Ladies (and gentlemen) who lunch

While in France we are becoming accustomed to the rhythm of French life. Slotting into the later, more flexible hours is not always possible, particularly with a baby, but where we can, we are enjoying it.

One such opportunity was when friends came over for lunch last Wednesday. The boys were (unusually) at school as they would have Thursday and Friday off for the public holiday weekend, but we were able to make full use of their two hour lunch break for the first time since we arrived. As Ollie remarked ‘lunch took up an awful lot of time today’! 

Wellington acquaintances Pam and Earl are also spending some time in France, staying not far from here, about an hour to the north-west, near Mirepoix. They arrived at about 11.30am and, having picked a sunny market day to visit, the place was suitably humming, with conversation and the aromas of fresh local produce wafting up to our apartment through the open windows.

Entree was melon and ham, followed by a Toulouse sausage with salad and market asparagus. We pottered over a cheese plate (a selection of Belvis fromages de chevre, our favourite comte, and Brie de Meaux), and rounded the meal off with strawberries fresh from the market, accompanied by chocolate mousses (Carrefour’s finest).

Little did Ollie know that after they went back to school, we extended the long lunch by going out for coffee in a nearby village.


Rouvenac is a delightful little village to the north west of Esperaza, bordering a little stream. The houses huddle quaintly around the church and the jewel in the crown is the charming Auberge de Faby, run by a lovely young woman, who appears to also be a non native French speaker.

We’ve now been to the auberge twice, and on this occasion, having driven specifically there with guests for the charm and the coffee, we were disappointed to find it was only open 12-14h and again from 19h. We really should be used to this by now, but as you can tell we still have some way to go. Nonetheless, there was a small party of guests still finishing their meal with beers at 2.25pm, so we were delighted when the hostess agreed to bring us coffees despite being ‘closed’. We will definitely be going back there.

It was a perfect place to while away half an hour before the local real estate agent helpfully met us there to show us a local place. But that’s another story…!

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