Where can Europeans learn French? How can you find out about the special features of the region ? Where and how can you make contact with local French people ? The web project MEDOC ACTIF brings together a group of people who are interested in all these questions and try to respond together by means of suggestions, written articles, photos or videos. Elke Schwichtenberg and Christian Büttner have discovered – together with Marie-France Pilger, a Médocaine – a group of Médoc enthusiasts whose aim is to encourage meetings and support the inter-cultural exchange of the Médoc.
But why do we need a project like this? The Médoc has been known and loved by European tourists for decades. Lots of visitors have spent summers in holiday homes and centres or have made the Médoc the centre of their lives eg inretirement. A major challenge was, and still is, the language barrier. Europeans would very much like to get in touch with the French and make the most of what the Médoc has to offer. Conversely, there are many French people who would like to use what they learnt at school or during a holiday in another European country. The web project offers many possibilities : as a means of communication; for suggestions of places to meet up and for ideas on how to share social and cultural activities.
In fact there is a need to support this step towards the foreigner, or vice versa, so that the French themselves may benefit from a new slant on the region. A good example can be seen on the web site : the description of a European picnic in a beautiful park, organised by MEDOC ACTIF, which led to people meeting without constraint and getting to know one another within the delightful context of a shared meal.
Christian Büttner/Elke Schwichtenberg (Saint Vivien), trabslation: Margaret and Richard Beasley