Sitting outside the Café de Paris

Sunday 23rd September

It isn’t so warm today, but not so cold either – just pleasant, if no real sunshine.  I am sitting outside the Café de Paris simply watching the world go by.  A glass of Hoegarden on the table beside me; I don’t really need a drink, but you can hardly sit here with nothing.  On reflection I should have maybe asked for a ‘jus d’orange’.  Life in Eymet seems so much more relaxed than in England.  Everyone isn’t shopping for a start, in fact apart from market day you hardly see anyone shopping.  Quite often you can wander around a supermarket and be quite on your own.  French familes are out for a casual stroll and middle-aged English couples pass by too, taking in the beautiful old buildings and the square, which apart from allowing cars in, probably hasn’t changed that much in a couple of hundred years.  I can see the church, which though only 19th Century seems to fit in, and the ruins of the old castle which are at least from the 1200’s, as is much of the town too.  Almost all the buildings are that slightly yellow stone colour of southern France, with touches of dark and lighter grey, and occasional outcroppings of stone or pale brickwork.  And the old timbers are unpainted and a pale wood colour, unlike the black painted beams you find in England, as if they have just been spruced up for the tourists ‘And here we see a typical Tudor house.’

No-one seems to care especially about preserving the past here, but are content to live inside it, without changing very much at all.  So it doesn’t have that stilted chocolate box glow about it, but rather a dusty dowdy slightly faded look that just fits on beautifully with the landscape.  Occasionally a car will pass by the church, or more likely a scooter, and the pub’s TV showing French rugby is a constant reminder that we are not in some time warp.

But I know if I come back in a month’s time or next year or even a few years time it will still be much the same.  The church, the ruined castle, the river just down the road and the Café de Paris still open with those small round tables and chairs outside.  I just hope I will still be there too.