Discover French heritage through Zhang’s camera

My name is Zhang, and I came to France in 2018. I spent two weeks on the volunteers’ workcamp of Esseillon Fortresses in the Alps.

When I arrived, I chose to turn off the internet data from my mobile phone to be totally immersed in the life of the restoration site: for me, the workcamp was like a parallel world, unrealistic, far from my usual life, where I discovered many things.

I chose to participate in a workcamp because I am interested in traditional architecture. I took part in masonry workshops, on a wall of the Fortress and on a paved path. I really enjoyed this manual activity: I could touch materials such as mortar, stones or sand, feel their weight and texture. I could see the progress of the restoration work and I felt really useful.
Not only did I discover know-how, I also discovered the cultural and natural heritage of the region, and I met volunteers from all over the world. Most of them were French, but there were also English, Russians and Moroccans volunteers. We all ate together and it was an opportunity to discover different dishes: Russian borscht, French dishes. I cooked Chinese dishes myself: an omelette with green onions and chicken with mushrooms, the other volunteers asked me for the recipe! During the weekend, we went for a walk in the Alps, we discovered the Seni lake at the Italian border, and we danced in the village on August 15th.

Looking back, I consider this experience with REMPART as the best moment of the year 2018, the most memorable! This is why I went back in 2019, in the same place!