As always, the village's weekly night market closed the main street every Friday night during July and August. The first year, maybe 40 people attended. Now, upwards of a couple of hundred sit down at the long rows of tables. All ages. French, English, Spanish...all the nationalities that make up this region.
Also as always, the final event, like the faint shock of cold air in the mornings, is an intimation that autumn is on its way.
So, a look back...
Our choir has performed twice, singing itself hoarse on both occasions. Many renditions of Champs Elysées and La Mer and, this past Friday, a song in Occitan.
I won't try to guess the number of wine bottles but I do know that thousands of plates have been emptied.
Steaks, chops and sausages bought from the butcher's van to go on Christian's grill, paella, escargots, crèpes, nems (spring rolls) and noodles: the food choice roams hither and yon. We usually don't. Invariably Peter goes for the magret, frites and persillade while I gravitate to the van that serves Mexican dishes. I've become such a regular that the man who folds the chopped pork mixture into the tortilla knows to add extra chopped cilantro (coriander) and a sprinkle of cayenne (on one occasion, recognizing my addiction, he gave me a plastic bag of cilantro to take home).
Local, communal, seasonal, all those buzzwords that float through food magazines, the night markets are all those things--the kind of events that are only one advantage to living in rural France. Wherever you're reading this, I want you to imagine for a moment your main street being closed off and traffic being re-routed simply so people can have a good time.
Imagine that everyone can come along and become part of the fun. Couples, families, kids, seniors, sitting elbow to elbow, nobody feeling excluded.
Imagine that there's live music--guys playing guitars, dancing in the street (meet Marek and Shirley who run the village café).
Last Friday may have been the official end of the village's summer but, hang on a minute, let me check the forecast. Mid-twenties doesn't sound too hard to live with.