Tuesday 24th February
After three days of solid painting, buying tables and chairs and putting up pictures the Café des Artes is open. Just six days since signing the contract and getting the keys we have changed an Antiques shop into the classiest little tea rooms in Eymet. There are two rooms and just four marble topped tables seating fourteen at a pinch, but the view is to die for. Wherever you sit you look out on the famous square with its thirteenth century arches, and when the sun shines as it did briefly today the whole place lights up.
The day started off inauspiciously. It was a Monday for a start and everything except one Boulangerie and the Tabac was closed, so there weren’t going to be many shoppers around. It was raining, and cold and blustery – but we opened anyway. And it was worth it. A few friends came by to support us and even a French couple who spoke no English and two English women we didn’t know at all. But more than that I was amazed at the kindness shown by all our friends; Maxine made some scones for us; Martin and Jennie had helped us to get the place ready and were our first customers too; Jeff and Liz bought us a bottle of champagne; Dennis and Carol gave us some fresh eggs from their chickens and Gill, our most regular customer is baking a cake for the Café too.
In London we live in a city of eight million and yet we have found far more friends here in tiny Eymet (we do miss our few back home though). But there is a camaraderie, a warmth and an openness of spirit and some very genuinely nice people here. The Café is not a commercial venture, we want it to be a meeting place, a social gathering point, and most importantly of all a place to exchange gossip. Vive le Café des Artes, and well done to my dear wife for making it happen.