation de baigner dans mes intuitions.

C’est dans ce silence rempli de vie 

Que je recharge mes batteries.


Je n’avais jamais autant jouie

De l’absence de bruit.

Alors je sourie. »





Inspiration musicale

Petit texte inspiré  par le duo Belem. Je l’ai écrit en écoutant  leur concert devant les douves du château des Ducs de Bretagne, à Nantes la semaine dernière. Entendez-vous leur musique?

Il y en a qui vivent leur rêve.Belem II


Ils le partagent entre eux.

Ils l’offrent au monde.


Ce soir 2 artistes, des musiciens.


Ils sont partenaires.

À la vie, comme à la scène.


Quand ils jouent, un lien se tisse entre eux

Et tout à coup des images fusent,

Des couleurs valsent et tourbillonnent.


Ils vivent leur rêve, ils partagent leur rêve.

On dirait parfois un tango moderne, une valse rapide ou une musique de film.


Il y a de l’harmonie, des regards,

Du rythme, de la complicité,

Des chromatiques, des intentions,

Des sourires.


Il y a de la beauté et ça fait rêver.


Il la regarde, il joue très vite, il se tend.

Elle est fière, elle est concentrée, elle sait ce qu’elle fait.

L’intensité augmente, sans la quitter du regard il se lève et lui tourne autour.

Elle joue, elle s’en fout, c’est à son goût, elle le connaît.

C’est pour lui qu’elle l’a composé.


Puis elle ouvre les yeux, son poignet se fait souple,

Son archet passe du staccato à de douces envolées.

Il se calme, il se rassoie. Ils terminent le voyage assis.


Mimétisme des corps qui se balancent.

Puis rien. C’est le silence.


Bravo! C’était intense! Bravo! C’était beau!


Elle avec son archet, prolongement de sa main.

Lui avec son sourire en accordéon.


Un couple d’artiste,

Pas triste!

The farm des Roussets

« Be the change you want to see in the world ».


I am just back from a week at the Farm des Roussets, closed to St Jean en Royan. It is not a coincidence if I choose this place. It has been few years already that I am following more or less attentively the adventure of Batotopie Collectif in which my brother is involved.  Theses 6 Compagnons of REPAS network -Network for exchange and supportive and alternative practices- have met during their tour de France. They got on well, shared the same dream and the same values so they decided to do it: to form a collectif, to share their incomes, to buy a land and a farm and to produce vegetables, cereals, bread, honey and cultural events.

The Roussets farm the collectif and the functioning

The Farm des Roussets  is composed of 30 acres, 5 acres are dedicated to market gardening and the remaining is for cereals. It is also a mill, a bakery, a future honey house, 2 garages and a big hangar. And there is also the old manure which will be soon transformed into a shop and a venue. Of course there is an house: a single-storey with only a small part of the upper floor  converted into an office area.  The ground floor is constituted of a cold storage, a future vegetable processing area (currently the kitchen), a dinning room with a log stove, a future in kitchen (currently under construction) and a minimum comfort bathroom-laundrette . By consequence, the collectif members don’t have a house at the farm, they dispatched themselves between a yurt or caravan on the land or a flat in the village. The collectif is composed by 2 market gardeners: Annabel and Max, a farmer-baker: Nicolas, a beekeeper Nicolas and 2 cultural animators: Anne and Pascale. Moreover this year, Matthieu is joining the crew to work on the pedagogic side of the farm. Their way of working is in autogestion: no hierarchy, a lot of listening and goodwill, non-violent communication and all the decisions are taken unanimously.  They share their incomes and allow themselves a monthly salary of 600 euros. If there is some money left, it is re-injected in the farm buildings. They are hoping to reach 1000 euros monthly salary in few years time. The name Farm des Roussets  is grouping the agricultural activity ( GAEC des Roussets), the beekeeping and the cultural association Batotopie.

