Sunday, June 29, 2014

Favorite Days in the Village

My two favorite days when we're in Argeles-sur-mer are Sunday and Saturday, in that order.

Sunday is the essence of leisurely. The streets are almost deserted most of the day, except for early morning when one or two bakeries, one or two grocers, and usually only one butcher are open. From late morning on, if you didn't stock up on what you need for lunch or dinner, you may be out of luck. Most restaurants are not open either, except for summer season when many of the beach or port places have extended hours.

As you can see in the photo on the left, there's almost no one on Rue de la Republique, one of the three main streets of centreville, save for a black-and-white street cat.

In contrast, Saturday is the busiest of the twice-weekly marche days - a combination farmer's and flea market with an abundance of merchants peddling sausages, olives, cheeses, seafood, spices, flowers, jewelry, clothing, books, candles, sewing supplies and other notions.

We tend to see many of the people we know as we make the 'circuit' - Barbara at her bookstore, the 'brownie lady,' Miloud the artist, Joel the olive guy, the bijouterie owners where we bought our rings, La Noisette proprietor Laurent, Annie of the framing shop, and an assortment of visiting friends, and friends of friends, who are in ASM for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

One of our favorite pastimes is to snag a street-side table at La Noisette so we can people-watch: observing not only the merchants nearby but especially the variety of men, women, children, and dogs who pass by, sometimes almost elbow-to-elbow during July and August when ASM becomes the 'camping capital of Europe,' thanks to one of the best and largest beaches on the Med.

After the controlled chaos of the Saturday marche, Sunday is a welcome respite to read, take a nap, watch Zakaria on CNN or an old movie on DVD, maybe go for a long walk, weather permitting (maybe get rid of the snails -, maybe even get some writing done ... blogs, novels, newsletters, magazine features.

Oh, I like the weekdays in Argeles-sur-mer as well. They still have a casualness to them. After all, this is an 11th-century village that has not yet been fully engulfed by the frenetic work-and-shop mentality of the 21st century.

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