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« If Only My Art Teacher Had Looked Like This... | Main | The Family Trippers: Audio Blog »

Au Revoir, St Quentin la Poterie: Audio Blog

Our little town of St Quentin la Poterie is opening up, like Provence in Spring will do. It's a small town, and a quiet town. The streets are never full. You don't see more than a few people going from place to place. If you want to catch shops open, like the boucherie or the boulangerie that sells the better brioche, you have to be both a bit psychic and a little lucky.

In the last few weeks, things have been changing. People are everywhere! At lunchtime I see tables out, filled with diners, at restaurants that weren't even open when we arrived. The artisan workshops on every street, where I peek in at the beautiful handmade pottery in dark windows as I walk by, suddenly have their doors flung open, and shoppers inside.

A group of ladies stopped us on the street yesterday to ask where the Tourist office was, and Eleanor was happy to be able to take them to it. It's always fun for the kids (and us) to feel a little like a local.

As I was grabbing a hard sausage for lunch at the market, a woman asked me (in English!) where she might find bacon. "Proper British bacon?" I asked doubtfully. "You could try Carrefour, in Uzés, maybe."

My neighbors say that this is the beginning of the busy tourist season. There is definitely more to offer around here. More shops to wander into and buy things. More cafes to sit and have a coffee. I haven't done any of these things yet. I realized today that I might just spend 2 months in the renown French potters village, and never go into one of the shops that people come from all over to world to visit. The poterie is very beautiful, but what would I do with it? I don't have a home to take it home to!

Market Day is twice a week now instead of once. Today, our last day in town, is a Friday, the bigger market day. AND this weekend is the Festival L'accordéon Plein Pot, which loosely translates to Full Jar Of Accordion! The town is packed!! Bob and Ella and I spent more than a hour wandering around the market, saying goodbye to people we had met, buying for the last time our weekly auberge in tomato sauce, goat cheese rounds, and fresh handmade artichoke-filled pasta. My boucherie guy has started grilling at the market! That's him in the hat. Ella helped her friends behind the charcuterie counter for a while. Bob looked at knives and bought local wine. I stood in the sun and watched everything, committing it to memory. We recorded the audio clip above at today's market.

I've had fun watching Spring in Provence, with all that it has to offer. But I'm also very glad that we were here for the quiet before the storm. The time when it was just the villagers, and an American family who could pretend for a little while.

Au Revoir.

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Reader Comments (6)

When I listen to your recording, once more I'm convinced that this is exactly the way a market in the south of France is supposed to sound.

Such sweet memories. Bittersweet and lovely; thank you (again and again and again I say this,) for letting us peek in.

May 22, 2010 at 7:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMelody

Stay! Stay! Oh, such a marvelous snapshot of your sweet village. I'm going to miss it there so very much and have been planning mental vacations where *I* get to don a white apron with my hair in a vintage scarf to slip in and take my turn behind the charcuterie counter. When will it be? How will it happen? All I know is that when I pack my bags I shall reserve a small corner in which I will conceal my apron. Imagine the friends to be made!?! But, oh yes, you have already made them haven't you?

My turn will come. I cannot wait!
Peace Pottery and Accordions, NoHo

May 22, 2010 at 8:32 PM | Unregistered Commenternoho1960

je vous souhaite un bon et heureux voyage en esperant que vous garderais dans votre coeur une penser pour notre village
et pour ma part je suis heureux de vous avoir rencontrer et regrette de ne pas avoir pu partager plus de chose avec vous tous
bonne voyage franck the burtcher

May 23, 2010 at 4:30 AM | Unregistered Commenterthe butcher

How beautiful and how sad that you have to leave. Learning hundreds of ways to say "GOOD BY" must be very sad but also exciting because of new adventures ahead.
The pottery I would love to see . I am definately a SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL POTTER woman. I am reminded of the days you and Cynthia used to hangout at my pottery studeo and watch what was comming out of the kiln. "Good ole days", people and places move on.
Did you get to see the lavender bloom or isit too early yet? Lavender fields and sunflower fields are one of my fonest memories of Provence....... and the food..........fantastic, You are well aware of that!
Are you going to Tuscany? You must!!
Love all of you...........Mom

May 23, 2010 at 6:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterMOM

...And our BabelFish translation of Franck the Butcher's comment --

I wish you a good and happy voyage while hoping that you would keep in your heart one to think for our village and my part I am happy to have to meet to you and regrets not having been able to divide more good thing with you
all travels Franck the burtcher

May 23, 2010 at 12:36 PM | Registered CommenterBob & Brenna Redpath

Ah...our choices make our lives...and yours are just fine with me! Thank you for sharing, you've made me miss Scotland so much...

May 27, 2010 at 6:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Wisnewski

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