One of my favourite pastimes is people watching. Whether at home or while travelling, I like nothing more than to sit in a cafe and while away several hours over a drink, watching the world go by. These days I spend more time in towns and cities anywhere in the world on this activity than on typical sightseeing, and don’t regret it for a minute. Last time I was in Paris on my own I didn’t visit a single monument or major sight in two days but wandered and cafe hopped. It was my most memorable visit to Paris yet.
We are spoilt for choice in Quillan with various cafes, bars and restaurants scattered across the town, including two cafes and a bar in the place de la Repuplique alone. I frequent both cafes, depending on the time of day, my mood and the position of the sun, so this is not to say the others are not good, but my personal favourite remains the Fleuve.
Maybe I’m biased because I lived above it last time round, but it just has that perfect combination of position, aspect, ambience, clientele – and a welcoming proprietor, who always has time to pass the time of day. In the summer it hosts live music. Some might find that disruptive when living upstairs, but it was all part of the experience.
Although this time round we are no longer living above it, we now have an uninterrupted view of it from our front windows, so I can’t complain. I get to admire it all day long, even when I’m not actually there. In the morning I can be sipping coffee on the terrace, or thinking about sipping coffee on the terrace. In the evening I can be sipping a kir on the terrace, or a wine from the comfort of my window, and still feel a part of the life of the village either way.
The terrace offers a perfect view of the square for watching the comings and goings of the town over coffee. On market day, you’re right in the thick of it. You might enjoy a coffee and some postcard writing on your lonesome. Equally you might be joined by friends while sitting there. Passing by with other jobs in mind you might find yourself stopping, ordering a coffee and joining an established table, to make new acquaintances, basket of fruit and veges (and maybe a fresh goat’s cheese) at your feet.