Early Sunday morning, after a Continental breakfast of croissants, fruit and yogurt, coffee and tea laid out in the chateau's cool-toned dining room and eaten outside on the shaded verandah, we boarded the mini-bus for the short drive to the weekly farmer's market at Saint Antonin Noble-Val. Vendors of fresh produce, baked breads, meats and sausages, spices, cheeses, assorted packaged foodstuffs plus clothing and knick-knacks lined the medieval streets winding away from the town center. Every display was enticingly laid out for choosing and occasionally for sampling.
This vendor so enjoyed using his English to cajole our friendly group of American women that we all were treated to free samples of his prized patés. While he had our rapt attention, he did a tidy business in patés, olive oils, and other plane-worthy comestibles.
Like many of the enduring old towns in southwestern France, Saint Antonin was subjected to the religious upheavals of Catholic, then Cathar, then Protestant influence, plus various incursions from northern kings. Nonetheless, its wealthy merchants left a marvelous heritage of medieval houses in all the streets leading out from the place de la Halle. Above the market booths as they wound along were these wonderful old facades with interesting stonework, especially around the windows with their colorful wooden shutters, plus the occasional gargoyle and church steeple. At every corner, narrow streets jutted off at crooked angles.
Not surprisingly, the old town was used as a location for the 2001 movie Charlotte Gray, starring Cate Blanchett.
After depositing our purchases back in the minibus, we were off to spend Sunday afternoon at the monthly flea market in Toulouse. But you've been patient enough with these morning photos (there are so many to choose from), so I'll be back. I hope you are enjoying the views with me.
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