A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood
When you’re trying to avoid thinking about cancer and life’s other crashing insults, trying to force dark things into some semblance of perspective, I recommend a visit to a place where people have been living for thousands of years. A place that’s tripped over all the stumbling blocks known to man and lived to tell the tale. And I recommend drinking lots of coffee. Thus we recently found ourselves in the ancient town of Carpentras, where the walls lean close to whisper together
and where we had the best cup of coffee we’ve ever had in France.
Roasted on site at Les Cafés d’Antan, poetically translated as “the coffees of yesteryear,” it was a delicious taste of the past, a time when we lived where good coffee practically runs in the streets. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to find the good stuff here, but now we have a source, and we brought home a reassuring supply.
Les Cafés d’Antan also sells gorgeous chocolate bars
and as an added bonus, a trip to their bathroom offers this beautiful glimpse of the building’s past.
Out in the street all is calm, all is bright,
and Carpentras reveals itself to be a place where the very old and the very young mingle casually. But what it’s really well known for is its weekly market, where you can buy everything from clothing, bedding, and jewelry
to vegetable art
and the makings of a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. You could actually make about twenty or thirty pies from this specimen, but fortunately it’s sold by the slice.
Hungry, and having read really good things about Chez Serge, we ascended another picturesque staircase and had an impeccably delicious lunch
in a sun-filled room with zinc-topped tables
that included a garlic-roasted chicken set on a bed of roasted green peas that I’ll be copying at home as soon as I can.
We walked back to the car, reluctant to break the spell. But just to prove that things are not always just what they seem to be on the surface, and maybe this is true of cancer too, Carpentras had the last laugh.
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