The annual general meeting

Two weeks before I came to the farm to take part to the general meeting and I have been impressed by the courage and the confidence in the future which animate the little group. It isn’t easy  to present the annual results of each activity after only one year of exercise! Here the numbers rarely overcome the thousands euros, nothing to do with the monthly results of the company I used to work for! They need to explain why for now not all the activities are  profitable: the first green house which flew away a day of extremely strong wind, a part of the bees which died poisoned by a fungicide the first summer; and all of that standing in front of the assembly. An assembly very active, avid to know about the way of life of the collectif and which doesn’t hesitate to share experience, advices and encouragements . The exchange between the collectif and the assembly is rich in this misty Sunday morning: « At the beginning our desire was to create a collective place and to make it alive. This place doesn’t belong to us, it has been bought of course with our participation but not only: there are many other contributors who bought some parts. The aim is that each of us feel home here, do you feel home? » asks the farmer Nicolas.

From dream to reality

From  dream to reality there are many compromises and challenges. » The group  is indeed a force which allows us to realise and bring to life some projects  «  explains Max. And the two Nicolas agree on the fact that  » We constantly need to make compromises between our vision and what is possible. For example when we started the project we had the idea to collaborate and help between the different activities to work together. In reality we don’t have the time to stop the work in the garden to go and help at the bakery , the be-keeping or the animation and the other way around … » Actually since the collectif is installed in the region of Royan they had to seek for gouvernemental and European financial support. Also they had to find some complementary job in order to not base the income on the uncertain results of the first years of the farm. Thus the cultural duo works in addition to its implication in Batotopie. Anne found a position of animator at the local radio: Radio Royan.  Pascale has on one hand created her own association of popular education: Ébullition , on another hand she is animator in the summer camp which takes place on their land.  » Before we were meeting altogether  for informal moments, games and a chill out week-end per year.  We don’t take the time any more » observes Annabel. Actually they all agree to say that since they started the project they feel a strong pressure of result and lack of time. They allow themselves only very few holidays, but they live accordingly to their values and it is a great pride.

A successful local integration 

If the reality is sometimes heavy for the collectif, it however benefits from a great local support. In one year the group has archived its integration.They are neither lonely, nor isolated but well surrounded by all the people who believe in their initiatives.  Indeed, there is not a day passing without regular or spontaneous visitors coming to give a hand or simply say hi. Les volontaires.jpgThe past week a friend of Pascale came to help building the new kitchen, Lucas was there to build a dry stone wall, Aurélien shared his precious carpenter expertise and Laurent was supporting him. There were also Michel who came few hours at the garden, the visit of Nadia who had the desire to do the garden while chatting with her friend Annabel or Zoé who joined Thursday afternoon to renforce the construction team. And of course on Friday afternoon- day of sales at the farm- the subscribers came to collect their vegetable basket and buy the bred for the week-end. Getting locally integrated also means to build local partnerships. For example Annabel and Max are part of a market gardener mutual aid where they share half day of work per week, rotating between the different gardens. Another example is the one of Nicolas who buys the wood for the bakery stove at a local fabric of garden tools handles. He also produces hay for a colleague who work with animal traction. This great team is creating some ecosystems at local scale. Moreover they already archived the bet of leaving together and mutual aid, a great work they can be proud of.

My experience at the Farm des Roussets

I spent a week with Annabel and Nicolas who are leaving in the yurt in front of the farm. I invested the visitors caravan and shadowed the couple in their daily activities. Finally I put DSC_0159my hands in the earth! I spent the first 3 days gardening with Annabel and Max. It is the occasion to clear from stones a field next to the greenhouse , to transplant the kales outside, to refresh the strawberry bushes, to collect  the leeks and the mesclun for the weekly baskets . An experience which makes me realise how physical is the work of market gardener who always work at ground level. It works on the back muscles, the knees, the thighs and the arms.

SerreWith my fragile back, I already knew this profession wasn’t for me, now I’ve got the confirmation. However I find this work very interesting: understanding the earth and its functioning, enhancing the yields and all of this to produce healthy food, what a noble profession! Theses few days are the occasion to get to know better Annabel, to notice how much her passion for the earth is big, leads her and generate in her a beautiful energy. Indeed, she is able to work all day long in the garden and go directly to a 2 hours session of African dance! No need to mention the violin classes since Septembre on the top of that . She is learning so fast that she is already able to play in public…it is true passion gives wings!

