While I was in Provence staying at Terre Blanche, I visited a nearby village. As you know, I’m a bit of a dreamer: by the time I’d spent the morning strolling through the cobbled, winding streets of Fayence, I was in love. I was convinced I was moving to the South of France to take up residency in one of the old stone buildings with pretty hanging baskets and blue paintwork, to wear a summer dress and called out, “Bonjour!” to every passer by, a la Belle from Beauty and the Beast. A little village like any other in the world, Fayence is special. Perched on a hill top in the south west of France, it has charm and personality, so much so that I was enquiring about house prices before I could say, “Enchanté.”
To start with, we visited the look out point which gave a panoramic view of Fayence and the landscape beyond. Terracotta roofs gave out to field after field, tree after tree until the eye reached the mountains in the distance. With the sun beating down, it really was an incredible sight made all the better after a long climb up the hill and stone steps to the top. That said, you can drive up – so don’t be put off if hills aren’t your thing!
After taking plenty of photos we made our way through the village, walking past the town hall (situated between two other buildings above the main road, creating a tunnel which the road runs through) and a restaurant, which used to be a hotel in the 1950s. We passed locals who sipped on espressos and chatted animatedly in French, while others walked dogs of all shapes and sizes and cars wound their way through the streets going about their every day business. We ducked inside a tiny door to find a re-enactment scene of another era (a mannequin couple with their child, standing by the stove) and our guide told us that there are often medieval re-enactment festivals there. We kept going, passing by higgledy piggledy stone houses and flats, the odd fountain and heavy, wooden doorways secreting cat after cat after cat.
We walked some more until we came across a patisserie on a side street. The owner used to be in Paris, but relocated to Fayence and opened his own cafe. With just a handful of tables outdoors, it was quaint and yet modern all at once. Inside were all sorts of breads and olive oils and even books. Sadly, we didn’t have time to stop for a coffee and cake.
However, we weren’t out of time altogether. We stopped gazing upwards and taking photos to enjoy the view of the sun-dappled Fayence market, the stalls of which were set up in the square beneath a canopy of bright green trees. Here we found fresh fruit and vegetables which I only wish were available in the UK, shabby-chic blankets, painted pottery, clothing, handbags, straw hats, meats and cheese and blocks of nougat as large as a loaf of tiger bread (I so wanted to buy an entire loaf of nougat). The weather was warm, people were chatting, the locals were friendly… it was one of those moments in life that I wished could last just a few minutes longer because, sadly, I’m not moving to Provence.