There’s a great hotel in Les Baux called Benvengudo that I’ve written about before. The nice people there recently invited me to talk about my book at a “Café Littéraire” as part of their springtime series of events. Other events include a wine tasting by Château Romanin and a harp concert so I’m in good company.
It was an intimate event, held in the salon in front of a crackling fire (spring has been wet and cold so far), with delicious wines and pastries on offer. The turnout was modest due to the weather plus the mudslide that blocked one road to the hotel but was a lot of fun nonetheless.
My dilemma in preparing was that I didn’t know what language I would use. The expected guests were a mix of French and English speakers so I prepared for both (but secretly hoped for English, let’s be honest.)
As the time came to begin, with everyone in their comfy chairs, I polled the audience and learned that French would be the best language. Zut! So I took a deep breath and launched in and, luckily, everyone laughed at all the right moments. And my book readings were in English so overall it was a nice mix of two languages.
Once, after I did a reading, I forgot what language I was supposed to use and continued in English, until the puzzled looks reminded me to switch back to French.
Unlike back home in Silicon Valley, where the busy audience usually leaves right after such an event, here everyone ordered another drink and talked together. It was quite an international group, with people who had lived in Switzerland, Russia, the United States, the UK and France, making the discussion wide-ranging indeed, especially on the subject of cultural differences.
Two people actually spoke some Russian and took the opportunity to practice with each other. I don’t know what they were saying but I hope it included some nice words about my presentation!
Sounds like a lovely evening!
Yes, it really was nice. I was fortunate to be invited.
Bravo Keith! I would have been too nervous to read to a group and then engage in bilingual discussion. What a nice springtime event at the Hotel Benvengudo “A Taste of Books.”
The glass of champagne before I started definitely helped!
Loved this story. Bravo to you for speaking French in such an event. Nothing like a little wine to make those words flow a little more easily!
The wine definitely helped! And the first time everyone laughed at the right moment I knew I would be ok.
I am sure your talents were being enthusiastically expounded in Russian!
I hope so!
Impressive! Congratulations on the honor and on presenting in French!!