Saturday market day in Sigoules was not as interesting as the size of the giant pharmacy in a very small town. They had more foot traffic than the market, although they were all old people, which was quite understandable when we drove down the road and saw the large retirement village. We are in the heart of a wine growing area; there are only rural houses, so it seems strange to see a retirement village in the middle of nowhere. Below are some signs we see at every intersection indicating what vineyards are down the road; if they actually make the wine, then they get a bigger red sign for the tourists following the wine trail. To give you an idea how many growers are around, the St Emilion website lists 65 tourist attractions in their area, 60 of them being wineries.
Disappointed in the market at Sigoules we went to Sainte Foy La Grande because they advertise that they have the biggest and best market of the north. It was pretty impressive, plenty of variety and stalls in the streets and squares of the old town. We stopped at a mobile café and got a half decent hot chocolate and pod coffee, which I think got a good rating because the lady was pleasant and had a sleazy French accent. One of the other products besides grapes that the region produces is prunes. There were a lot of different sorts at the market, marinated with juices, spices and alcohol. We think the bulk of the orchards we have been seeing are plums trees, a change from the walnut trees we saw up north every day, see below.
Taste of France has to come from the market bakery: every time I get a chocolate éclair it is full of thick heavy chocolate custard. Today I saw one with yellow custard and lots of cream; it was good except the top which was sticky toffee (burnt sugar). I’ll have to keep sampling until I find the perfect one.
To wear off the éclair we took in two spiritual caches, one impressive lake that just needed a rowing course and an old washhouse fed from a cave. The photos, if clear enough, should show you the laundry stones, with kneeling marks, and the washboard patterns in the stones; Roger demonstrates in still life pose.
Today’s French word is ‘Pas de Pub’ which is written on most letterboxes in town. No it doesn’t tell the postman that they are ‘just pass the Pub’. Pas is no, Pub is short for publication, so basically it means ‘no advertising publications’, no junk mail. Everybody has the same letterbox and the same style and colour number on their houses, supplied by the council I assume, it appears to be common in just about all the small towns we have been to.
A couple of people who decided to try living in France for three months, to absorb some of the culture and to try a diet of Baguette, cheese and wine.