The lack of recent rain was evident in the parched grasses and fields, but the village gardeners were keeping their glorious planters of flowers lush. And how special is this? It is as if someone were setting out bowls and vases of flowers all over your house every time you came home. A true "ville fleurie" - a city of flowers, loved and cared for, supported and encouraged, by each of its citizens.
Each morning, each evening, when I walk the cobbled streets of this small, yet miraculously flowered village with my ever-curious Pipkin, I am struck anew by the reverence of nature, the daily time-consuming effort to water and trim and care, and, as well, by the enduring commitment of the flinty 1300 hundred or so inhabitants who strive each day to preserve all that is good, all that is beautiful, all that is so unique and special about France - and I am moved.
We were able to have some wonderful lunches at the Relais de l'Abbaye before the owners took their August break. We said hello to the mayor there almost every day. He was wearing shorts and Hawaiian style shirts, visiting with locals in the front part of the restaurant, but we did not have a chance to speak with him ourselves this visit. A sign outside the Mairie indicated summer hours of half days.
The deli, Le Grenier à Sel, was open for just a few more days while we were there, so we bought out most of their spectacular cold salads before they closed near the end of July. Among others, the "piémontaise," a mayonnaise salad with potatoes, ham, cornichons, boiled eggs and tomatoes, is said to have Russian origins. They also make a coleslaw and a pickled beet salad that are both delectable.
*You must Google it if you don't already know!