We chose to go to Bataville last week after reading an article in our newspaper about an art structure being built there.
We discovered a sort of wood bridge, standing on the ground, between the shoe factory and the factory restaurant. It was created by Lami Maestro, an artist of Philippines. She called her work of art Limen. It means Threshold. We just had to walk on the grass, amongst buttercups and daisies, to reach it.
When we stood at the end of the structure, I felt it was a threshold indeed, just as if going on it towards the other end would take us somewhere else.
We were interested in the way it was made, partly tenon and mortise joints, wood pegs. Good job. I wonder if the structure will "move" as the wood was cut recently and is not dry, we saw sap going out of it.
We were talking about the way people would like it or not, saying some people would complain it was not a shelter with a real roof when a family arrived. And what do you think they said first ? "It costs a lot of money and it is not even a shelter !" To like or not to like, that is the question !
Bataville, near Moussey in Moselle, was created by Mr Bata in 1931. He had his shoe business in Czechoslovakia and wanted to build more factories abroad.
The factory has produced shoes from 1932. On top of it, Mr Bata built houses for his employees, a grocery shop, a shoe shop (of course, I would say), a church, a school, a stadium and even a swimming pool. A swimming pool in the French country in the 1950s was very unusual. And buses used to carry employees from Nancy and country villages to the factory every day. All these facilities can be called paternalism, Mr Bata followed the example of Mr Ford I have read, but we must admit that it was really convenient.
The architecture of the buildings is typical of the 1930s and of the Bauhaus. There is another Bata factory in Canada, built in the same way. This place is called Batawa.
There have been up to 2,700 employees in the factory. In 2000, with only 840 workers, one million and a half pairs of shoes were still sold in France and abroad. The decision was taken in Canada in 2001 to close the factory in January 2002. We used to go there from time to time as shoes were less expensive at this shoe shop and the choice was more interesting than in the shop of Nancy.
After twelve years Bataville hasn't changed. I was quite surprised last week to discover the factory is still in good condition. There are a few small companies working in it and two years ago journalists said some people of the cinema business could be interested in this place. It would be a good idea to bring it back to life and I would like to visit this, of course.
Last Sunday we went to La Pataterie again, a restaurant serving menus made with potatoes mainly. This time we chose the one near Lunéville instead of the one near Nancy.
Both restaurants are quite similar. A tractor outside for one, a tractor inside for the other one. And in both there are plenty of kitchen utensils and a lot of wood around.
By looking at these old things on the wall, it reminded me of my grand-mother's kitchen. We had un brochon (I only know the dialect noun, not the one in "real" French, it could be pot à lait, a small metal milk can). We used it to get milk at the farm nearby. And there was une cafetière italienne (an Italian coffee pot) that I have never used myself. The grinder was kept in the cupboard but was not used for coffee but for grains of wheat to give to young chicks. The skimmer still is something special for me, my grand-mother never called it une écumoire but une tcheumerasse. It was one of the few words of local dialect she still spoke. After WW2 less and less people spoke a local dialect in Lorraine. The only dialect still spoken nowadays is the one of Moselle, le platt, different from the ones of the parts of Lorraine further away from the German border.
So, looking at this wall was a good opportunity to speak about the old time with my husband. This restaurant is quite pleasant (and their desserts are good, I can tell you).
As far as I can remember I have always had chocolate eggs for Easter. They were in the garden or sometimes in the garage if it was raining. In the 1960s the choice of chocolates was not as good as today. The easiest things to find were eggs wrapped in metal foil about the size of real eggs, and also small hens looking as if they were laying eggs. We had small sugar eggs and friture, in English "small fried fish" but in this case small chocolate fish.
This year I found something I had not seen for a very long time : a crate of chocolate bottles. I was a child when we had them and there was alcohol in the bottles. I have tasted one bottle, I could feel there is still alcohol in it. It is not strong, of course. I am surprised it is allowed nowadays as children can have them.
This year bells were generous and brought chocolates to everybody even if we don't have small ones anymore. I took a picture of our classical chocolates and of the crate, they are unusual bottles, aren't they ?
A busy timetable and I don't write any article in my blog ! As the long week end of Easter has started, I have got more time for myself.
We have a long week end, that is to say we don't work on Monday. Three départements of Lorraine follow this rule : Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse and Vosges. The fourth one, Moselle, has got one more day off : Good Friday. After Germany gave Moselle back to France in 1918 this département has kept a few local laws or traditions. Not working on Good Friday is one of them.
In Lorraine bells stop ringing from the Thursday evening to the Sunday morning. In between bells are going to Rome !
And when they come back very early on the Sunday morning bells lay chocolate eggs, hens or rabbits in our gardens. As a child, I have tried to get up earlier and earlier to see bells doing their job, but each time my father told me I was late ! I am still disappointed nowadays not to have seen bells flying.
Our neighbours in Alsace don't wait for bells to come but for the Easter hare which hides eggs in their gardens.
I took a picture of Easter decorations I saw in a shop. To be honest, apart from yellow or orange flowers, I have never seen a house decorated for Easter in Lorraine. only shops. And I asked my son who went to Strasbourg last Monday if he saw anything in Alsace. No, only shops are decorated, and a few places where tourists go.
Well, now it is the right time to prepare Easter.