It was a Sunday and we all knew it and needed it. Remi and I had picked up our hard-working friends Marc and Bettina in Nimes and then headed up through the winding hills to Uzès. Uzès, how I love thee! Ben knows. He loves it too. But it is in Winter when I prefer it as the town, one of the most beautiful in the South of France, is positively empty.
Ah, save for at Terroirs, where we grabbed the last outdoor table on the terrace. The gentlemen gave the ladies the view on the Place aux Herbes and backs against the (very much needed) space heaters. We did our best to settle in the dogs and then it was time to consider with anticipation how to give ourselves over to a similarly floppy relaxed abandon.
We puzzled and bantered over the simple yet tempting menu with the charming waiter who leaned on our table and wished that he could join us for a glass of the very nice local wine that he had just poured into our ready glasses. Decisions were made, then changed until promises of shared bites were offered.
I was tired, coming off of a week of not sleeping well. But one of the many aspects of being with our long-time friends is that they take us as we are. There is no need to put on a show or to pretend to be other. So I felt free to be quiet.
The conversation burbled on around me like little musical notes dancing off the staff. I let my eyes do the talking, taking little snapshots of the view from our table, my camera resting otherwise in my lap. Our food arrived just as my stomach was starting to rumble and I enjoyed my delicious gratin du jour, the cheese bubbling over smoky eggplant to warm me up from the inside so that I no longer needed the polar fleece blanket placed with consideration on the arm of my chair.
We all knew our good fortune at being able to eat outside in February and so we stayed. A second bottle of wine was ordered as it was sold à la ficelle, literally by the string so that you paid only for the level of how much you drank. Because honestly, we just wanted to linger, to pull the moment like the sweet taffy it was.
We were amongst the very last to leave (that was our table at far left) and certainly no one rushed us to go. How quiet the Place was now. Full of Winter.
All the better to take a post-dining stroll, an institution in France.
And when that perambulation happens to be in Uzes...
...well, your eyes will feast as well as your belly has.
Sunday, sweet Sunday...
...I always find a home in you.
5 Place aux Herbes
Tel. : 04 66 03 41 90
PS. Thank you to everyone from Remi (and me too of course) over the many, many congratulatory comments and emails about the publication of "his" French stamp! You are a lovely group of people, I have to say...