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Mais, le lendemain matin... [May. 17th, 2016|09:43 pm]
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When I wrote about our day in Pau, I said that the next morning was another story: and that story is all about the shopping. Sometines this is a good thing.

Pau's organic market is held on two mornings a week, Wednesday and Saturday, and by a lucky chance, this was a Wednesday. The market is held in the scruffier part of town, in a cavernous old market hall where the stalls looked rather lost: but we walked round, buying good things for our picnic lunch and making hard choices, and it didn't look so sparse after all.

If I were a braver photographer, I'd have taken a photograph of one of our fellow-shoppers, a gentleman wearing a light purple pullover, clutching a deep orange potimarron (one of these), and a small bouquet of bright green herbs. Since I almost never photograph people, here are some carrots:

Organic carrots

We lingered by a stall selling organic wine long enough to pick up a leaflet, with a map. "Don't buy here if you can go to the domain," said the vendor, "You can taste the wines there."

We drove out of town past a mural, a picture of a man wearing a beret and holding an umbrella: "le dernier manufacture de parapluies artisanales de Béarn" - I hadn't previously thought of umbrellas as a craft product, but why not? This might be the business it was advertising.

Our route now took us into the hills and vineyards of the Jurançon. We made a not very satisfying stop at the Cave in Gan (easily identified by the giant bottle outside): they were perfectly pleasant, and let us try whatever we wanted, but since we didn't know what we wanted, that wasn't as much help as it might have been. Instead we headed for Domaine Tinou: down the road, and then up a smaller road, and on until the vines appear on the slope above you to the right: then turn into the farm drive, ring the bell and eventually the dog's barking brings M. Hondet (he was already producing wine here in 1964, when he converted to organic, so he can be forgiven for being a bit deaf). When we told him we'd piucked up his leaflet at the Marchŕ Bio in Pau, he said, "Ah, you've met my son!" and ushered us into the barn where we tasted some delicious wines, from the lean dry white to the luscious gokden sweet wine, not forgetting a light and refreshing rosŕ. We couldn't bring them all home with us, but we did our best.

I would have liked to spend longer exploring the area, but it began to rain, and back on the road we found ourselves nearing Oloron Sainte-Marie before we knew what had happened. Another time we will spend longer getting to know the Jurançon - and the Madiran - but right now we located our B&B, which was on the Place Saint Pierre:

Place Saint-Pierre

a sandy oval bordered with plane trees, a quiet place to picnic in the shade - except that it is also adjacent to the primary school, and serves as a handy playground for the children who are waiting for afternoon school to begin. Perhaps the bench we had chosen marked the goal of their football game? But being well brought up French children, one of them paused, retrieving the ball, to wish us "Bon appétit!"