Every town in Provence has a market day. In our little village, if falls on Friday. The main street is shot down and filled with stalls selling everything imaginable, from foods to fabrics.
We headed downtown at around 1030, and fund a parking place not too far away. We had prepared a list of what we needed, and split up to handle our assignments. David got cheese (Emmenthal, and Comté), sausage made from pure pork and Roquefort cheese, faggot (pork sausage that resembles a tree branch), sliced ham, and some green olive tapenade. I handled the fresh produce, getting a variety of greens, tomatoes, onions, and more.
Once we were done we grabbed a table at Café du Centre and relaxed in the sun for a bit. The people watching, as always, is the highlight of Market Day.
We then strolled to Bistro l’Aubergine to make reservations for that night. After chatting with Alex for a bit, he convinced us to grab a light lunch. He put together two plates with fresh Buratta and Spanish ham, with fresh cherry tomatoes, some olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. He poured us each a glass of the house rosé, and joined us for a bit while we ate. The gossip since our last visit to Eygalières was mostly about Maison/Chez Bru, the two eating establishments started some years back by Belgian wunderkind chef Wout Bru. His Chez Bru on the main street quickly earned a Michelin star for its wonderful Provence-inspired food and low-key ambiance. In due course, he got a second star, and built a hotel/restaurant just down the road from the village. It quickly became a destination for the rich and famous, its parking lot filled with Jags, Benzes, and the like. Unfortunately, the fame and celebrity soon was accompanied by a reputation for arrogant service and over-inflated prices. The slide down had begun. First a loss of a star, then rumors of financial problems, then the forced closing of the hotel/restaurant. As Alex said, “some people handle success well, some don’t.” The remaining restaurant, Chez Bru, where we have had many wonderful lunches on the sunlit sidewalk of Eygalières, is open, but barely, and is for sale. In the afternoons we watch the occasional Benz or Audi pull up and people hop out to peruse the menu. Some stay, some leave, but the days of glory are clearly over. Sad. We made reservations for eight that night, and said goodbye to Alex for a bit.
We stashed our market goods at the mas, then headed off to St. Remy for our final shopping to stock the house for Anne & Jay’s stay with us, trying to anticipate what they might want/need. Then it was back to the mas.
Anne & Jay’s car pulled in around 6:30. They stowed their luggage in their room, then joined us outside for a glass of rosé. Despite a long flight, and then a train ride to Avignon, they weren’t terribly tired. Lots of laughs talking about their trip, and we gave them a briefing about the mas and Provence.
Dinner at l’Aubergine was wonderful. Alex and wife Christina made us feel most welcome, and the food was terrific. Anne was enthralled with being back in Provence, and at a restaurant she knew. Jay was enthusiastic about everything, asking questions and genuinely interested in the culture of the region. He will have a good stay.
After a great dinner, we said farewell to Alex and Christina, and headed back to the mas and a good night’s sleep.