Mike had been told that Forcalaquier(don't ask me how to pronounce that!!) in the hills was the biggest market around. We set off early (9.00am?!) and reached our destination easily only to be met by queues of cars. We went through the town, past the market and out the other side. After letting Pete and me off, with instructions to meet at 12.00 by a large purple umbrella we'd seen, Mike drove on and eventually got parking down a side street.
There were stalls and stalls of clothes, shoes, pottery, jewellery etc etc. And of course food. The real purpose of the visit. We had tasters everywhere. Seemed a bit rude accepting offering of pate that cost 29euro for a little jar. But they were totally scrumptious so we ate, smiled and passed on!
Tried lots of cheeses which we might have bought, but that wasn't on our list. Mike and Yve were getting the cheese. (and they made some good choices later) Then to the meats. PAID for a sausage and ate those, but not immediately. Not the done thing to eat while walking in France. We found a stone bench and sat and ate. Then there were the olives, taste and we bought, some more pates, 'dips' and terrines. Bought couple of those. Then the fruit and vegies. How do the French always manage to have banks of tomatoes in stalls and shops and they are all ripe and red? And taste like they are vine ripened?
Everything was so crowded we decided to skip lunch in that place and keep driving on to find something else in anther village.
Drove for miles through little hillside villages. NO shops of any description. Finally came to one that had a restaurant that looked really quiet. The 'restaurant' which admittedly had 'beauty parlour' on one door turned out to be totally beauty parlour. There was a menu on the door..eyelash tinting, nails, massage etc etc. The menu was listed under 'entrees' 'mains' 'desserts'. May have been a real novelty with locals who may have flocked there, but not much use to hungry travellers. But further down was a patisserie. We thought we could have a sandwich. But no, there was no more bread. All we could have was a pick from the few quiches and pastries in the display cabinet. A bit dismayed we each managed to get something and then ate in the little park opposite. No where to have coffee!
Back to Senas, our nearest village. Everything was shut. WE began to wonder if Monday was Sunday in France!! But we found a bar that also served coffee. It was both good and cheap. But we still needed bread for our tea. And we really hope we could get a baguette, though at that stage anything would have done.
It was decided that as Salon had several supermarkets, it surely would have something open. SO on we drove. A bit more luck here, we found a patisserie which had a few baguettes left. The girl in taking the money realised our french wasn't exactly crash hot, so gave us a counting lesson before finishing the transaction.
Yve decided that while we were in town we should see Nostradamus's house and museum. Pate and I knew where that was, though it had been closed when we had found it. We were a bit skeptical that it would be open now, where even here in a busy town lots of things were also shut. And that's how it turned out.
All Yve could do was look through the window at his model, sitting at his desk writing
And then to take photos of his statues. Here's my favourite 'statue'
The lack of open shops was a puzzle so out with the computer when we got back to our 'Gite'. We discovered it had been a public holiday (Whit/Pentecost Monday)! This also explained the crowded markets. Even though my photos don't really show this, they fluked some gaps in the crowd!