Last days in Provence

It is Tuesday and that’s the day for our favourite market in Cotignac. This time we don’t raid it at the crack of dawn but join the French to arrive at a leisurely 9am.

All the stalls are fully open and it’s a delight. Even though some are hosting the no go zone of sausisson for us, it still is interesting to the eye.

Even though we are leaving and we really don’t need any more cheese , how can one resist this amazing choice. We settle for a small 250g piece of a chèvre/ brebis ( goat/ sheep ) 30 month old cheese with a nice thick rind, that Byron would have loved.

There is a pattern of shopping at a market, you either have a familiar set of vendors when you are a regular or you go around checking everything out including all the prices, then settle for the right combination of price, freshness and of course a ” charmant” vendor.

We also don’t need any more olives but again, our stomachs and eyes get the better of us :).

As we walk by the nougat stall, we  try the different varieties, different combinations of nuts and some with cranberries. Just because we are lacking in our sugar intake over here, we settle for a piece of the almond one. Now well stocked we are ready for a leisurely lunch. It seems that we are certainly  full now! All new purchases pass the taste test, we feel like we should go out and have a little walk.

We go in a southwesterly direction , not explored before. The town of Bras offers us a great three hour walk over hills, by rivers, along old and new vineyards, wheat fields and some ancient olive groves.

First we come across the man planting new tomatoe plants in a freshly ploughed field. He tells us he is happy to be out in the ” a plein air” enjoying the sunny day.

Next we come across the man fishing / collecting yabbies in the river. He proudly shows us off his catch in a bucket and reports on how much better the day before was . His largest yabby was 24cm long and he caught 100 in total, today it looks like there are about 20 in his bucket. Apart from the workers there is no one on our trail, it alternates between shady spots with a canopy of tall trees and narrow paths along the fields.

It is a warm day 30C but as the heat is quite dry it is still very pleasant to walk. We feel we have somewhat accounted for the energy intake at lunch but feel deserving of maybe just a small cooling ice-cream. With this we do not have luck in Bras and it takes a small detour to Brignole to come across a lovely mango sorbet- perfect!

The image of the fields will stay with us from this lovely day.

Our last day in Provence we take a trip out east. There are large forests surrounding winding roads and we discover another little gem on top of a hill. Tourrettes is another village that seems a happy place to live in, as we drive in. In 2013 they got a number of local artists to paint large oil paintings and these now adorn many of the streets attached to the walls of buildings. Again there are a number of artist studios to admire. The local chateaux was built by a general from Napoleon I times, it faces the valley below and in the 60’s in a most “egalitarian” way was converted to apartments and given to the local population.

After some up and down to visit all the streets, it’s time for a break.

To finish off we watch a glider display over the castle.

Content with the days adventures we head home for a lovely evening on the Terrace.

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