Posts Tagged ‘cabanon’

Hiking in the Calanques gives you wonderful views of the lovely Mediterranean coast but also gives glimpses of life in the cabanons.  These are the little cottages which cluster round the ports and straggle up the rocky hillsides.  In Le Cabanon, author Jean-Max Tixier describes how, in the last century, workers in Marseille with enough money would buy or build somewhere so they could get out of town at the weekend.  These workers would typically have been artisans, dockers, shop-keepers, and they and their families would join the existing fishermen to form tightly-knit communities who met up summer after summer.

They shared their apéros, pastis, and meals a la bonne franquette. They went fishing, played boules, organised fetes, played cards, bathed, and made bouillabaisse

The cabanoniers were not keen on outsiders – Tixier explains that ‘Parisian’  was one of their most disparaging put-downs – but he describes how, sociologically, these communities were very valuable.  He feels that they were very stabilising for families – they were not at work and had time to develop activities together, especially with the network of friends around them.  He also describes the experience as a ‘civic apprenticeship’ where children would be socialised to understand the needs of others.

 Life in the Calanques changed in the 70s with the arrival of pleasure yachts – and I expect Marseille families would have been holidaying further afield too.

But the photography in this book, by Aix-based Camille Moirenc, is lovely – it is a fascinating snapshot of an unusual way of life which still persists in our region.

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