Living in Cordes – Saturday market and making new friends


thread at the Saturday market

One week into our sojourn in southwest France and we are awash in riches: we discovered the Saturday market and began the delightful process of meeting the neighbors.

When you live very close to the street in a small village and it’s warm enough to keep the windows wide open, it’s not unusual to hear a friendly “Allô?” from the front of the house. Friday morning it was our next door neighbor Simone, a charming 80 year old native Cordais, stopping by to introduce herself.

“Voulez-vous les arroser avec de l’essence? (Will you be watering these with gasoline?),” she asked, pointing to the shabby silk and plastic sunflowers I’d put in a blue pot outside the door. We instantly knew we’d love her, and I moved getting a live plant for that pot to the top of my mental shopping list.

That evening Simone came back and Tom invited her in for some chocolate and a glass of Pineau de Charentes, the popular French aperitif that came with our house. We sat at the table sharing and laughing till late.

Between her many funny stories and quips, Simone told us about Jean Jaurès, a socialist and anti-militarist hero born nearby, whose assassination in Paris in 1914 is often called the second assassination to cause the war. My kind of hero.

Jean Jaurès

The following morning, Tom and I took our chariot de courses (wheeled shopping basket) down the hill early to avoid the crowds at the boulangerie. Days of the week not having fallen into place properly yet, we’d both forgotten it was Saturday, so we were surprised and pleased to see the center of the village overflowing with neighbors and goods.

The upper village rising above the market

$3.20 per dozen

Every variety of button

Irresistible cheeses

Baskets in all shapes, sizes, and colors

Dried fruits and vegetables

More of the same

Endless olives

The market offered an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, and dresses, hats, friperie (used goods), pillows and sheets, fabric and notions, even Chinese food, all set to lively Occitan music. It was very hard not to buy more than we needed.

Our friend Rochelle arrived just before lunch. After eating, we went up the hill, meeting my Instagram friend Lauren Clary in person for the first time, and then spending an extraordinary afternoon with the artist Jean-Jacques Enjalbert in his Anandamayi Ma exposition.

Three story obelisk from the base

In the evening, we found Simone and her small dog sitting on the bench in front of our house.

In no time a small crowd of neighbors joined us. I don’t have words for the pleasure I felt at finding such a warm welcome in this little village.

I am deeply grateful.

A real geranium from the Saturday market

19 thoughts on “Living in Cordes – Saturday market and making new friends

  1. Love reading all of these stories and your pictures are beautiful. Thanks for sharing your lives.♡ I am enjoying the vicarious adventure!

  2. My favorite part of the morning now is seeing if you have a new blog post. This one did not disappoint! The enchantment continues … just when I thought it couldn’t get any more lovely. I am sharing as much of this as I can with the Abrahams. It reads like my favorite fairy tale but it’s real!

  3. Salut, Tom & Eve:)
    It’s a joy to read your words and see the photos of your lovely new home:) Heartfelt thanks for sharing your adventures with all of us!
    Be well!

  4. I love reading these posts, Eve. Though I miss you and Tom, I think you have made a wise and life-sustaining choice! What a gorgeous place, and what a market!!

  5. The hilarious introductory remark from Simone was, in the nicest way possible, a message that people care about their neighborhood. I am so delighted that friendship with her and other neighbors is blossoming, and that you are within walking distance of most everything you could need, with the more populous choices and excitements of Albi a short bus ride away. Thank you so very very much for sharing the evolution and transformation of your lives! Now, for a down to Earth question, to remind you of the season into which your Central Coast friends are being hurled: have you retained your SLO voter registration, and will you be voting as absent, mail-in SLO voters this fall? Doing so studiously and thoughtfully can be a way to show your continued caring for the place you have so vastly changed for the better in your time here, and of making common cause with the Simones of the Central Coast!

  6. Bonjour Eve🙏🏻

    Oh my goodness. it sounds so lovely even with the quirky paperwork issues that come with every new country.

    So grateful to have met you at Keith’s.

    I would love to follow in your footsteps. Started refreshing my French at Alliance Francaise and am playing with Babbel after your suggestion at dinner.

    How is your pump room? I love that you have blue shutters and a market that brings you joy!!!

    I hope your new home and life take you deeply into your breath💕



  7. So glad you are finding everything so welcoming and that you are happy and healthy in your new home. It all sounds so great — don’t be surprised if I come and visit some day!!!

    Lots of love, Lynne

  8. Hello,
    I’ve just come across your interesting and colourful blog. However, I think you have probably misunderstood your neighbour’s reference to “spraying the flowers with petrol or gasoline”.
    The word “essence ” can also mean “scent” as in “essence de rose”, so this is probably what she had in mind!

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