Is The Glass Half Empty?
In Collias the streets are empty, but the houses still seem to breathe life. This one caught me, half awake, half asleep, as is the town itself. If I were quicker with the camera I could have shown you a very cute guy clad only in a swimsuit, climbing up the street ahead of us with his large dog. It’s hard to say which of them looked nicer from the rear, but they were definitely both attractive. They proved that there’s life in the old village yet, even though so many shutters are closed and our footsteps shushed audibly on the quiet cobblestones.
In Castillane du Gard we were convinced that the entire town had been given over to tourists. We saw one bakery, one butcher, and perhaps a dozen restaurants, one with menus for dinners that cost over 100 Euros per person, in an area where a house cleaner makes 10 Euros an hour.
We wandered the nearly empty streets with a handful of other tourists, wondering whether anyone at all actually lived there, and who was eating that foie gras with figs, that tart of cepes, or porcinis, with their raisins, that duck with its crispy skin.
But wait, a look up reveals that someone clearly watches TV here. In fact, the bakery was closed for the mid day break, and the sounds of TV flooded out of its window instead of the smell of baking bread.
And gradually the sounds of kids playing washed over us, and we came to the school yard. Then I started to see that these towns must have a secret life, off the still streets, behind the closed shutters. I don’t know how to discover it, but I’m sniffing around the edges. I half believe, half don’t, that the old villages are still thriving, in some way I don’t yet understand.