Lunch under the plane tree

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Friday 27th July 2012

I adore eating outside. My family is so hardy that we’ve been known to have lunch al fresco as early as March and as late as October – through wind, rain and freezing temperatures. And we don’t use one of those environmentally-unfriendly heaters either.

But in France, eating outdoors is even better. Breakfast is on the terrace, which has a stunning view but is currently too full of bikes, rubble, weeds and an old fridge for my liking. At lunchtime it’s too baking hot so we move round to sit under the plane tree, where all the old farmers used to drink Pastis and watch the sun go down. And then in the evening we’re back on the terrace for a glass or two of Clairette de Die, the local sparkling white wine.

Sometimes we drive to my favourite town (above) and treat ourselves to lunch at a café in the village square. The restaurant has a huge awning to shield everyone from the fierce mid-day sun and we sit there for hours, watching the world go by.

There’s also the added advantage of strolling across to my favourite shop (below) afterwards. It’s piled high with stunning china of every shape and hue. I buy a new mug or teacup there every year, and swear that drinking a café crèmeout of them every morning is one of the pleasures in life. Especially when it’s on the House With No Name terrace.

Pictures: Emma Lee-Potter


4 comments so far

  • I loved this: the atmosphere and even the reminders of all the crockery available. These reminders of France are wonderful. However, stop! 😉

    We have a very small business very much affected by the recession. We pay our bills and buy food but there is nothing much else going spare.

    But we have a motorhome just sitting there waiting to be used. A trip to France atm would mean a big bite out of the budget and probably money we can’t find. The photo on my website is of Montherme over on the Eastern border of France and it’s so picturesque I have been there twice. Other times, we’ve taken the motorhome and simply gone as far as we could on the money we had. Always, always, we were met by wonderful people and interesting towns and villages.

    My dad was half French and I am making headway as to his ma’s history. Meanwhile I rely on sites like yours to bring me up to date with what it’s like in France. And, sorry for joking to begin with, I very much enjoy reading your website about the France/Brit expat pov.

    Heather Mitchell (@TessaTangent on Twitter)

  • Thanks so much, Heather. It’s lovely to hear that you enjoy my posts about France. And I’ve made a note of your recommendation about Montherme. I must visit it. There are so many areas of France that I’ve never visited so I must try and be more adventurous!

  • French patisseries are just heaven! I’m often in Brighton, and there is one just down the hill from the station called the Real Patisserie, and it really is good. There’s another branch in Hove, and now one in Shoreham which is run by a charming Frenchwoman who is every bit as attentive as the ones you’ve described. The fruit tarts – magnifique!
    So if you’re in the area, don’t forget to load up with a taste of France!
    (I love those white cups with the faceted sides).

  • I agree, Michele. French patisseries are the best! I will definitely look out for the Real Patisserie when I’m in the Brighton area! Thanks for the recommendation!

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