It is so pretty here these days. Come along for a little virtual visit while we all wait for travel to get back to normal.
This park has every shade of pink, flowering together right now. It is such a feast for the eyes. People young and old sitting on the many benches, taking in the colors and the sunshine.
My new jogging route goes over the old bridge toward la Cité. When I lived in Brooklyn, I got goosebumps every time I went over the Brooklyn Bridge, which was daily. Now I get goosebumps every time I go over le Pont Vieux and get this view, even after almost two decades of living here.
I am seeing more tourists, including from outside of France, but also OMG license plates from all over France are here at the moment. Not sure what’s in their heads. Maybe that we are in a region less affected by the pandemic? Maybe they figure they will be walking around outside and cooking their own food, so minimal interaction with people? I did want to take a trip to see the Dune du Pilat about three hours’ drive away, on the coast, making the same calculation, but then decided to stay home to be on the safe side. Maybe for them, this is a mental-health escape, a place with uncrowded streets and parks, the countryside all around, and relatively large homes. I heard a news report about how Parisians are suffering, relegated to apartments that are 40 square meters (430 square feet) on average. The bedroom of one of our AirBnBs–just the bedroom–is 35 square meters (377 square feet). Plus it has a balcony. The living room has another balcony.
Are you finding it hard to get motivated to cook? My inspiration always revolved around trying out recipes for dinner parties and pleasing guests. Left to ourselves, things are much, much simpler. Roasted vegetables alternate with stir-fry, which alternates with leftovers of each. But spring is bringing new choices to the market. I had wild and regular asparagus–the wild in an omelette and the regular à la mimosa. And we had our first French strawberries, though our favorite berry vendor, Bernard, isn’t yet back with this year’s crop.
The central square is all torn up to bury electric wires that previously were strung between the plane trees. This is definitely much-needed work. As a result, the market has moved a few blocks away to a parking lot on the edge of the town center, just outside the walls erected by St. Louis in 1240. We had three rainy Saturdays in a row, then a lovely, balmy sunny one, and the crowd of shoppers quadrupled from the previous weeks. We take our time, make several tours of the stands, enjoy being greeted like longtime friends by vendors. “Good to see you! How was your week? Look at this wonderful thing I have today, do you want some?” We always do.
Life here in the south has its own rhythm, a calm and gentle one. I admit I enjoy being greeted by name, and not just at the market. At the blood bank. At the money bank. At the lumber yard. Last time I was at the lumber yard, I ran into a friend (which I am sure elevated my standing at the lumber yard because he is beloved by all). At the dump, where the caretaker always helps with heavy stuff, without being asked. It’s a small town, and one soon encounters the same people over and over. It ends up keeping most people on good behavior, because nobody is a stranger for long.
Although we are in the pink here in Carcassonne, stay tuned for trips to more places in France. Paris, anyone?
(BTW, as this blog is a hobby and not a moneymaker, I use the free version and cannot upload videos. But I’ve put a few videos of the market on my Instagram: taste_of_france.)