Around France

Art, Food and Qigong. This must be Uzès

Travel isn’t complete without learning about totally unexpected things. Like Qigong.

This must be Uzès

Qigong is a Chinese practice of alternative healthcare that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques, and a focused mind. It’s kin to Tai Chi and Karate, but the body movements are gentler and much slower.

I would never have thought I’d be exposed to Qigong while in France. However, a new friend, Bernard, spoke about it, then demonstrated it when we spent the morning at the public park near my neighborhood.

Bernard and I met yesterday in the alleyway beside my apartment. I stopped him to ask directions to the recycling center. He didn’t have a clue about the trash since he is a visitor in Uzes, also. But he did know about some places the locals go, like the park.

Bernard speaks English pretty well– well enough for us to converse easily–and he loves to talk. Most conveniently, he is a retired elementary school French teacher, so he was willing to help me learn a few basic words and phrases in French. Within a few minutes of meeting each other, Bernard and I were fast friends. So today, I joined him on his walk to the nearly hidden, public park.

Hidden playground
Getting to the park required only a short walk down the main street of Uzes and a climb down a very rocky, steep hill. At the bottom of the hill, the path led to a abandoned, crumbling gristmill and a small waterfall fed by L’Eure river.

In a few more yards, the path led through the woods and opened into a public park. 

On weekends the park must be crowded, but this day, there were very few people in sight.

Within minutes of getting to the flat, grassy area, I was laying flat on my back, gazing through the leaves towards the blue and white sky.

Could life get any better than this?

Qigong lesson
While I was sky-gazing, Bernard stood not too far away and started waving his hands and arms through the air as if going into a trance. I remembered he had told me about Qigong, so I wasn’t the least alarmed at his behavior. In fact, when he finished a few of the hypnotic, dance-like movements, I got up from where I sitting and asked him to show me a few simple Qigong poses.

Vallée de l'Eure, Uzès, France
He kindly obliged my request and led me into my first Qigong lesson.

Dejeuner and an art show
Energized from the morning’s hike and my introduction to Qigong, I invited Bernard to join me for lunch at a Thai restaurant downtown. It seemed fitting we should stay in an Asian mood.

We chose the fixe prix menu with fish as the “plat” (main course). For the “entree” (first course) I had a salad with shredded chicken. Bernard ordered the “egg rolls with pork and vegetables. All in all, the meal was tasty, but not fabulous. The wait staff and surroundings, however, were excellent.

Art show crashers
When no one knows you, and you don’t speak the language, you can barge right into private art exhibit, right? I mean, they’d have to physically throw you out if you don’t understand “where’s your invitation?” in French. That’s the sense of confidence I had strolling into an art gallery later in the afternoon. It was really their fault I showed up uninvited. They had a live band playing so loudly that I had to go check out where it was coming from. Right?

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Another treat to cap off the day!

To find out more about Qigong visit:
Note: Bernard has left Uzes to visit family in Nimes, then return to his home along the French border of Germany. Merci mon ami et adieu

9 replies »

  1. That’s one of our favorite walks while in Uzès…down to La Valée de l’Eure…it’s so beautiful! We can’t wait to meet you one of these days (un de ces jours)…either in Uzès or Atlanta.

  2. All of that in one day is what makes Uzès a great, great place! Did I tell you that when we renovated the house, the architect, who’s Swedish, said: “Be careful, Uzès is a trap.” She’s right.

    The recycling place is indicated on the map I sent you, it’s to the right of the entrance to the Parking André Gide. Close and easy to find.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures. Btw, don’t forget the “puces” is on Sundays.

    • Ahhh! I found the recycling for glass,etc, just not for food trash. Been dropping it into trash cans along the way. My bad! Yes, I’m seriously thinking of coming here to stay!

  3. Love it all. Wish for pictures with you in them to make it more personal!! You are quite the adventurer.

    • It’s hard to turn the camera around when I’m busy looking at stuff. I’ll try to get someone to do a photo. But if its not good …

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