A Lazy Day in Provence

Today was Sunday and with no plans to move we took it easy and had a wicked breakfast at the patisserie again. In order to walk it off we set off along the promenade heading towards Marseilles. Even though it was early cars were already jostling to park along the sea front. Stalls of a Sunday market lined the street away from the promenade and shoppers were coming away with batches of baguettes under their arms. The beach here is pebbly and reminded us of Milford on Sea. Carrying along the promenade, the beach yields to an area of flat gritstone, with rock pools as the bedrock meets the sea. On this were splayed a few determined sunbathers, probably those who are not keen on sand. As we followed round the bays we passed through an area of pines, for which Sausset is named. These are not triangular specimens, but rounded trees like a child’s drawing, with narrow and sometimes expressively leaning trunks. The resinous shade from them was welcome. Through the branches we watched a yacht, out at sea raising a cruising shoot in an attempt to make progress in the light morning winds. Further out to sea the headlands were invisible in the haze. Eventually we ran out of path and turned to stroll back. At some point the fog lifted and we could see the chalk hills beyond Marseilles again, with startling proximity.

By the time we arrived back at the market both it and the beach were busy and the road hectic with cars looking to park. John found us a table in a bar overlooking the road and we watched the press of people over cold drinks. Then we joined the melee and headed up through the market. There were the usual frock shops and sandal stalls, but also the most amazing food vendors. Greengroceries sumptuously displayed, vans peddling massive paellas and lorries with drop down sides revealing chiller fronts full of luscious cheeses. The most amazing van had a full side racked with six or seven rows of spit roasting chickens, cooked birds were being piled up on a counter in front and a cheerful woman was spearing them and loading them into paper bags for a small crowd of customers. We passed on by and headed home for a virtuous salad, but we were sorely tempted.

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