Sunday, August 29th

Craig and I should clean the cottage and work on finances today but France is beckoning…..work can wait ‘til tomorrow.  Besides that, I need to practice walking, so we head off to market day in Capestang.  Our first stop is the boulangerie…. people were lined up out the door and onto the sidewalk waiting for their baguettes.  Bread is serious business in France….it’s a law that each community must have at least one bakery open every day of the week.  We joined the queue and waited our turn.  Everyone was leaving with baguettes.  Not wanting to usurp the locals, when it was our turn, we requested a Pain de Campagne (Country Bread) and two croissants.

We took our croissants to the Café de la Paix , ordered two Café Crème’s and watched the comings and goings of the market.  Twice a week in Capestang, there’s an open air market in the town square….booths with chickens roasting on rotisseries, fresh mussels, arrays of colorful olives, all types of cheeses, local honeys and wines, fruits and vegetables, clothes, household items….a plethora of goods.   After finishing our petite dejeuner (breakfast), we wandered up and down the square, wishing we could buy some of these tasty morsels but we want to explore the countryside this afternoon so shopping will need to wait. 

After meandering around the market, it was lunch and we were hungry.  One of our favorite restaurants, La Table de Vigneron, is also a winery that closes during the grape harvest and crush so we decide to dine there.  I love its ambiance.  You enter through a large arched gateway….inside is a courtyard shaded by a large Sycamore tree, tables are set under its sheltering branches.  More tables await within another large gateway….this one leading  into the winery itself.  No indoor table for us today, the sun is shining and the day is pleasant….we choose a table for two near the comfort of the Sycamore. 

“Aperitif?” asked our server, a charming young woman wearing a “Sud de France” t-shirt.  No, not today….we instead order a bottle of the house rose.  The “menus” (fixed price, multi-course meals) sound good today.  We both order the Salad de Jardinere (Garden Salad), Craig opts for grilled lamb chops while I decide on an omelette with ratatouille.

The salads arrive quickly and look mouth-watering….carrots, green beans, beets, onions, garbanzos, purple cauliflower and tomatoes topped by an artichoke heart with a layer of olive tapenade and a light dressing….absolutely delicious.  The entrée’s didn’t disappoint.  The lamb was very good….three small chops pan-grilled in their own juices.  The omelette was light and airy….more like a souffle, the ratatouille provided a savory counterpoint to the mildness of the eggs.   

The “menus” we selected had different dessert offerings.  Craig’s choices were pure decadence…Crème Brulee, chocolate mousse or ice cream.  My “Végétarien” menu offered only fruit or cheese.  The well-chosen Crème Brulee arrived, its burnt sugar topping still steaming.  My dessert plate consisted of a white peach and a handful of small Mirabelle plums.  I, feeling somewhat cheated, bit into a Mirabelle.  The skin was taut and tart but the juicy fruit within was sweet with an almost creamy texture.  I ate another and then another….these bits of heaven could be seriously addictive….I had to stop.  I moved on to the peach.  Slicing it released its honeyed essence, one bite and its sweet, sticky juices were running down my chin.  I looked at the Crème Brulee….such an ordinary dessert….nothing special, really….and happily realized that I had chosen wisely. 

Not wanting this perfect day to end, we took a leisurely drive north and found ourselves in the valley of the Orb alongside the Orb River, parts of it packed with swimmers, kayakers and canoeists and other parts, peaceful and serene.  The river looked cool and refreshing but any further exploration will need to wait until I’m sure on my feet again.  We wound our way through the mountainous countryside to Saint Chinian, known for its robust red wines….unfortunately, late on a Sunday, none of the caves were open and we left for home empty handed.

Felix, not about to miss aperitif time two days in a row, let us know in no uncertain terms that it was time to go OUTSIDE!  So, I walked down the stairs to my awaiting glass of wine (yes, walked….one hand on the rail and the other on the canne, but I walked up and down the stairs today ….no more bum scooting!).  Craig and I chatted with friends back home in California and watched Felix testing his new-found freedom before calling it a night and heading indoors to ice my swollen, overworked, but happy leg.

Bonne nuit, mes amis….good night, my friends.

