I drew aside the curtain to ma chambre and could see the clear wind-blown sky framed in the arched window looking east and I knew the day at le marché in St Hippolyte du Fort would be beautiful. Each morning the sun takes a few minutes longer to break the skyline with its red orange glow. The air was particularly clear this morning as a result of the mistral blowing the day before. Charlotte and I made our petit déjeuner of our favorite granola muesli mix with fresh chopped prunes, bananas and apple, du thé in our large tea cups, and jus d’orange. Gathering up our market bags, sweaters, obligatory scarves, and the keys to the “Deux” we stepped down the stone stairs to lock my ancient burgandy painted door. Le froid d’Octobre surprised us instantly causing me to return, adding a vest and wrist warmers to my ensemble. In one day the temperature had changed and a winter chill was in the air. Walking down the steep and narrow Passage de la Source to the Vidourle river which flows in front of the village we found the grey 2CV waiting, patiently as horses do, for her next excursion. Unfortunately she would not start and I had to relearn where the choke was located and eventually we were on our way. Purring along pleasantly at 70k we made it in no time to St. Hippo where the market was underway in the central place.
Intimate in scale, one can find everything culinary as well as books, imported treasures from India, clothing, and even household items as obscure as carrot peelers and dustpans. We purchased local chêvre pelardons (creamy white goat cheese rounds), fragrant olives vertes drenched in garlic, tender dried prunes and apricots, organic salade mix and swiss chard, local sanglier saucisson made of wild boar, as well as fresh baked pastries to tide us over till our return. In the short hour we were there we were happily greeted by six acquaintances from Sauve reminding us of their close and friendly proximity being only seven kilometers from each other. In many ways the life of the villages in France resembles our island communities in the San Juan Islands held together by their commerce and the arts.