Meetings at Courmettes

Giant orchid, Barlia robertiana

Given its altitude (850 m), Courmettes operates on what is pretty much a skeleton staff from end November to February. With spring coming, as witnessed by blossom and the first orchid, it’s becoming busy again. On occasions, very busy. We were up twice last week. The first was to take part in an A Rocha France team meeting: all in French.  There have been a number of new additions to the team, and beards seem to be the fashion.

Work continues slowly and steadily at Courmettes, and Chris was particularly pleased to see the steel girders that have been put in to strengthen the balconies. Like much of the Alpes-Maritimes, the area has a moderate earthquake risk and a few preventative measures are a  good idea.


One of the subjects of the meeting was all the events that are planned for the coming year. You can find these on the Courmettes website. There are two specific conferences in English, and if you want more information, just consult the site.



We came back home briefly and returned for the weekend for an A Rocha International environmental education get-together, with a number of people from across Europe. A good time, although it was still cold and a brisk walk around the estate showed that we weren’t that far below the snow line.

Talking about environmental education

A sign of spring – possibly an over-optimistic one – was what the local press called an ‘invasion’ of scouts. There were apparently over 400 of them and they camped out overnight. They came up on a wet and misty day and at night the skies cleared and temperatures dropped close to freezing. But they seemed to have enjoyed it. We are slowly unearthing the history of Courmettes and the Scouts and Guides have played a big part in it. There is even one fascinating account  (overlooked by military historians) of a confrontation in 1944 between the German Army and the Girl Guides here. But that’s for another time.

Scouts lining up for a photo.

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