We are staying in the delightful French village of Nizas (pronounced Neee-zas) which is a few miles from the beautiful town of Pézènas (pronounced – oh you don’t care?) which is probably as close as to not being a tourist on holiday as you will get.
Everyone here is French except us so it’s handy that we are both semi-fluent in conversational French which the locals seem to be enjoying especially when The Grey pipes up. The apartment we’re staying in is part of a big old French house and is as quirky as you like. It has a pretty terrace overlooking vineyards that you can sit on if you avoid the blisteringly hot hours between 11am and 6pm.
We ventured up to Le Coin des Aromas (cafe/bar) in the small square, Le Place du Griffe, which is the hub of the village, the other morning for a coffee and the conversation went something like this:
Me: Est-que vous avez un grande café au lait, decafeine?
Woman owner: Ah oui, decaffeine, mais ne pas lait (yes we have decaf, but no milk)
Me: Ne pas lait? (quite surprised by this)
The Grey: J’achète le lait dans le shop up the road. (I will go and buy some milk)
Anyway The Grey duly went and bought some milk from the one small shop in the village (about 50 metres from the cafe) and returned with a bottle which he gave to the Madame so she could make our coffee.
Meanwhile I sat on a table outside and tried to ignore the smell of disinfectant which was wafting from somewhere. On the next table three French women sat and chatted not seeming to notice this smell. So I decided it must be just affecting where I was sitting and moved to the front of the cafe. The Grey and the coffees arrived and we both sat down. The smell of disinfectant remained.
The Grey has noticed that there is always the presence of one ‘old man’ in the Place du Griffe and has come to the conclusion that the elder gentlemen of the village have got together to draw up a rota so that there is always the presence of the archtypical ‘old man in the square.’
The night times are when the church bells come into their own chiming the number of hours every hour and chiming once on the half hour. (Thank goodness for small hours.) However, for some inexplicable reason, the chimes on the hour happen twice about a minute apart. So at 4am you get 4 chimes followed by a short gap and another 4 chimes. As you can imagine I’m sleeping really well! If you read about a French church being sabotaged with wire cutters in the next few days you will be able to exhibit a knowing look on your face and smile.