August is a cruel month if you want to go to the Monday market in Mirepoix. Last year, the local newspaper reported that the French shop from 8 to 10 a.m., after that it's the turn of the English. True enough, except that this month you have to add in tourists from all over Europe. The earlier you get there, the leaner the crowd. Another reason to be up before cock crow (our local roosters are chronologically challenged anyway, usually performing around 4 p.m.) is that, no surprise, the best produce goes first.
So today we were on the road by 8:30 a.m., and in the market before 9 a.m. The drive is only 10 minutes but, rather than join the slow crawl through the streets, we usually park in the SuperU lot on the outskirts of town.
A baby could sleep on that huge bread to the left. It's sold by weight (the bread not the baby) and is meant to last a week, in other words from one market to the next.
The man in the photo at the top of this post grinds knives, scissors, axes and any other blunt object you put in his way. We've taken our big Sabatier knife to him a number of times and it's been returned to us with a guillotine-sharp edge.
Once you've done your shopping, it's time for a grand crème and a pain aux raisins. Café Castignolles (in the other photo) is one of several cafés under the arcades around the central square. All have their devotees. We go promiscuously from one to the other depending on where the free tables are.