All the events except for some of the evening concerts are free and we just wondered around the town from reading to reading. French and Arabic are the most common languages, and all readings have a French translation. Many of the participants speak English too. We listened to poetry in Spanish, Greek, French, Arabic, Turkish and Croatian.
A year or so ago the festival almost closed down through lack of funding, but this year seemed to be its strongest and best attended yet. I
Appropriately enough for our trip to this festival which crosses the Mediterranean, we drove there over garrigue-covered hills with limestone outcrops and through a rocky, sandy, almost desert-like area, both of which always remind me of my childhood in Libya.
Siham Bouhlal's reading in the place des Chataignons
The life of the town goes on around the festival events. As we listened to Siham Bouhlal an old man rode into the place on a battered pink bicycle, left it at his house in the far corner, took out a folding chair and a watering can, watered the pavement around the chair to make it cool and settled himself down to watch, or maybe just to sit. It looked as though he did this every evening, festival or no festival.
Lodève has even more connections with