At the farm it is non-stop, there is always something to do and the only moments to relax are the one spent around a good meal. Here we drink spring water coming directly from the mountains, we eat the vegetables and the bred produced. The lunchs are full of conviviality, suspended time where everyone gather to exchange and refill in energy. Each member of the collectif is responsible of the kitchen one day per week. At the farm we always plan the meals compting an extra person, just in case someone turns up. During my stay we have never been less than 7 around the table! For me, these precious moments of conviviality are the best moments in the day.

a table.jpg

Thursday is a special day: it is the day of the weekly meeting: all the members of the collectif are here at 8.00 am and the morning is dedicated to share the advancement of the different projects, the questions, the difficulties and the decision making. I don’t attend this team time, instead I focus on a flyers proposal in order to continue to mobilise the good wills around the project.  At the end of the meeting we meet on the work-site, in the dust and the straw we spend our energy after this very static morning.

On Friday, it is bred day and sales  day. I wake up at 5 am in order to help Nicolas at the bakery. It is an intense day of 12 hours work with 3 breaks of 20 to 40 minutes only. Still I enjoy it very much.  We weight, we knead the dough, we fold, we weight and prepare the bred. There are so much manipulations that when Nicolas works on his own he carries not less than a weight of 3 tonnes of flour, dough and bred during the day!


Before lunch time we prepare 2 batches of bred (150 kg in total), and after an express lunch  the loading team  joins the bakery. « Only few farmer-baker have the privilege to realise this operation with such a team. «  explains proudly Nicolas. EnfournementIt is a well orchestrated operation which then takes place in front of my eyes: Matthieu prepares the trays of bred and covers it with  flour, Pascale prepares 2 bred on each wooden  baker’s peels and Nicolas loads the oven. The aim of the operation is to execute it as fast as possible in order to maintain the oven temperature constant. Then comes my third break, this time I can not resist to a little snooze on the sofa…only 10 minutes before the next batch! It is a tiring day, still very pleasant. It remains me my student times and the long hours  in the lab… in a better version as I can eat a some warm bred at the end  ! DSC_0196.JPG

Last but not least, Saturday is a very sunny day. While Annabel is at selling bred vegetables and honey at the market and Nicolas is working in the fields I feel a bit unproductive. So I start to clean up the kitchen and the dinning room and then I cook the lunch…in between the read of two short stories sat outside under the sun…happiness! After the lunch my legs are itching me, so I challenge myself to climb at the cross in less than 2 hours. I passed by this place few weeks before but it is so much better under the sun !

In order to end this great week beautifully, nothing better than a folk party led by the group Faucon Folk. I was dreaming of such evening since a long time, I can now tick that box on my list ! 

A desire to support the Farm des Roussets?

Click on the picture below and deal with the French web site OR contact the collectif in English at the email address info@batotopie.org . Above all, don’t hesitate to comment and ask questions on this article. Thank you .


C’est le printemps et heureusement!

C’était la panne hivernale. J’étais face à mes peurs , le vide profond-sans-fond de mon cœur. Mes désillusions, mes échecs, mon manque d’inspiration. Prise en moi-même dans un désert  glacé. J’étais paralysée.

Mais qu’est ce que changer? Sinon oublier. Décoloniser mon film intérieur plein de ces schémas sociétaux et parentaux. Les effacer. Tous! Maintenant! Et accepter le vide. La page enneigée. Ne pas bouger, ne plus prétendre, être en observation.

Qui suis-je au fond? Quelles sont mes aspirations? Qu’est ce qui me nourrit? Qu’est ce qui me remplit?

Tâtonner, avancer tout doucement, prudemment sur la pointe des pieds afin de ne pas perdre le son feutré et régulier qui me guide. Boum. Boum. Boum. Seul mon cœur m’indique le chemin. L’entendez-vous? Je commence à peine à le distinguer dans le vacarme incessant du monde qui ne tourne plus très rond.