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About Languedoc Lady

I'm a newly retired woman from California getting ready to spend a year (or more) with my husband living the good life in Languedoc in the southwest of France.
This entry was posted in Canal du Midi, France, Retirement, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Sunday, August 29th

  1. Sharmyn says:

    Retirement suits you, Madam. You are looking years younger!

    • ritaroberts says:

      Thankyou for your kind remark Sharmyn. How long have you been living in France, have you any hobbies you can be involved with there, or have you a young family to look after.? I have a friend who has recently moved from Crete to France her home is situated right by a lovely forest so her dogs love it there. What made you choose France? This is something everyone asks us.
      We came for two holiday’s and decided the second time we would love to live in Crete as we felt like we belonged here a strange feeling really, never the less we sold up everything in England and have never regretted it we love it here.Thankyou for your response enjoy your life.

      • Hi Rita,
        Sharmyn is a friend of mine, but interestingly enough, she’s retired, she’s been to Crete and she loves ballroom dancing. You two have a lot in common!

        My husband and I chose France because we own a houseboat on the Canal du Midi, but I absolutely agree with you. We felt at home the first time we set foot in France. As much as we love other countries, France always feels like home. We’re planning to be here for two years, but as we drive through this beautiful countryside, we wonder how we can go back to the noise and congestion of the San Francisco Bay Area….but we have a new grandchild pulling our heartstrings. So I’m sure when our time here is over, we will return to friends and family in California. Please tell me more about Crete….what is a good month to visit? What city would you recommend as a home base?

        Looking forward to hearing from you,
        Gayleen (Languedoc Lady)

  2. rita says:

    Hello there I like your post about living in France, it brings back memories of my retirement here to Crete eight years ago. Its great fun exploring the way of life in another country.Visiting their shops, taverna’s, enjoying the new clothes styles,the countryside and trying to keep up with the language.If you are interested in archaeology that is another bonus,there are plenty of sites here to explore.The people are usually friendly to expats and we frequently find a bag of goodies on our doorstep such as all kinds of fruit and vegetables,sometimes almond nuts or pomegranites. Good luck for your future and continue to be happy.

  3. ritaroberts says:

    Hello Gayleen thanks for your reply. I also have two grand children Lois age 13 and Eve who was on ly one year old when we moved to Crete so did’nt really understand what was going on. However I can assure you that you will probably see more of your family and experience more quality time with them when visiting you for holidays.Well that has been my experience as they love coming to Crete. Dont worry both you and they will adjust better than you imagine. With regard to Crete we live in east Crete and our nearest town fifteen mins away is Agios Nikolaos but there are others nearby such as Iarapetra and Heraklion which is also the main airport.Village life is great but we came from village life in Wales U.K. anyway but here its much more friendly We always keep ourselves occupied I think I explained my partner and I are archaeologists and work voluntary now as we are sort of retired and do just two days a week,we ballroom dance, play dominoes,go swimming and socialize generaly ex pats as well as Cretan. Their are many taverna’s to choose from.We have recently been involved with the making of a t.v. series about one of the Islands here called Spinalonga which was once a leper colony. I have made a pen friend in Colorado and hope to visit her next year as I am very interested in the North American Indians.My friend teaches children about their history of the American Indians. Thats all for now.
    take care. Rita

    • Hi Rita,
      I’m glad to hear that quality time with your family hasn’t diminished since your move. We’ve kept in touch with friends using Skype….it feels like we’re out having dinner with them once a week! If you haven’t tried it yet, I heartily recommend it.
      Archeologists! How fascinating that must have been. One of our nephews is an archeologist….mainly in California, but he was on one dig in Germany. Crete must have a plethora of opportunities for you….retired or not. If you find yourself near Sacramento, California in your travels, I’ll put you in touch with a friend of mine who worked at the Indian Museum there.
      Best regards,
      Gayleen

      • ritaroberts says:

        Hi Galeen, I must say you have an unusual name. Yes I do have Skype and as you say its just like being in the same room.My two grandaughters think its magic.I bet your nephew loves working at the Indian Museum,does he have any photo’s of interest I would love to see if possible. By the way have you any hobbies? . Besides Archaeology I also delve into Geology and I like collecting fossils. Best wishes Rita.

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