Remember “A Good Year”? If you love the south of France, chances are excellent that you’ve seen the romantic-comedy, most of which takes place in Provence. Last night, my wife Jan and I enjoyed an event in a small village near Daglan that reminded us of an enchanting long scene in that 2006 film.
In the movie, Russell Crowe plays a self-centred London investment banker who inherits a vineyard in Provence. Although he first plans on selling the vineyard — he’s fixated on making money in London — eventually he falls for a beautiful young French woman, played by Marion Cotillard (clever bit of casting, that).
The scene that came to mind for Jan and me last night was when the London banker has a first date with the young French woman, meeting for drinks in a quaint village square. There’s a band playing, and an old movie is being shown on a giant screen behind them.
It looks and sounds authentically, wonderfully French. And that’s exactly how St.-Pompon’s weekly Marché Gourmand Nocturne, or night-time food market, struck us last night as we sat with friends Suzanne and Mark, eating, drinking wine, listening to music, and then dancing. (Most recently, I introduced this summer’s series of night markets in my blog posting of June 22.)
The organizers of the St.-Pompon market deserve full marks, because they have created a treat of an event, one that really captures the community spirit of a small French village, bringing people together for food and fun. In the next few paragraphs and photos, I’ll share some of that experience with you.
The four of us arrived at St. Pompon just before 8 p.m. last night, when the sky was still quite bright. We began by touring all the food and drink stalls to see what was on offer. Most of the tables that line the road were already full, so we found a place to sit near the dance platform and got settled with drinks. Then we took turns venturing out to buy our dinners — paella for Suzanne and Mark, fish curry for Jan, and for me, duck sausage with piperade (a typical Basque dish made with peppers, onions and tomatoes, but with some potatoes added).
Having eaten, we just sat back and listened to the music, provided by a DJ. And of course we watched the dancing, until Jan and I could stand it no longer and got up onto the dance platform ourselves. In the following shot, the couple in the foreground were putting on quite a show of dancing, and I’d have to say that they were probably two of the top four dancers of the evening. (Modesty prevents me from naming the other two.)
The dance platform was open to anyone, and that included adults who were dancing and young kids who were jumping around, sometimes doing somersaults or hand-stands:
Early on, most of the music seemed to be American rock ‘n’ roll, although there was a lot of traditional French dance music later, and the dancing went from “Gangnam Style” (my personal favourite) to what I’d describe as French country dance to (inevitably) line dancing and a conga line.
As the evening progressed, it finally began getting dark, and we decided it was time to leave. But the dancing continued under the lights, and the four of us agreed that our visit had been a lot of fun.
The bottom line is that if you’re in the Greater Daglan Area on a Saturday night this summer, the night market in St.-Pompon is definitely worth experiencing. I’m sure Jan and I will be visiting again.
Now I’ll leave you with just these two final thoughts:
- First, this is not an evening to break your budget. A plastic cup of drinkable wine costs a euro, and my duck-sausage-and-piperade dinner cost just eight euros.
- And second, don’t you think that “Gangnam Style” could be adapted to become “Daglan Style”? If you’re a music producer, have your people contact my people.