Me remplir d’humilité. Me sentir toute petite en vérité. Une lueur, des amitiés qui réchauffent le cœur. Rencontres qui offrent un autre regard. Une envie qui naît. Une envie de donner, de me rendre utile, de servir pour mieux me remplir du chant incessant que maintenant j’entends. Boum. Boum. Boum.

Ca prendra du temps de réapprendre à faire des choix autrement. Mais j’ai promis à la petite fille de toujours écouter son avis car on ne triche pas avec la vie. Plus envie de prendre des raccourcis. Me laisser enfin marcher sur mon chemin. Pourvu que l’aventure soit humaine! Pourvu que l’aventure soit belle! Pourvu que l’aventure soit constructive!

La neige a fondu et le printemps est venu. Boum. Boum. Boum.

Seul mon cœur me guide. L’entendez vous?

Ne pas être finie, c’est être in-finie.

Boum. Boum. Boum.

Seul mon cœur me guide.



*Merci à ma sœur chérie pour les illustrations 

Two weeks at domain of Bayssac

   Having new experiences and getting inspired by new encounters, these are  2 things very important for me this year. In the domain of Bayssac I am not disappointed!


   In this house I live at the whim of the a activities of tidying, gardening and cooking, in exchange for free accomodation and  food. The rest of my time I focus on writing: my blog, my online writing workshop exercise and my on-going article.


   Step by step I discover  who are my hosts. I am in the house of artists & entrepreneurs. Sylvie had a previous life as dancer and choreograph. When she stopped dancing she went back to Uni to study philosophy. Now she is studying literature to get a qualification from Montpellier University in order to lead writing workshops. She is actually already leading 3 workshops per week and it is having a great success. Moreover, Sylvie is a lyric singer. Philippe as well is a musician: a professional pianist and piano teacher at the college of music. Together they bought the domain of Bayssac, 10 years ago with the objectif of being able to host every summer some music master-class. Now the project has evolved and each summer they also host tourists and from next summer some writing week workshops. No need to mention that days in this house are cadenced by music scales, vocalises and repetitions, for the delight of my hears.

   The domain is huge. Step by step, they renovated the house, cleared the garden, revived the chestnut grove, set up a discovery trail which lead to the river and created a vegetable garden and an orchard. I admire their project and they have been able to realise.

   In this peaceful place, I already count many nice moments. There were the encounter with Chloé and Chechek  (Tchetcheque for the french prononciation), a nice franco-polish couple who is travel through Europe by van. With them, one afternoon, I tried the writing workshop of Sylvie.


I also enjoy the walks with my new friends Toby & Petit-Monsieur, 2 beautiful and bright border collies. They are great players, always asking me to send them the ball.


       And there are  week-ends with the visit of the parents, the children and the small children. The big tables, the aperitivo-concerts where all the family go successively behind the piano and play for the others. I really love those kind of family atmosphere and totally felt in my element.

    This week I welcomed a new arrival of volunteers. A Swiss couple Anne-Catherine and Raphaël, and a German girl: Nicola. Anne-Catherine and Raphaël are bqck in Europe after 6 months travelling around South America. They came back with a project of vegetable  and insect farming to provide for their food needs. They are now looking for a place to settle. Here is an original and interesting project!


« Je reçois tous les jours des lettres: « Je travaille dans une usine (dans un bureau, dans un laboratoire, dans un magasin, dans un commerce, dans une administration, dans un ministère), ma vie est triste. J’aimerais vivre dans un pays de soleil, au soleil, au grand air, libre, m’épanouir, respirer. Je n’ai pas de métier mais j’ai de la bonne volonté, de la force, de la jeunesse. Je ferai n’importe quoi… » Non! On ne fait pas n’importe quoi. Au surplus, la première personne qu’on rencontre en débarquant au paradis, c’est soi-même.  »                             

                               Jean Giono- La chasse au bonheur-Paradis