Tuesday, April 06, 2010
It brought into sharp focus the disparity in attractiveness between small French towns in a fairly restricted area, and how the unwitting foreigner could buy a cheap property near a lovely place like Pezenas only to find it's in a former mining village and a real run-down, miserable dump. The Orb river valley seems to have a large number of depressing shit-holes which, in early April were damp, covered in moss and certainly nowhere you'd want to spend more than the time it took to drive through.
The inhabitants were of the stumpy, furry-teeth variety, traits that years of in-breeding had developed. A friend of mine has a husband who used to work in the small town of St André de Sangonis. He is a doctor and she said he was constantly amazed at the ingrained stupidity and mental handicap of many of the inhabitants.
If you are thinking of moving to a French village, this is what you will have as a potential pool of friends. Retired execs enjoying the fat of the land after a brilliant career they ain't.
I had wanted to stop for lunch in Pezenas which had plenty of places open and lots of people mooching about, but it was only just after midday so my TWDB suggested we have lunch in Bedarieux instead. It'd been a long time since I'd been there but the last time I was, I remarked on what a dump it was. You'll be interested to know it hasn't changed. As we drove slowly around looking for somewhere to eat, and failing, I wished we stayed at Pezenas where we'd have been able to choose from any number of cute yummy-looking places.
Eventually we found one restaurant - La Forge - open. It was a surprising place because it was stunningly and authentically attractive. Set in an old forge, the ceilings are vaulted stone, there's a huge open fire place with cast iron tools and stuff decorating it and the food was fantastic. The place has no website; being in the middle of nowhere I suppose it's only the locals who eat there, and as there's no other choice, it was heaving. I remarked to the waiter on the lack of restaurants and he agreed saying that the ones that opened had difficulty succeeding and usually closed after a short time.
Well, I suppose, Bedarieux is such a dump it gets few visitors and the locals eat mostly at home. I could be wrong, of course.
Having stuffed ourselves with a delicious lunch, we were in need of a snooze, and found it off the road in a quiet spot. It was so sunny that my face has turned a delectable shade of red and I can be know for the next few days as Sarah l'Homard.
We contined on to Lodève and then over the plateau to Aniane and home. The weather was fantastic, the little minor roads great fun and amazingly good quality, and we had a lovely drive. It's a very beautiful part of the world and if you're not stuck in a bog in some shabby backwater, a lovely place to live.