La Grande Nomade …

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Yes … I’m still hard at the WIP … so since I can’t get away from it, I thought I would bring you into the story with me for a moment. Oh come on! No eye rolls! It’s just for a moment …

By way of introduction – This sculpture was installed at the end of the ramparts in Antibes in 2007. It was taken into a private collection at one point and the outcry was so loud when it was gone that it was replaced. We overlooked it from our terrace last summer. Magic … day or night … just magic …

The setting for this scene in my story is at night. Of course in the WIP there are no photos … only the images created by my own letters …

Patricia Sands Photography

At the end of the ramparts, they stepped inside the white stainless steel sculpture that faced the sea and dominated the harbor of Port Vauban. Lit from the bottom in the unfolding darkness, there was a sense of a shimmering diaphanous embrace.

“I’ve been mesmerized by this from my terrace,” Katherine murmured. “It’s as if  he’s a guardian …  almost like a mirage from a distance.”

“This part of the ramparts is Bastion Saint-Jaume. Originally constructed in the 1700’s, it was blown up by the Germans when they retreated in 1944 and rebuilt according to the original plans,” Nick said, ever the historian.

Photo by

“It’s so unusual …  almost magical … ” Katherine studied the outline of a person squatting, arms around knees, constructed entirely of letters.

 “La Grande Nomade … but tourists refer to it as the Man of Letters … for obvious reasons,” Nick continued. “Oddly, the Spanish sculptor’s name is Jaume Plensa …”

 Katherine smiled at the coincidence.

Nick’s voice softened, reflecting the intimacy he craved. “His philosophy behind the work is that letters are like bricks. They help us to construct our thoughts. I read an interview where he expressed his feeling that our skin is permanently and invisibly tattooed with the text of our life experiences and then someone comes along … a friend, a lover … who is able to decipher these tattoos.”

 Biting her lip, Kat looked out over the calm sea. “The text of this year of my life would call for quite the tattoo.”

Photo by
Patricia Sands Photography

Are you able to get a good enough sense of La Grande Nomade from these photos? What do you think of Plensa’s philosophy about letters?

It’s a long weekend in Canada and the weather is beautiful in Toronto – Victoria Day on Monday or, as it’s ‘fondly’ referred to up here “May two-four”. I’m taking tomorrow off from writing. Woohoo!  We’re going to Mosport with some of our children and grandchildren to watch our son, Sasha, compete in his auto racing division. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I wish you all a Bon Weekend!

Published by patriciasands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada when she isn't somewhere else, particularly the south of France. With a happily blended family of seven adult children and, at last count, six grandchildren, life is full and time is short. Beginning with her first Kodak Brownie camera at the age of six, she has told stories all of her life through photography. Much to her surprise a few years ago, she began to write and has now published three novels, including two that are part of a six-book series set in the south of France. Love France? Love her work! Check out her website She is particularly drawn to the rewarding friendships of women and the challenges many embrace once their families are grown. "It's never too late to begin something new," she enthuses. "As the saying goes, just do it!"

13 thoughts on “La Grande Nomade …

  1. Patricia,
    Seven of Jaume Plensa’s letter-men sculptures are now in my city-Houston, TX. They are smaller than the one in Antibes but arresting just the same.

    I love your Friday-France posts and recently linked to your To Market, To Market post.

    1. Hey Patricia, thanks for connecting here! How interesting that you have some of Plensa’s letter men in Houston. I’m going to google and read about them. I’m so glad you enjoy the Friday posts! Stop by any time.

  2. Oh my word! Or should I say Oh my Letters! That is a fantastic installation and I had no idea it was just along the way, I might have to take a littel trip when we are in St Rapheal in August to go and visit this inspiration.

    And your own text is perfect, enough to elicit a similar response, to want to see it for oneself, how fabulous that you had this to inpire you, no wonder it is firmly imprinted in your mind and that the words you use to share it create such a beckoning image. Total inspiration.

    1. LOL! Being the woman of words you are, Claire, you would truly appreciate this. By all means, hop on the train in St. Raphael and you will be in Antibes in 45 minutes. Make time to see the Musée Picasso as well … just minutes from La Nomade. You can’t help but love Antibes.

  3. What a wonderful, interesting post. I love the sculpture…It expresses perfectly how I feel about letters, the words that make up and express a person. I loved Antibes when I was there, such a long time ago now, particularly the market!

  4. I hope you have a lovely weekend! The sculpture is fascinating. I love the idea that our lives are tattooed on our skin. The passage from your WIP is captivating. Get the last chapter written so we can all read it!

  5. Lovely excerpt, Patricia! What a gorgeous spot to write about. I love the idea that words are bricks. Perhaps our emotions and senses are the bricks’ ingredients. 😉

  6. Soooo beautiful Patricia. The excerpt was wonderful and I can’t wait to read the whole thing! And I love the philosophy behind the sculpture. Sooo true and I can say “I’d have one hell of a tattoo…” LOL!
    Hope you had a great long weekend Patricia…enjoy spending time with your family!

  7. You picked such a fascinating object to include in your novel, Patricia. “There was a sense of shimmering diaphanous embrace” – this sentence alone pulled me into your story. Your visual descriptions are fascinating, and I am such a sucker for those! Hurry up and finish the novel. I will be patiently waiting for its release!

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