France is so beautiful in July! The most beautiful country in the world, no doubt.
And the rest of the world knows this well, as they rush, more than ever, to our beaches, hotels, restaurants, and museums; sharing our parades, balls and fireworks. And most importantly, new discovery, a growing enthusiasm: for our festivals.
Besides the oldest of them, major references, like Aix or Avignon (in fact very recent, compared to the German festpiele and English festivals) so many other summer meetings have come recently to the forefront at the same level. So many others hope to reach this status. And much more, without always claiming excellence, using the best they can a church, a castle, or a house, a garden, to host musicians, stage actors, dancers and singers. In total, there will be this summer in France more than 1,200 festivals, where more than one million spectators will see and hear more than 20,000 artists, including one third of foreigners.
This enchanting month says a lot about France in 2011.
It means la dolce vita, great creativity, outstanding infrastructure, its formidable hospital capacity (in both senses of the word), it also means the tremendous appetite for culture of its inhabitants, all classes included, looking forward to meet, in general, around music, mostly foreign, forgetting for a moment, political quarrels and personal concerns.
It says also that our country lives more and more in a time where nothing beats a live performance; and that, facing the general loneliness, the desire to meet others, and share a moment of beauty, is acuter than ever. It says finally that artists have never had so much importance in society, and that the evolution of technology is by no means an obstacle to their careers and their creativity.
But we must know how to look a little outside of the theater halls and castle courts. And the presence of dignified beggars, more and more numerous near the entrances of festivals, also tells us about the misery of those who do not have access to these festivals, and more broadly, it reminds us of the poverty of half of the French who will not be able to take a vacation this year.
The serenity of the festivals should not make us forget that during that time, unemployment is not reduced, our debts accumulate, our foreign trade plunges and insecurity continues to gain ground.
Therefore let us savor this month of July, last moment of pause before the start of a key year for the country’s future. It might be a nauseating one, as we can expect from the gossip and news items that everyone is feeding on. It will surely be intense and will start as early as August: at the latest with the Summer University of political parties; at the earliest with a new degradation of the global financial situation, more fragile than ever.
From what will happen after this start of a new political season will depend on whether July 2011 will be remembered as an ultimate moment of happiness, of which we will have the nostalgia for a long time, or whether we will ensure that July 2012 be even happier …
Until then, let’s enjoy every moment.