There is a real sense of community in Varages. Everyone knows and feels a part of large chunks of the village population. Many are related and it’s common to have 20 to 30 members of their family within 10 minutes walk of their house.
The main aim of life for many, it would seem, is to arrange things so they can stay indefinitely within their village to enjoy their family and friends.
The whole life-style of the village lends itself to socialising with neighbours with people spend hours outdoors all year round. They sit and chat at the cafe tables; the public benches; around the side of one of the fountains …
Monday and Thursday mornings each week market stall holders set up in the Place and people gather to buy their weekly supplies and catch up on the news.
There are evening groups that get-together to improve their painting, photography, yoga, dance or classical guitar skills.
During the winter the Groupe du Patrimoine (Heritage Group) meet to prepare for the spring celebrations. St Pothin is the Patron Saint of the village and it is tradition to parade through the village, during the first weekend of June, to thank him that the inhabitants have survived another winter. Amongst them is the sewing group who make costumes for those who have an official part in the festivities; the processionists who rehearse their routes and duties; the dancers and the musicians – drum and piccolo players – who practise their musical accompaniments in one of the municipal buildings.
June 21st is the Fête de la Music (Music Festival) in France when amateur musicians are encouraged to get out into the streets and perform. In 2019’s festival in the village there were three music groups performing in the evening in front of a crowd of about 300 who were sat together eating their portion of the local restaurant’s paella. The music was rather amateur but enthusiastically supported by friends and family. One of the groups consisted of the village pharmacist, one of his female staff, the local estate agent, a young gardener who’s employed by the council and an older lady who was obviously once a semi-professional singer. They strummed and sang their way through various versions of Beatles favourites.
During the rest of the long summer season there are events that are added to the village diary and announced in the newsletter. The community organise them and then advertise them to the wider area. The events include a day-long market for those who want to re-stock their gardens, a Brocant (a collection of bric-a brac stalls) and a market selling pottery, hand-made jewellery and leather goods, etc.