Today marks the beginning of a week's festivities in Pont de Vaux. There is a Grande Foire Braderie de la St Francois de l'Aube au Crepuscule all over the town. It took MWNN and I ages to work out that this was not St Francis from Aube of the Creatures of the Night but that there would be a huge market in full swing from dawn to dusk.
It bore a stiking resemblance to that in Louhans - complete with Llamas, donkeys and horses. Some colourful characters were present, as always,
(the leather goods stall that is always there on Wednesdays is manned by this very large African gentleman who always dresses in traditional garb.)
and there was a great proliference of clothing and leather goods stalls, whereas those offering regional specialities, andouilette (tripe sausage), saucison sec, cheese were thin on the ground. We weren't tempted to buy anything but wandered through the streets taking photos of typical French people doing typically French things.
It was a sensory experience of a very special kind. As we walked over the footbridge from the moorings, the 'promenade a pony' was in full swing with the constant whinnying to their comrades in action of the beasts left behind in the care of the attendant.
The smell of roasting nuts on the hot chestnut stall
was overpowered by the sweeter aroma of caramilised sugar from the barbe de papa (candy floss as it is known in the UK)and gaufres.
Further along the street, the fragrant scents of spices and herbs took over from the succulent mouth watering smell of chicken and lamb on the spit. We were not tempted by the andouiette seller,
knowing as we do the main ingredient that makes up the deceptively delicious-looking fat sausages he was heaping into pitta parcels.
Nevertheless, we decided to 'go native' and yesterday (Saturday)I booked lunch at one of the small restaurants (Le Petit Boufe) in the back streets away from the bustle of a market. Lunch was well worth the 15 euros; the salad rustique came with two different smoked hams and asparagus; the chicken a la creme (MWNN was served half a chicken) was reeking with garlic and the dauphinoise were crispy on top and yet soft and cooked through; a selection of regional cheeses (everywhere seems to count Brie as their own) followed; finally, the meringue ice cream was accompanied by red currants and raspberries. Not included in the price was the cremant Bourgignon apperatif, a carafe of good cotes de Rhone, and two coffees. Even so, the total bill was less than half that paid at Chez Margot in chalon and both the quality and quantity of food was far superior; note to would-be tourists - avoid the restaurants on the tourist street in Chalon sur Saone unless you book a table at Chez Jules or Le Bourgignon, both of which come highly recommended by the locals. A three generation family sat at the table next to us at Le Petit Boufe and the two little girls were served their dinner while waiting for Maman, Mami and Papi to appear. By the time the adults were ready for their main course, the girls had finished and were becoming restless. MWNN asked me to work out how to suppress the flash on the camera and do a test shot. After taking one of him, the littlest girl stuck her head into frame. She was delighted when I showed her the result on the screen. The older girl hung back a little so I took one of her and showed the result. The camera image is so small and fleeting that they were not aware that they had been too close and the pictures were out of focus. On the way out, I snapped a quick shot of Monsieur behind the bar, but unfortunately he moved. Nonetheless, it was better than MWNN's attempt at a shot of the interior which showed the tile pattern of the floor in great detail. He blamed it on the camera, I think the cremant and carafe of wine may have had more than a little to do with it.
Back in the UK by the weekend, where there is more work awaiting us according to our concierge neighbour. The builders are finished but there is dust dust and more dust to be cleared before we can start reintegrating the contents of the garage that are strewn all over the house and setting to getting flooring and shelving organised for the new study/library.