Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bonnie Bonnieux

We took a break from jewelry making today, first to shop the street market in Apt, one of the biggest, oldest farmer's markets in France.
Vendors sold fresh breads and pastries, stinky cheeses, wine, fruit, sausages, and lavender cookies. We also found beautiful hand-embroidered scarves, jewelry, African beads, lavender sachets, and other trinkets. The market in Apt is not too commercialized yet for the tourists--locals shop here for their needs, too--so I really enjoyed it. But our destination for the day was Bonnieux.
After a picnic al fresco (the lemon-merangue tarts were a big hit), we drove to this lovely little hill town, which faces La Coste. Since we arrived at 2:30 pm, everything was shut! The French like long lunches, and between the hours of noon and 2 to 3 pm you can count on all the local galleries, shops and other business establishments to be closed.
No matter; we just took a seat in the shade and enjoyed a quiet moment in France. (Pictured above: Anna (left) and Claire).
By 3 pm, the galleries we were interested in had opened and it really was fascinating for me to see the prices that French artists can command. I couldn't afford even a small painting, so I loaded up on postcards of the artists' work.
Some of the girls found treasures of another kind: beautiful hand-knitted scarves and shawls (pricey, but very special), pottery, handmade soaps...
After a quick gelato, we drove to Roussillon but didn't spend much time there. We headed home by about 5:30, and watched as dark clouds built up in the sky. Soon enough, there were fat raindrops on the windshield, which we were happy to see--it's been so dry here in the south of France for so long, any amount of rain is more than welcome.
It wasn't coming down very hard, so Anna decided to take a detour on our way home to visit an angora sheep farm. We actually had the opportunity to pet a few sheep and feel their silky, curly coats, but naturally our objective was shopping!
After buying some incredibly beautiful hand-knit items and skeins of wool from the farmer's wife (I didn't, only because I already have three huge boxes of yarn at home and really don't need any more), we headed for home. It was raining hard now; thunder cracked and rumbled overhead, and lightning strikes lit up an eery sky. A dramatic homecoming.
After a few power outages, candles were lit and we enjoyed a delicious supper of leftovers and tomato salad prepared by Tia. With plenty of wine to wash it down of course... this is France, after all.


justaskanna said...

we would have fun anywhere. Always great to be with such a fantastic group of ladies.

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