Candles and more at the Auberge de France
Ihad no idea that the Auberge de France still existed. I thought it had been bombed. I was very excited to discover that in fact it is now the seat of the Local Council of Birgu, the Town Hall, and continues to be restored.
What took me there during Birgufest was an invitation from perfumer Stephen Cordina who has expanded his range with new scents and now has wrought iron candle stands made by one of his brothers, too. He told me that his other brother makes models. A gifted family. That evening Stephen was giving a 20% discount on his creations which was a tempting offer indeed. There were diffusers, gift hampers, shower gels and so much more for personal use and the home. And of course loads and loads of candles of all sizes.
The ambience was truly magical as you can see from one of the photos on this page. I have every admiration for people who start from nothing and build something worthwhile in an honest manner. That is Stephen for you. The other Gozitan whom I greatly admire is Francis Sultana, another artist who built a reputation in interior and furniture design abroad. Together with his partner David Gill they have lovingly transformed a palazzo in St Ursula street into a very special abode.
It was not easy parking in Birgu with so many people turning up to Birgufest. The narrow streets were lit up with candles – beautiful. Of course there was the inevitable singer in the piazza accompanied by very loud music which always spoils any ambience but as a nation we seem to be so fond of it. It is the destroyer of conversation and atmosphere wherever you go. with its patina of age, was constructed way back in 1533 or thereabouts. It housed the Knights of the Order of St John from the langue of France. The knights of Provence and Auvergne had their own auberge in the collachio, the ancient part of the city. Imagine what stories the auberge has to tell, stories which will never be told.
The knights remained in this building until Valletta was built Mr Boxall is acquainted with people who still own some of his furniture. Finally the government acquired it and Agata Barbara, as Minister of Education turned it into a political history museum. But it did not work. It was subsequently planned to turn it into a museum of the Maltese language, but that fell through, too. The Museums Department passed it on to Heritage Malta in 2010 and it is now being rented to the Birgu Local Council.
This was truly an excellent location for the Stephen Cordina event. I had missed the launch of his shop at The Point and was very happy that I had made the effort to come to his event in Birgu. I wish him continued success which he richly deserves.
Today is your last chance to see the works of ten wellknown artists who are exhibiting at the Union Club at 1, Tigné Street, Sliema. The ten artists are Debbie Caruana Dingli, John Borg Manduca, Kenneth Zammit Tabona, Mario Mallia, Arnold Sultana, Damian Ebejer, Catherine Cavallo, Marco Arcidiacono, Alex Cachia and Andrew Diacono. The exhibition curator is the well-known art historian and academic Dr Charlene Vella. The public is welcome to view the exhibition between 10:30am and 12:30pm, and between 5 and 8pm. The receptionists will assist non-members with where to view the exhibition. The exhibition was officially opened last Friday. The Malta Union Club can be contacted on 21332011, 21332012, firstname.lastname@example.org
This piece of sculpture on the stairs of the auberge had 14 different coats of paint on it
Stephen with two young ladies from Franks Perfumery
Iggy Fenech, Annemarie Gale, Jo Caruana and Antoine Le Marc
The composer/conductor Eric Hull and Erica Dias Valverde
Prof. Richard England is holding an exhibition of drawings Melit et Gaul at art... e Gallery 1, Library Street, Victoria, Gozo. In his own beautiful poetic words: “In the middle Sea under the eternity of stars two continents meet oscillating between remembrance and desire. Islands cast in my prayers islands shaped in my fantasy islands fashioned in my thoughts.”