It was pouring rain at 5 a.m. yesterday. I know that for sure because I happened to open our bathroom window overlooking Place de la Fontaine, before heading back to bed. By 8 a.m., when we got out of bed for good, it was only drizzling. So by 9 a.m., my wife Jan and I decided to brave the elements and head down to Prayssac in the neighbouring département of the Lot.
This all started a few days ago, when Jan received an email from a woman who sells greeting cards, saying that she would be at the foire in the centre of Prayssac, a town we had visited only a couple of times before.
Since a foire can be pretty much anything — including a special on pork products or foie gras in a supermarket — we weren’t sure what to expect. However, we did figure that at least there would be a fairly large street market with all kinds of goods and fresh produce. Wrong.
Instead, Prayssac was sitting quietly under leaden skies, with only a few of its streets sprinkled with stalls. Traffic was light, and shoppers were few and far between. None of the stalls had any food products at all; most were offering clothes, shoes, or household items like table cloths. (I later learned that this was Prayssac’s monthly household goods market; its weekly market for food products is held on Fridays.) Here’s a look from behind some stalls, looking up at Prayssac’s imposing church:
And here’s the scene along the main stretch of stalls, providing ample evidence of just how quiet things were:
In fairness, our visit wasn’t a complete lost cause. Jan did buy some nice greeting cards from the greeting card lady; she bought a nice top and a pretty summer dress (in a shop, not at one of the stalls); and we did enjoy an excellent café au lait in a tea shop, while I munched a very good croissant. I also found this nice-looking bakery on one of Prayssac’s streets:
As you can see from this photo, the bakery had a good selection of breads and pastries on offer, and the woman behind the counter was kept busy handling her customers:
But that was about that. And when we decided we should stop wandering and have lunch, we found that the only restaurant in Prayssac that we wanted to try is closed on Tuesdays. So with that, I decided to just get out of town and head to the village of Castelfranc, to have lunch at a restaurant we have enjoyed in the past.
However, as luck would have it, we happened to pass through a lovely and well-preserved medieval village called Goujounac, home to just more than 200 inhabitants. (In case you were wondering, yes — the village of Goujounac did give its name to a variety of chestnut, the marron de Goujounac. You’re welcome.) And in the heart of the village we discovered this little gem — the Hostellerie de Goujounac:
Jan checked the menu out front, and we quickly decided to give the restaurant a try. We chose a table outside, right at the front of the restaurant’s terrace, seated near a large collection of honeysuckle vines above us, and a small fountain. In this photo, you should be able to see the cooling drops of water sprayed into the air by the fountain:
To my immediate right was the main road cutting through the village. Looking up the road, I had this nice view of Goujounac’s old limestone buildings, including its 12th Century Romanesque church, which was mentioned as far back as 1215 (although not to me personally):
The best news of all, however, was the quality of the reasonably priced lunch. Jan ordered the menu du midi, or special lunch menu, for just 15 euros — including an entrée of fresh local melon; followed by a steak topped with sautéed shallots, excellent whipped potatoes and nicely cooked vegetables; and concluding with dessert. Because I didn’t feel like having steak, I ordered from the regular menu, but I chose the same entrée as Jan. Here’s how our melon was served:
The melon was just a touch too firm (it’s still somewhat early in the season), but was still delicious. After the melon, Jan was served her main course, and raved about the steak and accompaniments. Meanwhile, I had ordered sandre (a freshwater fish usually called a pike-perch) with an unusual but very tasty walnut sauce, and a nice selection of vegetables. Here’s my main course:
All of this turned out to be enough food, so Jan declined the dessert and was given her espresso instead, while I finished with an espresso too. The bill for the complete lunch — including a large bottle of mineral water, a bottle of wine, and my coffee — was just under 63 euros.
So our soggy start in Daglan and Prayssac had evolved into a lovely lunch in Goujounac. And by the time our lunch was over, the sun was shining brightly.