We left Paris on Friday morning and took the train to Poitiers, about a two hour ride. Having to schlep all our luggage from the hotel, three blocks to the metro and up and down umpteen stairways was no picnic, especially in all this heat and humidity. We picked up a rental car in Poitiers and Carl spent ten minutes just trying to figure out how to turn it on!
It was about another two hour car ride to Saintes, a medieval yet upscale community where we will attend an international music festival. Our hotel is quite some distance from the city center, and we’re grateful to have a car. I just can’t imagine walking around in all this heat! Every room is decorated with a theme, and I think ours is French medieval.
- All the concerts are held in the Abbaye aux Dames, a monastery built in 1047. Our first concert was a choral program of all a cappella music by Clemens non Papa, and the group, Ensemble Huelgas, was choral perfection to the nth. Because the audience was sitting all around four sides of the abbey, the performers stood in a circle facing each other, so that they had their backs to the audience the entire time. But, oh, the gorgeous tone! Every line was beautifully shaped. the conductor, Paul Van nevel, conducted with a tuning fork! I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more beautiful choir.