Flower Arranging in Saumur
I had left University at the end of June and decided to go traveling for a few months in Europe before starting a serious job search in the Fall. I spent a few weeks in Spain and Italy before arriving in France.
I was in the historic town of Saumur, nestled against the Loire river that flows through the middle of France. I was drinking a coffee in a café in the centre of town. Across from the café was a flower shop with a huge, open glass front. Inside a man was arranging flowers with a delicacy and a passion I had never previously witnessed.
I had never thought much about flower arranging before this moment. Obviously, like any young woman I enjoyed receiving flowers but that was about where my interest stopped. However, on this day something compelled me to enter the shop and strike up a conversation with this mesmerizing man.
It turned out that his name was Jean Luc de Montgascon and that he was the previous year’s national flower arranging champion. It also turned out that he had a vacancy for a shop assistant. I applied and was accepted right there on the spot.
Over the coming months Jean Luc taught me everything he could about flower arranging and I progressed steadily from shop assistant to third assistant flower arranger. When, later in the year, we entered the national flower arranging championships I was tasked with carrying, dusting and size selecting all the key buds.
Unfortunately, Jean Luc was runner up that year but I stayed working with him in Saumur for two more years. It was the most creative and artistic period of my life and an overseas working adventure that I will never forget.