In our little town, market day falls on a Tuesday.
We drag ourselves from our holiday slumbers as early as we can contemplate so that we can get to the market before the heat of the day and before the hoards of tourists descend.
It is probably exactly the kind of market that you would imagine it to be. There are stalls of vegetables, picked that morning and still heavy with soil. There is a wizened old lady who sets out a raft of freshly laid eggs. There are tarts filled with sticky caramelised fruit and slices of pissaladiere, a tart made with slowly cooked onions and anchovies which is typical of the region.
It is, it goes without saying, a paradise for anyone who loves local, fresh and delicious food.
And I could just finish there. Share a couple more of the images I snapped on Tuesday morning and be done with it. But that wouldn't really be telling the whole truth.
Over the years, the market stalls selling food have been pushed further and further towards one end of town. Every week, it seems like there's one less food stall and one more stall selling knock off designer sunglasses or cheap leather belts. Characters from the market, like the old man who used to pace up and down blowing a bird whistle and selling cold drinks, have gradually disappeared to be replaced by canned pop music and demonstrations of the latest hair removal technology.
It has always been much easier to eat well when we are here. We tend to eat at home, preparing simple meals using local and seasonal ingredients. A few tomatoes, a sprinkling of salt and a handful of basil leaves are all that we really need in the summer.
This way of life is under threat though. Our town which, at one point, was home to 29 estate agents no longer has a fruit and vegetable shop. It closed a year or so ago and has been replaced by a delicatessen which sells smoked salmon and caviar. Apart from the market, the only choice now is to go to one of the supermarkets on the outskirts of town. There is some French produce (although note that France is really quite a large country) but it's nestled between the green beans from Africa and the fruit from South America. It certainly hasn't come from just down the road.
There are still a couple of bakers in town - this is France after all - but long gone are the days where you would have to join a queue that snaked outside in order to buy your morning baguette. Instead, people buy loaves of plastic 'Harry's American Sandwich Bread' in the supermarket. The local butcher is, at the moment, standing firm but it's been a long time since we had anywhere where you could buy fresh fish.
This was not really meant to be a depressing or heavy post but so often when I write about the food here, I feel like I'm holding something back. Like I'm not letting you see the real truth.