-  Diary of an Adventure   -  Viviers-sur-Rhône

The cycle in the Village has turned, and we have fresh table cloths – red – at the Patisserie where we have our morning coffee and more-ish croissants. The baker greets us as he leaves with his baskets of baguettes and we (Hesta, Terry and Kirsten, that is) are invited for cafe at the Chateau Bar.

The team that vacuums the piles of leaves arrive on Wednesday, do a lousy job, and leave. The streets somewhat cleaner. Not a tidy lot these French.

Ginger, for dinner and live music. The streets of the square filling with people dancing. The band was versatile, the music good and the sky that magnificent ultramarine blue of the Impressionists.

Market day starts early, with the first vehicles seemingly parking in the garden at 4am. We wondered amongst the fruit, fish, meat and cheese stalls, the basket filling with ‘must have’ goodies. Leaves from the trees fluttering around us.

We drove for two hours, with the assistance of the ever helpful tourist map, to find the Roman bridge, which was 1,2km from the house! We passed a number of other bridges, a couple of villages and a Roman amphitheater. Fortunately we had a strategic supply of wine with us.

A small painting (postcard size) of a doorway on the hill in Marsanne, leading to unknown worlds. Others of the red shutters of one of the hill top villages, and the garden of our house, with a zillion more that I haven’t managed to get to. The charcoal and acrylic still giving me a tough time searching for suggestion and vibrancy through intimation.

The road snaked, drunkenly, through the Ardèche mountains, thick green woodlands giving way to barren white rock formations. Fabulous cycling country, as long as you like hills! We passed through picturesque villages, their twisting medieval streets no place for vehicles. Stopped at the markets, as much to rest queasy stomachs, as to search for that elusive Provencal table cloth, all overlaid by the smell of lavender. The crowds meant that we were more than happy to be back in our village, hidden from the world by its wild garden.

Pick nick alongside the Rhone, the city on the hill against a Turner sky, spectacular. The music se had come to listen to, somehow unimportant.

Joanna of Valois, a statue on the hill behind the city, our morning walk destination. Terry found the path, tucked behind an old goat shed, that winds its way up to the statue. Great views over the rooftops of the city, and across to the bridges across the Rhone. Not sure who decided it was the spot to erect a mobile phone tower.??

Chicken and Nüssli salad lunch, in our magic garden. The perfect time for sabrage. Red wine stocks a worry!

‘Magic Garden’. Charcoal and Acrylic on paper, a painting of our garden at the cottage in Vivier. I used the charcoal at the end of the painting to keep the colors clean, which with white, creates a flow through the painting.


In his time Jan has been an electronics, nuclear and power system engineer, a strategist, a humanitarian and an artist. A career path linked by creativity and innovative thinking. Initially trained at the Johannesburg College of Art, Jan has won numerous international awards and has exhibited nationally and internationally. He can be found in his studio ‘Jandreart’ located at Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna.


  • Carmo Manis

    Hi – you are all looking very good.
    take care
    C M

    October 9, 2013

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