It’s Saturday 10am at the
Café de Pays on rue Eugène Mazelié. Outside, the farmers’ market is almost done. Inside, the action is just getting started.
Despite the orange and green chairs set optimistically in the near-freezing temperature on the sidewalk, I and many of the market-goers opt to sit inside.
Groups of women chat at the tables, vendors and farmers stream in for treats and hot drinks, and I perch at the bar. I study the weekend edition of Sud Ouest and sip a large, milky coffee.
To my left, Francoise joins a festive group sipping Champagne accompanied by barbecue-flavoured potato chips. It’s someone’s birthday, so they’re starting the celebrations early.
To my right, an equally-festive group uncorks a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau (released just a few days previous) and digs into a charcuterie of meat, cheese, and a massive cep (porcini) mushroom omelette.
With cafe owner Jean-Paul looking on, a fist-sized bite of the omelette materializes in front of me. Neighbour Tess standing next to me sees the donated sample and laughs, “Where else but in Lauzun?”
Beaujolais Nouveau Day is marked in France on the third Thursday in November with fireworks, music and festivals. Under French law, the wine is released at 12:01 a.m., just weeks after the wine’s grapes have been harvested. —
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